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Accenture and the London School of Economics have uncovered the “keys to the kingdom”—those practices that contribute to high-performance business process outsourcing (BPO). In this paper, we examine the practice of using technology as a business enabler.
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As the BPO market matures, clients are expecting more than just cost reductions and fulfilled service level agreements. They want their back offices transformed, their business performance improved. They expect their service providers to adapt to changing business demands and deliver new sets of outcomes.
We call relationships that are achieving these exceptional results high-performance BPO.
Accenture and the London School of Economics undertook joint research to uncover the practices that distinguish high-performance BPO from its more typical counterparts. Our latest research uncovered the “keys to the kingdom”—practices that contribute to high performance.
These practices emerged from analysis of four principal research streams:
A comprehensive survey of 263 senior client BPO executives.
In-depth interviews with client-provider executive pairs in 20 organizations.
Research into 26 organizations identified as high performers in collaborative innovation.
A review of 1,356 BPO and ITO findings from 254 academic research studies identified as robust.
Our client interviews and survey both found that a focus on using technology as a business enabler is one of the most important of those practices.
From our case study research, we identified many clients commending their BPO provider’s deployment of technology to enable lower costs, better service, and tighter controls.
In this report, we focus on seven common technologies and what they enable:
Reduced headcount and accelerated service delivery through self-service portals.
Reduced costs and standardization through automation.
Optimized services by capturing and reporting on errors and waste using business analytical tools.
Improved product delivery rates using forecasting tools.
Enhanced controls and compliance using workflow tools.
Increased business value and collaboration between the client and provider organizations using governance tools.
Reduced infrastructure costs and speedier enhancements through cloud-computing.
High-performance BPO relationships rely on technology enablement. However, based on our research, there are important caveats, insights and guidelines for action:
Garbage in, garbage out. The value of the technologies described in this report is highly reliant on the quality of the data they process or express.
Clients must decide on the trade-off between customization and standardization. The provider’s proprietary tools are built to be deployed across clients, thus delivering faster access and lower costs—and building custom capabilities can be costly.
The value is in the integrated toolkit, not any individual tool. In other words, while a particular tool may not be an optimal fit for the customer, the entire suite can add real value.
November 7, 2012
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