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Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry Trends of 2018 and 2019 Forecasts

January 28, 2019
Swivelt - business processes outsourcing trends and forecasts

The growth and expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry are marked by continuous innovation, new technologies, and overall global competition. The future looks very promising based on the substantial growth of the BPO industry between 2012 and 2018. New technologies, systems, and schools of thought have emerged. Let’s look into trends that shaped up the BPO industry in 2018 and try to discuss some of the forecasts for 2019.

Trend #1: Cost-Effective Tech Solutions

Over the course of the past couple of years, the business process outsourcing industry has been providing cost-effective solutions for day-to-day business operations. BPOs have used emerging technologies like software automation, cloud computing, and social media to accelerate growth and reduce costs for emerging markets.

Based on the foreseen technological developments, here are the two main directions that took shape in 2018:

  1. Paradigm Shift of Focus on the Incorporation of Social Media Management Tools. Multiple startup companies have quickly realized that social media is a game changer that can be used for digital marketing outsourcing. This platform provides an unprecedented wealth of consumer data and feedback that if analyzed, can be used by companies to innovate and predict upcoming trends. For BPO providers, the culmination of this saw many companies invest in customer support outsourcing and customer engagement. In 2019, the trend of investing in tools and new technologies that provide enhanced social media management is expected to continue and soar.
  2. Investment in Cloud Computing Outsourcing. Companies adopted virtual storage systems to satisfy the emerging markets that were faced with the issue of a lack of data centers. The trend to invest in cloud computing has and will significantly boost the growth of IT outsourcing and is expected to soar in 2019. The adoption of this trend by companies will further facilitate an improved business collaboration between BPO companies and clients. What’s more, as cloud computing becomes more mainstream, companies will reap the benefit of simplified data administration.

Trend #2: Top Outsourcing countries continue to grow

The future is looking very bright for such outsourcing powerhouse countries in the APAC region as Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, etc. They can be considered competitive outsourcing hubs for global business by right. Malaysia for example currently, accounts for close to 1.7% of the total market of BPO industry in APAC. Thanks to its strong business environment, it is ranked as the 3rd most desirable business process outsourcing country.
The growth of BPO is expected to continue in its path of success in 2019. According to Outsourcing Malaysia, the next couple of years will mark a defining growth era whereby BPO will significantly surpass IT outsourcing.
By 2021, it is predicted that the business process outsourcing industry in Malaysia will reach revenue sales of 1.4 billion while growing at a compounded annual rate of 7.9%.

Trend #3: Increased Levels of Transparency

The recent introduction of emerging markets by small businesses and enterprises has brought forth the need for the BPO industry to be more transparent about pricing, policies, and contracts. Industry players are not scared to disclose their vendors’ costs and margins willing to build really trustful partnership relations with their customers. It is much easier to build solid collaboration when customers understand all the components of the price.

Trend #4: Partnerships between startups and BPOs

In today’s world, there is a startup popping up by the day. Typically, startups usually face a lot of pressure to succeed under small time constraints and with very limited resources. Such conditions make small business startups look overseas for talent outsourcing. They rely on BPOs to complete tedious tasks such as recruitment and trading. Startups and BPOs have become more mutually dependent and this trend will become more pronounced in 2019.

Trend #5: Protection of Vital Assets

Customer data security is, and should be, a major concern for companies whether they do outsourcing or not. In 2018, we experienced some serious data privacy breaches, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Money might be a king, but data is most certainly the reputation that takes you forward. As such, companies are learning from these breaches and moving to BPO partners with proven technology and security systems that have an edge in the market for protecting business’ data.

New Outsourcing Destinations in 2019

From time immemorial, the main reason for outsourcing has been the need to lower expenditure. However, based on the current BPO climate moving into 2019, for the first time in a while, the need might not be money centred. Eastern and Central Europe have both experienced significant advancement in the data center market from 2014.
Companies will be looking into more than just cost details as they look into outsourcing partnerships. More specifically, they might be seeking for more corporate strategy alignment. It is imperative that business partners share a common vision, therefore, companies will look into BPO partners whose vision can easily integrate with their culture and make communication management a top priority.
In 2019, more and more companies will take the importance of a strategic alignment element that is crucial when seeking to achieve long-term goals.
2019 will be an exciting year for outsourcing as new technologies continue to unravel themselves and change the paradigm. Growing competitiveness from new outsourcing destinations coupled with the pressure on businesses to run cost efficiently will be the driving forces behind the accelerated growth in the BPO industry.


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