BPO Definition and Information

BPO Definition and Information
BPO means business process outsourcing.  It also means broker price option, but in the context of outsourcing, the first definition is the one we will concern ourselves with. There are various types of BPO outsourcing as well as specialties and it is important to understand the distinctions between them.
Some BPO companies stick to a particular type of specialty such as Data Entry and it’s associated specialties such as Data Mining, Data Conversion, Data Processing, etc.  Some stick to Call Center (call centre) work and it’s various specialties such as technical support, customer care, customer retention, telemarketing, etc. It is common in India for BPO companies to engage in a wide variety of functions.  I have seen many companies that will do Data Entry, Call Center, Medical Billing, SEO, Software Development, and Web Design, if not even more diverse specialties. BPO companies mostly stick to repetative back office functions like payment processing, information transcription, answering calls, etc.  However, there are other types of outsourcing operations that have very highly trained and highly educated employees.
There are various other types of outsourcing that include: KPO, LPO, RPO, and ITO.  There might be more acronyms or terms out there, but these ones are very common. 
KPO = Knowledge Process Outsourcing
LPO = Legal Process Outsourcing
RPO = Recruitment Process Outsourcing (HR work)
ITO = Information Technology Outsourcing (Software Development)
LPO, RPO, and ITO are easy to understand.  However, the term KPO, which is normally associated with research and analysis,  is often inclusive of legal and software work as well when used in a general way. Most KPO companies engage primarily in various types of research including market research, medical research, pharmaceutical research (a new trend in India), and other types of research.  Business analysis, data analysis, and various types of sophisticated number crunching fit neatly into the category of KPO.
The interesting point that one should understand is that it is common for BPO companies to engage in activities which blur the distinctions between BPO and KPO.  It is common for call centers to do surveys and data tabulation.  Taking and inputting the information (which involves call center and data entry work) fall into the general category of BPO. However, many call centers will also analyze the data for you to tell you which market segments you need to spend more time targetting.  Data entry firms will often do data analysis as part of their work.  The grunt work of entering data from forms, online, or databases into another form is low paying work.  However, the analytical work done once the data is in an appropriate format is much more intricate work.
Please keep in mind, that if you are browsing BPO websites on the internet, they might refer to themselves as a BPO when they are doing work that falls partly in the BPO category, and partly in KPO or even LPO categories.  You really need to read the “services” page of any website to get a clear idea of what they do.  The next question is what do they do best? Are they wonderful at legal research, but sloppy about data entry?  That question is not so easy to answer.  Good luck!

Please visit our KPO definition blog entry as well

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One Response to BPO Definition and Information

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