Call Center Outsourcing Anchors BPO Successes
A new global study by KnowledgeStorm and The AlignIT Group reveals that while offshore call centers and contract programming continue to provide positive returns for many businesses, many other industries are seeing only mixed results from offshoring efforts.
The survey polled more than 2,000 companies on experiences and attitudes related to business process outsourcing and IT spending. Of the companies surveyed, fewer than one quarter are currently engaged in offshore outsourcing. Despite some reports returning numbers as high as 80 percent, "what we see here is some moderation of that, and it is clearly not affecting everybody," says Raj Gajwani, director of market intelligence for KnowledgeStorm.
It is the speed rather than the prevalence that has made offshoring such a sensitive issue. "This is happening faster than almost any major economic shift in the past," Gajwani says. But not all industries are equally satisfied with the results.
Of the 11 industrial groupings in the survey, just two -- IT and communications -- indicated a positive "posture change" with regard to the use of offshore services, indicating that their rate of consumption growth was inclined to continue rising. Those two industries are already the largest consumers of offshore services, and are the only industries in the survey to be at least one third invested in such outsourcing. Outfits in public administration and health/education fields, already the least frequent adopters, were inclined to the most strongly negative posture shifts.
Gajwani says that while political pressure looms large, it is not the only factor that may disincline a company to outsource. "Some companies, for political reasons or morale in the workforce, are saying that they're less likely to use offshore services," he says. "But we also interpret the data that some are saying 'it doesn't work for my business.'" The study found a positive correlation between offshore satisfaction and attitude towards the services, meaning that the outsourcing decision is still largely being made for business rather than political or personal reasons.
With the call center industry showing no signs of slowing its use of offshore resources, many are worried that the industry will become unsustainable within U.S. borders. Gajwani warns against leaping to any conclusions. "I have a strong belief that there is a market and a use for onshore call centers that will become increasingly obvious," he says. "But it is clearly at the quality end of the market. For the temp who gets two hours of training and handles credit card calls, there is not a lot of job security."