Should business process management be part of BPO initiatives?
Yes, say some folks from BPM software provider Savvion in an IT Business Edge interview. Now granted, they have an ulterior motive. But they make a pretty compelling case.
Based on a Savvion-commissioned study from IDG Research, companies that wring as much efficiency from processes as they can in-house before outsourcing are far more satisfied with their BPO projects. Certainly one way of doing this is with BPM. It helps companies maintain visibility and control over outsourced processes, imparts a deeper understanding of SLAs and can help companies more easily bring a process back in-house if necessary, says Savvion's director of corporate marketing.
Some BPOs themselves are beginning to use BPM as a product differentiator. Doing so helps clients evaluate their capabilities and improves communication with clients, a key requirement for a successful BPO relationship.
BPM would also seem to be a logical way for BPOs to demonstrate to clients that they understand processes at an operational level, an area that has been lacking, according to NelsonHall CEO John Willmott. In an IT Business Edge interview, he says, "You've got to be sure these guys understand your business at an operational level."
And BPM would fit squarely into these tips for selecting a BPO provider, as laid out in this Purchasing.com article: Know exactly what you want so you can find a provider with the appropriate skills to deliver it. Establish metrics, but feel free to tweak as necessary. Remain highly involved but give the provider room to do its job.
Words for the wise, considering Gartner's recent prediction that half of all BPO deals over the next three years will be hampered by cost overruns and quality issues.