Nowadays there are numerous leading organisations, including BHP Billiton, that strive for a digitilised, paperless environment. Not only is this an eco-friendly alternative (saves paper, and thus nature’s gift of trees), but also by using BPO and technology it reduces costs considerably.
In this week’s blog post we shed light on BPO technology – how it is literally and figuratively changing the way business is conducted today and making it even easier for global companies to enter new markets and outsource core business functions without compromising on quality.
The BPO and technology connection
Technological and communication advances help realise the wide-spread adoption of BPO, due to their quality and cost improvements. Technology applied in BPO through the adopted software, applications and platforms, has a substantial long-term impact on the whole process; affecting the quality, cost and associated risks of the operation of outsourced activities (Li & Meissner, 2012).
Technology enhances the value of BPO from perspectives of enabling and leveraging the values of standardisation, automation, integration, flexibility and innovation. The right technology enables the balance of personalisation and standardisation of the outsourced activities. This creates the capacity to design processes that suit the specificities of each client, while maintaining a standardisation level that enables sustainable long term advantages for both the provider and clients. Both on a process and IT level, technology affects the level of integration between the BPO buyers and the service provider.
Technology used in BPO today include:
- Record management and work flow systems
- Digital mail rooms (using programs such as Microsoft Outlook)
- VoIP (voice over internet phones for low-cost international calls)
- Telephony programs (such as Skype)
- Business managements systems (such as CRM’s like SalesForce or Microsoft Dynamics and accounting software such as MYOB)
Benefits of using BPO technology and going digital
According to Verner, a Sydney-based VP for copper marketing and exec sponsor of BHP Billiton’s electronic documentation project (2014), using BPO and deciding to go paperless, go hand in hand.
Here are some examples of benefits that come from engaging a BPO provider and using BPO technologies:
Improved efficiency in the supply chain and a single source of data and data entry
IT enables fast retrieval of information by multiple users in multiple locations; facilitates speedy processing in an environment free of hassle or errors; and is automated to ensure high degree of traceability and accuracy
Enables cost saving for the organisation
Besides the more physical, immediate savings from using less paper, you can save storage space designated to maintain physical paper records and the environmental impact from contributing less waste to landfills or recycling systems. Engaging in BPO saves costs in terms of manpower and sourcing quality talent. Furthermore with technology used in BPO saves costs in travel time, phone calls etc.
BHP Billiton, for example, deals with approximately 20,000 bills of lading each year. Monitoring all that physically, clearly increases the risk of fraud and also administrative error and loss of documentation.
Greater collaboration between parties who can interact almost in “real time” to resolve issues. Technology and applications allow the monitoring of process operations. Technology adds to the BPO quality and success by making the operations more visible by different views suited for different role-based levels in the client’s organisation, e.g. operational vs. managerial vs. strategic and planning level.
For BPO clients, technology accommodates the exceptions related to the language or the country specific rules and laws with the ability to satisfy the country-specific requirements and dissimilarities. Thus, allowing the organisation to have a uniform process and outcome regardless of geographic location.