Thursday, September 20, 2007

Future of IT / ITES / KPOs

We seem to have come a full-circle actually. Outsourcing started with low end menial data entry jobs that were discrete and modularized tasks, not interwoven into the company’s real-time environment. Then we graduated upwards to application maintenance, then onward to application development and then design and system architecture work. Call center and BPO brought about a mission-critical real-time and process driven mode of outsourcing with SLA and metrics based performance measures. With the rise of KPO, the emphasis is now on skills-based and decision-making type of work that is neither “mission-critical” nor “real-time” – yet it is more intimately tied to the top-line performance of companies than ever before in the past. With KPO, there are no metrics, no SLAs, no cultural or accent issues, no time-zone barriers and a productized consulting model that is driving a new breed of companies. With a combination of data aggregation, research, analytical, modeling and consulting skills KPO is redefining the boundaries of outsourcing.

According to me, some of the major drivers were:

• BPO found a niche customer due to a huge demand in back office customer support. BPO was and is mainly successful due to costs effectiveness and the availability of cheap labor – it found a huge pool of workforce as the unemployment rate among English speaking graduates was very high. It created a perfect sector which could find an effective solution to all its workforce requirements among the huge pool of university English speaking graduates.

Slowly countries like India found that although BPO was exploiting the general mass of graduates yet another potential pool of qualified engineering, medical, legal, financial professionals was untapped. There was a clear synergy between the mid-level staff across various companies in US & European regions and this pool in India. Gradually it was realized that the mid-level staff which is mainly involved in offering knowledge based services can be replaced with the pool of talented professionals in countries like India at a much lower cost.

• We can say that BPO has slowly reached to a stagnant point as the factor of realization of using BPO services in new avenues is decreasing. OR we can quote unquote what most industry insiders feel - With the opening of the world economy, many surprises have taken place in the business scenario. This is true for countries across the globe both from outside and within the countries.

The western world has started realizing the potential and the importance of smaller countries of Asia in providing quality services at much lesser rates and are treating this fact as a revolution. Similarly, within the Asian countries revolutionary trends are taking place in terms of expansion and spread of service providers to small cities. BPO is giving place to a new name i.e. Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

Now coming to what could be the next stage of transformation: - According to NASSCOM, KPO is expected to reach $17 billion by 2010, of which $12 billion would be outsourced to India. In the future, it is envisaged that KPO has a high potential as it is not restricted only to IT or ITES sectors, and includes other sectors like Intellectual Property related services, Business Research & Analytics, LPOutsourcing, Web Dev. Application, CAD/CAM, Finance & Accounting Management, Clinical Research, Publishing, Market Research etc.

Taking into account the huge potential of intellectual property within India, I strongly feel that next stage of KPO could be a more evolved involvement ie Consulting. As of now, we are only creating the groundwork and consultants abroad use our findings to offer advisory services to their clients. In the next 2-3 years, India could become a One Stop Shop for research, analytics as well as Consulting and Advisory services. Hence future IT/ITES SMEs in India would evolve themselves as Consulting Companies.


Ricky said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

Rekhna said...

You have mentioned very useful points.IT industry is steadily gaining momentum now-a-days.
research and analytics services

Julienne said...

KPO is gaining wide acceptance as the benefits for companies that outsource are becoming enormous. Major KPO services include financial research, market research, life sciences research, legal research and analytics. The KPO industry is expected to enjoy rapid growth in the near future.

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