For years, companies have turned to business process outsourcing (BPO) to cut costs, boost efficiency, allow greater focus on core functions, and more. Yet, how this is achieved and what that looks like has evolved over time. DATAMARK was founded in 1989, and so we’ve been around long enough to not only witness these shifts but pioneer many of them too. Here are some of the key trends we see emerging right now and what they mean to you as an organizational leader.

1. Automation is Being Leveraged More, But People Are Staying Put

With developments like robust scanners capable of reading pages and extracting information in the blink of an eye and interoperability between systems streamlining processes, automation is booming. Companies are tapping into it to increase efficiency and reduce errors, but it’s being used as a tool to support the work of people rather than outright replacing them as many once feared.

2. The Cloud is Becoming the Standard

Current research shows that 94 percent of enterprises are using at least one cloud service, though most organizations leverage five or more. Overall, 83 percent of enterprise workloads are carried out in the cloud too. Although leveraging cloud tech isn’t a new trend, having it become the standard is, and it boils down to two big reasons; continuity and cost. Recent events across the globe, ranging from natural disasters through political strife, have demonstrated the need for extra layers of security and continuity planning. The cloud offers both in one tidy package. Furthermore, all businesses have cost concerns, but lending approval rates have been all over the map, which makes it harder for companies to invest in their own tech and have faith that they’ll be able to keep up with bills if they take the plunge. They’re working with BPO providers more than ever to find the right mix of cloud technology to maximize budgets, security, and functionality.

3. Multitasking and Multisourcing Are on the Rise

As efficiency gains are skyrocketing for those who work with top-notch BPO companies, more are cultivating teams with multiple skillsets to keep workflows moving. A prime example of this is seen in call centers. Whereas bilingual representatives were once a rarity, resulting in bottlenecks for some and unproductivity for others, moving to a model where all or many reps possess are bilingual and can take several types of calls is much more common.

At the same time, organizations are getting great results from their BPO firms, and as such, are returning to the same providers for solutions to other business process issues. For example, many start with a single service, such as customer contact centers or data capture, and then build the number of services being outsourced overtime to amplify the results.

4. Accountability and Transparency Are Expected

With decades in the industry, DATAMARK has always been enthusiastic about sharing results we achieve with our clients, but this hasn’t been an industry standard. The skyrocketing demand for BPO services resulted in a number of newcomers entering the market, offering to slash costs further for organizations. Unfortunately, these inexperienced providers often failed to deliver as promised, leaving the businesses they served holding the bag and in the dark as to what went wrong. The good news is, businesses have learned from these experiences and are now carefully examining their contracts to ensure they have visibility into what the BPO firm is achieving and accountability measures in place when expectations go unmet.

5. Where to Outsource is the Real Question

Historically, outsourcing has meant finding a place overseas to host your call center and choosing between maybe one or two countries. That’s not true anymore. The offshore options still exist and work well for many, but nearshoring, particularly in Mexico, has become the ideal way for companies to balance quality, cost, and visibility, all while tapping into a well-educated bilingual workforce. Many are choosing to work with a BPO firm in an on-site or near-site capacity as well, offering even greater security.

6. One-Size-Fits-All Solutions Are Vanishing

As the old saying goes, “one-size-fits-all fits none.” BPO firms like DATAMARK are spending more time to get to know the companies they serve and creating custom solutions that truly fit their needs and address their unique areas of opportunity.