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The Business Research service guide

This is the fifth blog post in a nine-part series detailing the various services and sub-services within select segments in the KPO industry. The last blog post presented the service offerings in the Financial Research Outsourcing (FRO) segment. In this blog post, we discuss the services and sub-services offered by Business Research service providers. The segments we will be covering are listed in the exhibit “KPO segments”.

We believe that a clear delineation of which sub-service belongs under which service category is imperative. Buyers often are confused as to what constitutes a complete value-chain for a segment, and which sub-services can be expected by a service provider in a certain service offering.

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The FRO service guide

This is the fourth blog post in a nine-part series detailing the various services and sub-services within select segments in the KPO industry. The last blog post presented the service offerings in the Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) segment. In this blog post, we discuss the services and sub-services offered by Financial Research Outsourcing (FRO) service providers. The segments we will be covering are listed in the exhibit “KPO segments”.

We believe that a clear delineation of which sub-service belongs under which service category is imperative. Buyers often are confused as to what constitutes a complete value-chain for a segment, and which sub-services can be expected by a service provider in a certain service offering.

Continue reading ‘The FRO service guide’ »

Where does the KPO industry stand? A few observations on its evolution so far

Outsourcing in the services sector has been happening for the past couple of decades, with a slew of information technology (ITO) and business processes (BPO) getting outsourced to global locations. Over the past 8 to 10 years, there has been considerable interest in the market for knowledge processes outsourcing (KPO). These critical and high-end services are the most recent entrants in the outsourcing space. In order to understand more about the KPO industry, my team and I spoke to decision makers from the buyer and vendor communities to gather opinions and gain insights. This preliminary exercise brought us a varied spectrum of insights on aspects such as industry challenges, vendor concerns, segmental growth rates, end customer segments et al.

What we know so far is that the evolution of the KPO industry was very distinct from that of the ITO and the BPO market. After these two services were outsourced, service providers enquired about further needs for outsourcing services. Trust built over the years from existing outsourcing relationships brought high-end, value-added work on the sourcing table. This work was not heavily dependent on the location of the delivery team and it involved a higher level of judgment and rigorous methodologies by smaller teams. The nature of work was more sophisticated and involved a higher degree of partnership and collaboration. To sum up, the KPO industry involves complex processes, requires insights and analysis based on skills and judgment, require people with a higher education background and specialized knowledge, and the end results can vary from provider to provider. The list of key KPO segments is illustrated in exhibit 1.

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Smart grid security measures – How worried should we be?… and other outsourcing insights

If you ask any energy & utilities (E&U) industry expert on the most transformational technology to hit the industry in the past five years, the resonating answer would be the smart grid. Companies and policy-makers are working round the clock to roll-out this technology on a global scale. Benefits of the smart gird are aplenty, the most important being the information extracted from each meter providing valuable insights on domestic and commercial energy consumption patterns. A long-term analysis of this data will help save power and reduce energy loads for consumers and industries alike. However, over the past couple of years, a less unsavory aspect of the grid has emerged – potential gaps in the grid for commercial hacking of the grid to disrupt the grid and steal personal information.

Our recently released report on outsourcing in the utilities space predicted a “data deluge” of sorts with the amount of information generated from smart meters attached to every home. All this information will be sent along the grid to the utility for analysis and billing purposes. To prevent misuse of this data, utilities service providers, meter/grid component manufacturers and the utility companies are collaborating with regulators such as the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and UK’s Ofgem to address security concerns and strengthen the smart grid itself through more effective security solutions.

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Defining Marketing Analytics

Analytics is a relatively new buzz-word in the outsourcing industry with a lot of service providers offering these services, either as a pure horizontal across industries or as a vertical specific service. With marketing services being outsourced, usually in a bundled format with customer support and other BPO offerings to “sweeten” the deal, there are elements of marketing analytics coming into the outsourcing foray. In a new HfS Research report co-authored by ValueNotes, titled ‘Where Offshore Analytics is Heading in 2011’, we have focused on the emergence of ‘horizontal’ analytics across services such as sales and marketing.

To define marketing analytics, let’s take a look at these two terms separately –

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