Careers in Business Process Outsourcing

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) means getting the odd job done at the cheapest rates by the best in the class. This helps in maximising opportunities, reducing costs and minimising risks. The philosophy behind BPO is very specific an organisation should concentrate on doing what they specialise in and outsource rest of the work processes. Harvard Business review has identified outsourcing as one of the most important management ideas of the past 75 years.

BPO saves precious management time and resources and allows focus while building upon core competencies. Further, it leads to more profits, increased share holder value, greater efficiency and better services. Therefore, more and more companies are moving their non-core business processes to outsource provider. The list of functions, therefore, has been increasing day by day. Apart from call centers, functions outsources include purchasing and disbursement, order entry, billing and collection, human resources administration, cash and investment management, internet audit, pay-roll, tax compliance and so on.

India has become the obvious choice of companies world over because the country has one of the largest pool of low-cost English speaking scientific and technical talent. Many MNCs like Sun Microsystems, LG, Ford, GE, Oracle etc have announced plans to scale up their operations in India. There are others like American Express, IBM and British Airways which are taking advantage of low costs in India while setting up call centres. According to one estimate, about 82 percent of the US companies rank India as their first choice for software outsource business processes from India. As a result, India revenues from BPO are estimated to have grown by 107 percent to $583 million and this particular area employes 35,000 people in the last few years.

Mr.Derek Williams, executive V-C, Oracle, in-charge of the Asia-Pacific region, says, "India will be a world leader in both business process outsourcing (BPO) and call centres." Expectations from this segment are so high that spending by US organisations on outsourcing business services increased from $100 billion to $318 billion in 2001 and since then it has grown with an impressive rate. As a result, all the companies worth a name in the Indian market is into BPO. Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Satyam and Spectramind Services, all have picked a significant stake in the Indian as well as the world market

In spite of the mammoth potential of BPO in India, its long-term future is not certain. Because the infrastructural changes required to compete in the market is not there. Educational policies need to be changed. For example, Finance and accounting is a key thrust area, but there is not a single University or polytechnic which teaches new development in the subject. The government needs to participate and see if the curriculum needs to be changed, start polytechnics to impart skills that are required to service global companies. Laments Mr.Raman Roy, President and CEO, Spectramind Service, "There is no game plan. The growth of $17 billion and one million jobs will not come from just making reports and projections. There has to be infrastructural changes to complete in the market place".

Recently NASSCOM has proposed all-India level competence test for recruitment in BPO and ITES sectors. If all goes will this will be implemented by the end of the year.

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