This third blog is about a working partnership with a KPO provider.

The emergence of the sapling from the acorn – the proof of concept from the seed of an idea – signifies the adoption of KPO in a single, proven case. Let’s take stock of what this means before venturing into what the sapling may become.

We’ve reached a point of maturity, something sound that delivers on its promise.

There’s an outsourced team of specialists, trained by the business with the support of the KPO provider – through knowledge transfer and proof of concept – who are now de facto experts in a clearly scoped and specified task that the SME team was previously doing for itself. That’s the only difference. The overall business process workflow of which that task forms part has not substantially changed. What is extra is a layer of governance and management control shared by the two parties. On the business’s side, this comprises an existing, senior SME who can verify through sampling and a feedback loop that the business’s interests are being continually protected, while there is a counterpart on the provider’s side who keeps the outsourced team compliant and accountable under a Service Level Agreement.

The SMEs have already filled the time they’ve gained with more of the work that fits their core profile, or perhaps been given a new focus on a venture for which there was previously no available resource. The business can move up.

Meanwhile, the data that SMEs previously had to create or process is now coming to them created or processed to the same or even a higher standard. Whereas before, SMEs may have been unable to give that data their fullest attention – compromising on integrity, quality or timeliness, or all three – the data feeding back into their daily round is instead now complete, to a consistently high standard and available when needed, because the outsourced team is working to an SLA for that specific purpose.

The business can see for itself that a task viewed before as exclusively SME territory can actually be accomplished by a team of intelligent people with the right credentials. And – wait a moment! – it can actually be quickly flexed or expanded according to need without having to find investment capital for new buildings and management structures; it can become a centralized resource for a geographically dispersed business; … but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Part of the maturity achieved is the business-to-outsourcing relationship. The KPO provider has successfully enabled the business to bring about a successful change, with advantage, and this has established a level of co-operation, mutual understanding and trust between the two partners. This exists at the operational level as knowledge transfer continues and the KPO team engages in technical dialogue to build up outsourced competence. It also exists at management level: each side gets what the other is all about and how KPO works.

The scene is set to find more acorns. 

Simon Bates is a Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) practitioner with 30 years’ experience in outsourcing and offshoring. In this series of six blogs, he explains how specialist data management tasks are proper candidates for outsourcing.