BPO, CallCenter, Contact Centre, Customer service, News, Outsourcing, theOutsourcing-guide

The multi-channel challenge

By Martin Conboy

The ability to offer customers the ability to communicate with a brand via a variety of channels has been the Holy Grail for the contact centre and BPO industries for quite some time. Now days customers are multi channel shoppers and business as a whole are struggling to meet the multi-channel expectations of their customers.

But how do you do this while maintaining consistency in the level and quality of service being provided. Adding new channels without a coherent and integrated channel strategy can lead to a chaotic and uncontrolled experience for customers. The exact opposite of what you want.

The goal of multi-channel customer service is to give customers a seamless experience irrespective of the channel they use to contact the organisation. Most companies recognise the importance of it, but acknowledge that they don’t have the systems or processes in place to do it effectively . Thus technology investment is critical to enabling exceptional customer experience. The ability to offer a multi channel experience is now a brand differentiator.

The challenge within

Most organisations cite internal structure as the main challenge. Silos within an enterprise means that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. One may well find that serious departmental brick walls, or silos, exist in the organisation that can hinder its progress in terms of process effectiveness and efficiency – or worse, profitability.

The help desk handling support questions via live chat is not integrated with customer complaints or billing enquiry phone lines. Each departmental silo has its own view of the customer, that’s very different to how the rest of the organisation views them. Attitudes can differ significantly between different sets of departments and industries around a wide range of categories – including timeliness, information quality, trustworthiness, professionalism and impact of service.

As such the customer may feel they are dealing with a different organisation depending on the channel and the type of interaction they require. Adding another channel can more than likely fragment that view even further and frustrate the customer rather than improving their experience.

The complexity of trying to integrate these various channels is enormous, where organisations lose site of the forest because of all the trees. Just maybe it is better to have 2 or 3 channels that are highly effective than a dozen or so that aren’t working so well.

The data challenge

Customers themselves are fickle creatures. They don’t all want the same thing and what they want changes over time. Organisations have access to vast stores of customer data stored in transactional databases, surveys and feedback forms, on emails, social media platforms etc., that can be used to better understand customer behaviour and expectations. But unifying these data sources to provide actionable insight can be tantamount to searching for a needle in a haystack.

Continuous Partial Attention (CPA), is the process of paying simultaneous attention to a number of sources of incoming information, i.e. customer feedback, warehouse withdrawals, and website hits, but at a superficial level.

Linda Stone coined the term in 1998. Author, Steven Berlin Johnson, describes this as a kind of multitasking: “It usually involves skimming the surface of the incoming data; picking out the relevant details and moving on to the next stream. You’re paying attention, but only partially. CPA lets you cast a wider net but it also runs the risk of keeping you from really studying the fish”.

Operating under such a value network might lead a company to “listen too much” to its main customers. As a result, it will not recognise potentially disruptive innovations that serve only marginal customers. Secondly, large companies will not be interested in small markets; they hardly offer significant growth opportunities. Again this will lead companies to completely ignore the disruptive innovation or to wait until the market is “large enough to be attractive”. That is exactly when new entrants attack incumbent’s turf, and by that time it is usually too late.

Don’t try to be all things to all people all at once

Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is multi-channel customer service. Take the time to evaluate the performance of each channel and how it can be improved and integrated with your other channels based on customer feedback and preferences.

Improve gradually over time rather than attempting too much all at once. Customers are more likely to be impressed by constant gradual improvement than a massive project to re-engineer everything, which might fall by the wayside for being too difficult.

https://econsultancy.com/reports/multichannel-customer-experience-report

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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Success in outsourcing starts with the RFP

The road to engaging an outsourcing partner starts with the RFP (Request-For-Proposal). Many organisations have a structured and rigid approach to the RFP process, which from the very outset can limit the opportunities of developing a relationship based on innovation. It straight jackets providers by limiting what they can offer potential clients.

RFP is a detailed process where the services and requirements of a client organisation are documented and a range of potential vendors are then invited to bid for the contract.

It’s up to the potential vendors to demonstrate their capacity to provide the requested services, specifying time frames and costs. The client selects the winning bid based on  criteria that usually involves some combination of price, timeline, reputation and the proposed solution.

The process creates a standardised structure and approach for creating and analysing proposals. The problem that emerges as highlighted by outsourcing consultant Information Services Group, the traditional prescriptive RFP approach puts providers in a box, limiting what they can offer a potential client[i].

Clients can spend too much time focusing on service levels and price neglecting the broader scope and potential of the project. It’s a risk adverse protectionist approach which limits the possibility of forming a long-term relationship that adds value to both organisations.

