Ferris Bueller got it right in 1986 —“life moves pretty fast.” This has never been truer in the domain of offshore outsourcing. With more jurisdictions in the nearshore, and fields afar, aiming to attract third-party service provision than at any point in the history of this sector, competition for investment is intense. But success in luring outsourcers to a city, region or country is not a simple cost play. Successful parties in the sector work in tandem, making sure that objectives are clearly defined and that strategy implementation is seamless. Those locations that work toward this alignment will be the ones to watch in 2018 and beyond. Jurisdictions where stakeholders are not able to pull together for the sake of winning business will be relegated to the also-ran category.
In any discussion about stakeholders, it is pertinent to define this community. Broadly speaking, it includes any and all entities — people or organizations — that have a direct interest in a specific jurisdiction’s industry. From the front-office BPO perspective, this obviously includes providers (local and global), different levels of government, promotion agencies, recruitment and staffing agencies, key advisors, and bodies representing the various elements of the industry. Depending on the location, the stakeholder community may include more parties, but the key to recognize is that it coalesces the inputs across the outsourcing value chain needed to make contact center service provision work within the jurisdiction. Making sure that collective aims are outlined and agreed upon is the logical next step.
Outsourcing stakeholder objectives will never be universally aligned across locations. A set of industry goals can be significantly different from one jurisdiction to another. In delivery points where front-office BPO is in its early stages of development, winning investment in the form of new contact centers may be the order of the day. For more established locations, formulating a long-term strategy that focuses on higher-value functionality or skills development are more likely goals.
But, the most important thing in this discussion is that within each delivery point, the industry’s players must broadly agree on what is to be achieved, and how the sector will go about realizing its aims. None other than the sector’s leaders will understand better in terms of what needs to be done to make their space more competitive and how to go about doing it. When the risk occurs is when stakeholders cannot come together.
Simply put, any location that seeks to win more front-office BPO business cannot allow discord or strife among stakeholders when developing its value proposition. Coming to agreement on objectives and implementing a plan of attack requires industry players to avoid disagreements that turn into petty squabbling. Turf wars and sniping only derails achieving common goals. Such a dynamic only results when front-office BPO stakeholders take their eyes off the ball. A lack of cohesion nullifies strategic planning, and it stifles efforts to develop a modern, commercially-responsive outsourcing sector.
Stakeholder cohesion is apparent to global investors. And once word of internal industry conflicts gets into discussions among outsourcing leaders, re-adjusting perceptions can be hard. In an industry that is rapidly evolving in the face of provider consolidation and digital disruption, those that wish to drive more BPO investment need to make sure that working collectively toward a combination of commercially, societal and industry-viable objectives is their prime focus.