Imagine the 20/20 vision of hindsight, and consider the following:
1. The Importance of Innovation.
Key value propositions of any BPO are, put simply, better, faster and cheaper. However, there is an often overlooked, long term value proposition of a BPO – the ongoing strategic business improvements that vendors ought to provide throughout the term.
Outsourcing service providers typically focus on business solutions as they are challenged by clients to solve problems. Reaching the end of the long road of transition and transformation, navigating the many potholes along the way, service providers, and indeed clients, are content and even relieved to settle into the new state of “status quo”. But once the deal moves beyond the operational cost savings and improved efficiencies there is always room for improvement.
Ensuring the outsourcing service provider continues to bring thought leadership and leading industry expertise to the deal, over the term, is an important factor in the success of the deal. But more importantly, continuing to bring operational efficiencies and strategic business value, whether it’s the introduction of new business processes, products and services, or continuous improvements, may be the ticket to ensuring a successful, healthy business relationship over the longer term.
Make sure you include in your BPO contract the expectation of the parties around ongoing innovation and make sure that you manage the contract to achieve those expectations. Complacency in the face of a rapidly changing industry is a recipe for relationship disappointment and worse, disaster.
2. Remember, BPOs are not Turnkey Contracts.
Clients who undertake BPOs for the first time often underestimate the ongoing requirement for their continued involvement in the outsourced business after the deal is signed. Clients sometimes have a tendency to treat the contract like a turnkey agreement where everything will be done by the service provider without much input, if any, from the client.
The key to success of any BPO is to keep the client informed and engaged so that it can make meaningful decisions in a timely way. All to often clients lose sight of the outsourced business and end up relying on either the service provider, or newly retained consultants, to make business decisions that have both budget and business implications for the client.
Clients need to keep abreast of all developments of the outsourced business (both in terms of technology and process changes). This not only assists the client in making informed decisions as the business is transformed, but it will also facilitate knowledge transfer back to the client when the contract comes to an end. Managing the contract, and keeping informed of all developments is, and should be, a full time job, for any BPO of significance or complexity. This is not something that can be successfully achieved on the corner of someone’s desk – a lesson that is often learned when it is too late.