Providers compete to deliver the best solution within a narrow framework. The RFP process is designed to allow for apples to apples comparison. However, it constrains innovation since the client has dictated the terms and scope of the solution.

Brian Pullen, director for Playground observes, “An over structured RFP document is often too specific about project details. This specificity discourages providerss from being creative and proposing better solutions to the core problem, as companies are often already sold on the solution in their RFP”[ii].

It may not even be in the provider’s best interest to highlight errors in the requested solution. The structured communication policy and strict rules in the submission process can make proposing new ideas a deal breaker.

ISG recommends, rather than dictating specific terms to be adhered to, clients should allow providers the flexibility to propose unique solutions. The relationship can then begin around fresh thinking and innovation.

[i] http://www.isg-one.com/knowledgecenter/whitepapers/private/papers/White_paper_-_RFS_Innovation.pdf.[ii] http://playgroundinc.com/blog/whats-wrong-with-the-rfp-and-how-to-fix-it/

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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Multi-sourcing: When One is Not enough

The trend in outsourcing and BPO deals towards smaller deals continues. In managing smaller deals multi-sourcing offers significant benefits but there also challenges. The greater number of additional  vendors involved increases the level of complexity and management resources required to ensure the different parties work effectively together.

Businesses are no longer willing to sign up large outsourcing deals that span multiple years due to concerns over vendor lock in and the lack of transparency, among others, and best-of-breed solutions emerge as the better option. However, while a multi-sourcing model may offer benefits such as higher flexibility and less dependency on a single vendor, it can be extremely complex to manage and may require additional management resources that some companies may not have.

Additionally, outsourcing lets organisations convert a fixed cost into a flexible expense, and transfer risk and management to another party

Multi-sourcing allows organisations to employ the best vendor in terms of price and capacity for a particular activity. Multi-sourcing promotes competition among various providers.  Best-of-breed sourcing recognizes that providers have different strengths and weaknesses and carves out work best suited for each of several providers.

It can cut costs related to repetitive service contracts and improve quality. Vendors must bid more frequently because contracts are shorter, suppliers face more competition because smaller-sized deals mean that more vendors qualify to bid, and suppliers need to attract more customers in order to meet growth targets.

Scott Feuless, principal consultant with outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group, recently said, “The number of service providers each company uses will grow dramatically, driven by growing popularity of cloud in general and Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] in particular”.

These multiple companies need to be managed and monitored. The job is made more difficult if they are off shore and hard to travel to.  Governance requirements can greatly magnify in multi-vendor BPO and outsourcing environments.

In multi-provider environments the resources needed to manage outsourcing can cost between 4-15% of total contract value.

Organisations pursuing a multi-sourcing arrangement should craft strong internal governance strategies with regard to vendor relationships and share the details with all of their service providers to promote better cooperation and more seamless delivery of services across organisational lines.

There is more risk in depending on one or two providers as much depends on their capabilities and their financial strength, for example. With multi-sourcing the risks move into other areas, including cracks between service, security issues,  hidden costs with continued monitoring and renewal of contracts, and possible replacement of providers.

Multi-sourcing can limit the scope of innovation you can expect from an outsourcing relationship in regards to a particular business function or IT service. IF there’s a range of vendors who are focused on their small bit of the equation there’s unlikely to be enough incentive for any of them to view what they do from a broader perspective.

Partnering with a single provider who can assist in reshaping an entire business process from end-to-end, will offer greater scope for innovation. Rather than a series of smaller contracts focused on transactions.

Moving from a single provider to a multi-sourcing environment or vice versa requires some considerable adjustment to how you manage your outsourcing relationships. You must change your contract negotiation strategies, procurement practices, and the governance models for you outsourcing contracts.

I recently consulted with a client who had a single vendor for the lion’s share of the work that they outsourced. As additional projects were being outsourced they asked the vendor to become a ‘master’ vendor and manage (for a fee) the other smaller vendors. The problem was that they constructed a complicated and very legalistic contract that was never going to achieve what was intended. They basically set and forget and were relying on a legal document that ended up making the parties adversarial. In the end when it came around to renewal time the whole process broke down with the vendor having to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table to honour a deal that it was getting smashed on. Malicious compliance was the end result and it did not end well.

Multi sourcing provides companies with lower cost options to get their outsourcing service delivered. However multi-sourcing relationships’ must be maintained and closely monitored to deliver the best possible outcome.

