We found interesting a recent Forbes article by Cody McLain that discussed the top trends to watch in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The article highlighted the following four trends for 2019.

1. Increase in Process Automation

As artificial intelligence (AI) expands to nearly every aspect of our lives, the BPO industry is also impacted and must adapt to the AI revolution. The article estimates that nearly 40% of American jobs could be lost to automation by the 2030s. While BPO companies often thrive in completing manual tasks outsourced by their clients, if AI software were able to do those same services at a fraction of the cost, then BPO companies would lose as their clients choose the more cost-effective solution. The article suggests that BPO companies should adapt to the use of AI and switch their services to work alongside AI (such as managing and maintaining AI) to stay competitive.

2. Emphasis on Social Media Services

Social media has not only changed the way that companies market to consumers but also how consumers provide feedback (both positive and negative) to companies. Consumers have discovered that a tweet or post directed at a company that goes “viral” can have a much greater (and quicker) impact than calling a customer service number. As such, the article discusses how BPO companies that provide customer services, through platforms such as call centers, are now shifting toward social media engagement and management to seek out and rectify issues that are posted to social media. The article expects BPO companies to put more resources into all aspects of social media management in order to provide for their clients.

3. Growth of SaaS and Cloud Computing

The article predicts that the shift toward cloud products and software as a service (SaaS) products will continue to increase in the near future, impacting BPO companies. A survey in the 2017 State of the Cloud Report, cited in the article, found that 95% of respondents are using some form of cloud technology. This trend toward cloud products and SaaS includes increased adoption by BPO companies, according to the article, as their clients expect them to be using the latest technologies for efficiency and cost savings.

4. Diversification of BPO Company Services

Originally, outsourcing services were primarily information technology, accounting, and some customer service functions, such as call centers. The article points out that BPO companies now offer a much wider range of services, from social media management to website design, to more robust customer support services. As companies look to outsource more of their business components that are not core competencies, the article expects BPO companies to continue to offer increased and expanded services to meet their clients’ needs.