Tree of Knowledge


This fifth blog is about KPO as an integral part of business strategy and operational efficiency.

Such trees exist! KPO is like that: branches form in different directions for different reasons; some start at the trunk, others from existing branches – even twigs sprout. The tree as a whole represents a company’s knowledge invested in KPO, always remembering that the roots of that knowledge remain in place with the business, too.

It is not necessarily the case that the sapling comes from re-imagination of the tasks of an established in-house SME team. Some businesses come to KPO from a position of not having the resources at all to go to the next step in their journey. They will nevertheless have the knowledge to engage with KPO and accept the output of the outsourced team into new processes. No matter, once the sapling is bedded in, a tree can always burgeon as the business looks at what other resources it would like to have, and how to make the most of those SMEs who are within its ranks.

How a tree develops is unique to each business. If growth is a follow-on from the proof of concept, KPO could move from one language to many, for example; it could move from a local or regional solution to a global one, centralizing resource to optimize management costs across a whole group; it might be simple expansion, enabling the business to do more than it could before or to start operating 24/7. It really depends on the strategy.

Branching out may also be a leap, say, from one discipline (area of knowledge) to a different one; or from data processing to data hosting or app development.

As the tree grows, it remains firmly rooted and does not overshoot its ability to remain stable. Documentation, in the form of SLAs, technical specifications and procedure manuals, is a vital part of this. The KPO provider will be able to create detailed documentation where this is not available or needs strengthening. The quality of what comes from the outsourced resource is defined, measurable and subject to continuous sampling and feedback. The idea of ‘letting go’ is wrong: it is ‘keeping hold’ with advantage.

As in any partnership, lines of communication, escalation and accountability, progress meetings and KPI reporting, are established as part of the engagement.

KPO is based on trust hard-earned, with the success of the client business fundamental. The Tree of Knowledge is testimony to sound reasons why KPO is successful, enabling a business to remain increasingly focussed on its plans as it grows while staying in firm control of its data assets.

Simon Bates is a KPO practitioner with 30 years’ outsourcing and offshoring experience.