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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Creating an Amazing Mobile Experience

The evolution of smarter smartphones and greater access to data sources offers innovative organisations the opportunity to create amazing mobile experiences for their customers. 2015 is the year of mobility where organisations are starting to invest heavily in mobile and responsive websites as well as mobile applications. They are throwing money at the technology, but does that mean they are creating amazing experiences for their customers?

The 2015 State of Marketing Report from Salesforce, based on a survey of 5000 marketers globally including Australia, discovered that two-thirds of respondents have integrated mobile into their marketing strategy. That’s up from 48 percent in 2014 and 65 per cent plan to spend more on mobile push notifications.

Just having mobility as part of your marketing and customer service strategy is not enough. You need to get into the minds and shoes of your customers to understand their mindset and the sort of mobile experiences they are looking for from your brand.

Understanding the role of mobility in the customer journey and mindset

Mobile customers have less time than other customers. They may be walking down the street, on the bus on their way to work, shopping or waiting in a queue, or travelling on holidays. They are more demanding than normal online customers at a desktop. They have less time and are restricted by screen size and the lack of a keyboard or mouse.

When building your mobility channel and platforms there should be two things that you are aiming to achieve[i]:

  1. Allowing customers to find what they want and complete a transactions in the easiest, fastest and most convenient way possible
  2. Provide an experience compelling enough that they’ll come back again and again.

So rather than thinking of what marketing messages you can push out to them. Think of how you can improve the experience of dealing with your brand. How can you simplify the experience? How can you add value? Or even how can you make it more entertaining and fun?

Don’t try everything at once

Don’t fall into the trap of doing what everyone else (ie your competitors) are doing. And try to avoid making major investments that require significant resources and long implementation time frames. As Chris Luxford, Senior Partner from Experience Innovators, advises, “Instead of a few big and long investments that are predominantly still focused on “better service at a lower cost”. Innovate via a customer outcome mindset and lots and lots of smaller frequent changes across the entire customer lifecycle”.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a long term strategy and plan. It’s the very opposite in fact. It’s about achieving short term goals and gains as part of realising your long term vision to engage your customers with amazing experiences.

[i] http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/tips-engaging-mobile-experience-1505010.pdf.

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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BPO, CallCenter, Human resources

Take Me To Your Leader!

“Take me to your leader” is a science fiction cartoon catch phase, said by an extra-terrestrial alien who has just landed on earth in a flying saucer to the first human it happens to meet. It suggests that every organisation has to have someone in charge.

Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”  (Chemers M. (1997)

Many organisations struggle with leadership development at all levels. Recently, Deloitte unveiled its Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, highlighting leadership as a top ten concern for most companies. The success of any outsourcing relationship is dependent on the quality of leadership from both the vendor as well as the client. Unfortunately, too many organisations adopt a one-size fits all approach to leadership development.

What is leadership?

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organization; and it is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring.

Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination, in a smooth and efficient way.

Anyone in any position of authority likes to think they are a good leader. We can all think of examples of good and bad leaders, no matter what the incumbents thought themselves. Each executive, manager, team leader, and supervisor in your organisation most probably has his or her own definition of what leadership is.

Everybody has his or her own ideas about what it takes to be a good leader. For some it’s about having a strong vision and the capability to share it and have others support it[i]. For others it’s about empowering people to achieve their best. While some view leadership as the ability to encourage others to be leaders.

Leadership is all these things.

Fundamentally leaders are people who know how to achieve goals and obtain the necessary support from others to make things happen. Good leaders are necessary for organisations to grow and succeed. Good leaders are inclusive and bring people along with them.

Companies and BPO providers invest small fortunes in leadership development programs. Around $US 170 billion is spent globally on corporate training each year with 35% of this being spent on leadership development[ii].

Why many leadership programs fail

Many leadership programs assume that one size fits all and that the same group of skills or style of leadership is appropriate regardless of strategy, commercial situation and organisational culture[iii]. A BPO service provider may need to develop different styles of leaders depending on the contracts and nature of the clients they need to work with. It may need different leadership styles depending on the industries they target and general economic conditions.

Is the organisation in a fast growing and dynamic space requiring leaders brimming with ideas and technical know-how, who are prepared to take risks. Or is the organisation facing sluggish market demand and needs people who can control costs and streamline processes.

A good starting point for developing leadership within your organisation may be to come up with your own definition or range of definitions for the term. Define what characteristics are necessary for someone to be a good leader in your environment and at what level within your organisation.

Characteristics may include things like honesty, active listening, the ability to delegate, confidence, good communication, be organised and so on. What characteristics you choose and the importance you give to each will depend on the culture and objectives of your organisation.

Are good leaders made or born?

