Process Automation Technology for BPOs: 3 Things to Consider

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Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies need to take advantage of digital technology to boost efficiency. Business rules automation can make a dramatic difference.

Perhaps more than others, organisations in the outsourcing space need to take advantage of digital technologies as they look to boost operational efficiencies, increase business agility and improve customer engagement.

Automating decision-making in complex mid to back-office processes and functions is a good place for business process outsourcing (BPO) companies to start. Decisions regarding eligibility for a particular service, product or loan; up-sell or cross-sell opportunities; risk assessments and the like are all candidates for such automation—and lead to cost savings and consistency that can be passed down to the client. The principle savings come from automating decisions around processes and functions that change frequently.

Applying human logic to a frequently changing set of circumstances, or relying on IT to use traditional coding approaches to implementing new rules, can be slow, inconsistent and expensive—and certainly not agile or efficient. That’s where a business rules management system (BRMS) can prove extremely valuable to BPOs, enabling changing rules to be managed and implemented on the fly by business folks, without intervention from IT.

Here are three important considerations for BPOs adopting automated rules management:
1. The more complex the process, the greater the need for automation: The truth is you probably won’t need a BRMS to automate simple processes for which where the underpinning rules rarely change. But you’ll see significant benefits if you have complex rules governing complex processes, both of which change frequently under tight control. Processes such as risk and rating, loan eligibility and origination or underwriting and claims processing are good examples. Yet other industries benefit, as well. Take healthcare, for instance—the Affordable Care Act simply couldn’t be delivered effectively without this type of technology helping to determine the eligibility of an individual for specific levels of social welfare and healthcare.

2. BRMS is a differentiator: Nobody outsources a function that’s operating optimally without any scope for improvement—in fact it’s probably the polar opposite. The client’s expectation is that the BPO will improve a sub-optimal business process, do it for less than it costs right now and, probably, improve customer engagement at the same time. In a worldwide survey of business leaders, 57 percent cited improving efficiencies as a key driver in outsourcing processes.Other top factors included reducing cost and gaining better access to expertise. Achieving these goals requires deploying technology across a range of clients’ processes and functions such that, through economies of scale, cost is reduced while processes improves. That’s what automation solutions help to deliver—setting you apart from other BPOs.

3. Optimizing internal backend systems is equally important: When people think about digital business, they naturally start thinking about their own customers and how they can better engage with them and more effectively manage the customer journey. But be careful not to limit your digital focus to the front end of your business or just your client’s processes. Internal mid- and back-office functions can benefit from BRMS, too. Automating processes isn’t just about not about veneering some digital stuff onto existing, legacy systems; it’s about modernising all systems and processes, and in some cases, reinventing existing ones from end to end.

No matter what industries a BPO serves—financial, healthcare, government or the public sector — process efficiency is always a priority. Finding a BRMS that maximizes operational efficiencies, cuts costs and increases agility will lead you down the path to the ultimate goal: service improvement.

David Martin is responsible for managing Progress' partner relationships in the UK and Ireland.