There are various debates about whether leaders are born or made or some combination of both. One thing that is fairly certain is that a brilliant leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another[iv].

As an employer you must decide which characteristics or skills you can help people develop to become good leaders, specifically within your organisation and what characteristics do they need to bring with them when they are employed.

As the BPO industry continues to evolve, diversify and adapting to an ever-changing world and business environment, leadership is becoming increasingly complex and demanding. Meeting that gap is a significant challenge requiring more than a one-size fits all approach.

And lastly: “My Religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”    The Dalai Lama

Kindness is a leadership characteristic that will deliver financial and humanitarian returns beyond imagination. It helps us create work environments that are based on trust and that allow people to express and experience meaning and purpose at work.

Kindness is the willingness to open one’s heart to another and to do so as instinct, not as calculation. Kindness is a show of respect for someone, whether you agree with his or her point of view or not. Kindness leads to listening, to curiosity and to the creation of environments at work, home and in the community, where there is an unspoken covenant of honour and of worthiness. It helps us internalize and cultivate an understanding that none of us can survive or achieve personal or organizational success alone.

Focus on happiness

What about your company makes you happy? What makes you unhappy? By asking two such simple questions, a manager can discover how best to motivate his employees, persuade his customers, and support its shareholders. According to the Dalai Lama, happiness is the highest universal form of motivation. A happy company is a successful company. You are more invested in success when you care about where it comes from.

[i] http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3647-leadership-definition.html

[ii] http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2014/02/04/the-recovery-arrives-corporate-training-spend-skyrockets/

[iii] http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/why_leadership-development_programs_fail

[iv] http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/why_leadership-development_programs_fail

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

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Is your Client Data at Risk?

By Mark Atterby

data-securityIn the wake of headline-making attacks and data breaches of Sony Pictures, JP Morgan, Snapchat and others, information security is becoming one of the highest priorities in BPO engagements. Organisations are sensitive about their data and want to know that it’s protected and being handled with care.

The costs to a client can be enormous both in reputation and direct financial impact. Just this month AT&T in North America was fined $25 million by the US Federal Communications Commission, for data security breaches at a call centre the company employed in Mexico to handle Spanish language services.

Employees working for the call centre stole private information belonging to thousands of US customers, including names, full and partial social security numbers, and account-related data. They sold this information to a 3rd party to unlock stolen mobile phones.

This is just one example. According to Gemalto’s Breach Level Index for 2014, 1,500 data breaches led to one billion data records compromised worldwide during 2014. These numbers represent a 49% increase in data breaches and a 78% increase in data records that were either stolen or lost compared to 2013.

It impacts the whole industry

Not only does a major security breach harm the client’s business – it strikes at the very heart of the industry as a whole. Security and how well a BPO provider can demonstrate their commitment to it is increasingly becoming a deal breaker.

Clients need to audit the security procedures of any prospective vendor. If the vendor will be handling information in regards to payments or credit cards then ensure their systems are PCI compliant.

One of the causes of data breaches is from internal employees or former possibly disgruntled employees. Centres with high turnover have a more significant challenge in maintaining control and security.

There are various measures contact centres are deploying to ensure BPO staff do not breach client’s confidentiality and mis-appropriately use their data. Some of these measures include[i]:

  • Creating a paperless environment, preventing employees from writing down and removing information by ensuring that all work processes are done on the computer, without having to record anything on forms or notes.
  • Prohibiting the use of mobile phones and cameras on the floor.
  • Prohibiting paper, pens and digital recording devices from being brought onto the floor.
  • Preventing internet access for employees on the floor.
  • Limiting functionality and access of personal computers or terminals used by call centre agents (for example, disabling USB ports). Companies may also use data loss prevention software to block attempts to download, copy, or transmit sensitive electronic data.

A provider that can’t keep its clients’ customers’ information secure is exposing their client to considerable risk. An organisation can outsource an activity but not its responsibility to the secure handling of private information.

[i] http://www.csoonline.com/article/2122795/physical-security/call-center-security–how-to-protect-employees-and-customers.html

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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Innovate or Die!

By Martin Conboy (theOutsourcing-guide.com)

“If change is happening on the outside faster than on the inside, then the end is in sight” Jack Welch, CEO, G. E. In fact, the world is changing so rapidly that organisations are struggling to keep up.

I always remember my first boss telling me that if you are not going forwards then you are going backwards! For businesses and economies to thrive and adapt to change they must innovate. These days, clients expect their BPO and outsourcing providers to be innovative in adding strategic value to the outsourcing contract. But how does one become innovative? Primarily, it requires a willingness to take risks. There is no guarantee that trying something different is a pathway to success, sometimes it means it just might not work.

In its early years, 3M aka Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, was on the verge of failure. After years of mining losses management came to a crossroads. Close down or do something different. As Albert Einstein said, “If you want different results, do not do the same things.” 3M executives did what most successful executives do when faced with failure. They used it as an opportunity to find a new way forward. Today, the company generates billions in revenue and employs over 80,000 people.

What is the ingredient that brought 3M back from the brink of failure? While there are several candidates, the one that stands out is innovation.

Many organisations place innovation on their list of corporate values. However, much fewer actually have a culture in place that actively encourages it. Some organisations and industries are particularly risk adverse, preferring to rely on practices and traditions that have produced results in the past than invest in new ideas that might not succeed.

According to a recent McKinsey survey, innovation has become one of the top business objectives in organisations that want to grow, out perform their competitors and, indeed, even survive by creating a higher value proposition. More than 70 precent of senior executives said ‘innovation will be at least one of the top three drivers of growth for their companies in the next three to five years.”

Furthermore, leading strategic thinkers are moving beyond product innovations to innovations in business processes, distribution, value chains, business models and even the functions of management.

Another major barrier to innovation are managers and executives who are resistant to new ideas and suggestions from others, particularly from staff and employees. Internal jealousies stemming from turf wars, departmental or staff rivalries can make change very difficult to achieve.

McKinsey again, 65 precent of the study group expressed concern about the ability to stimulate innovation. Saying ‘mountain; and climbing it can be very different things.

Innovation is not about technology

There’s a tendency to think of innovation in terms of technical innovation. Though technology is important, it is only a part of the picture. According to best-selling business author, Scott Berkun, “Innovation is significant positive change”[i]. That change can apply to technology or to products and processes, or it can apply to people.

In terms of an individual business or enterprise, this could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving existing services. Innovation can be a catalyst for growth and success, helping companies and industries to adapt and grow.

Being innovative does not mean inventing. It means creating a culture of innovation and promoting innovative thinking and creative problem solving.

The drive for innovation

Businesses that are innovative create more efficient work processes and have better productivity and performance. Research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity in the US highlights how high-performing organisations are up to three times more likely to implement people practices that drive innovation[ii].

It’s not just individual businesses or industries that need to innovate to survive – it’s entire economies. The 2015 Intergeneration Report produced by the Australian government has highlighted the need for the Australian economy to create new industries and for existing industries to adapt to a changing Asia-centric world.

As a nation Australia needs to be a lot more innovative.

Being innovative

When outsourcing their business processes clients now expect innovation and for providers to add real strategic value. In fact the term innovation is bandied about so often that saying you are innovative is hardly a point of difference. The world has moved on from BPO 1.0 –lift and shift and clients want a value add that goes way beyond price.

Even very risk-adverse organisations will claim to be innovative. But being risk-adverse can be the main stumbling block to innovation. Relying too extensively on tradition and what has worked in the past will inhibit the ability to enact positive change for the future. “That’s the way we have always done it’ or ‘It’s policy” are attitudes that could be the kiss of death.

Developing BPO and outsourcing relationships that are focused mainly on avoiding risk with for the vendor or the client or both, will inhibit innovation and creative problem solving.

Be prepared to take risks

You’ll never be ahead of the pack if you don’t do something different from everybody else. This is not to say you should become reckless and invest in every idea that’s developed. You do need to develop a process for evaluating the risk and benefits of any particular initiative and decide if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.

A good example is Apple the most valuable company in the world. Apple has a program called ‘Blue Sky’ that lets a few select team members take a few weeks at a time to work on a favourite project. This frees up brainpower for innovation.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing

Innovation is not delivered by a single visionary within the company. Regardless of how innovative or visionary a CEO or director of the business maybe as an individual, that does not mean the organisation as a whole will be innovative.

Vital to driving innovation is greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, within the organisation and with external stakeholders such as partners and customers. Collaboration encourages discussion, new ideas being put forward, appraisal and revision of those ideas and greater awareness of the problems being faced by the organisation.

Each employee and stakeholder will have a unique perspective on a problem and are capable of developing a possible solution or suggestion to resolve it.

Driven and inspired from the top

It’s the responsibility of senior management and executives to ensure a culture of innovation is promoted, encouraged and supported throughout the entire organisation.

[i] http://scottberkun.com/2013/the-best-definition-of-innovation/

[ii] http://www.i4cp.com/productivity-blog/2013/04/02/i4cp-research-human-capital-practices-drive-organizational-innovation

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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