Reasons to cheer in 2013
The industry has evolved from business process outsourcing to business process management
Shailja Shah Purohit
According to a recent NASSCOM report, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is expected to grow between 12% and 15% this year. The report states, “2013 can be connoted as the year of rapid transition and the BPO sector is likely to see a transformation in terms of the emphasis shifting from technology partners to strategic business partners." This in effect has characterised a fundamental operational and business shift. In other words today it is no longer BPO. Rather it is BPM (business process management).
“The BPO business model was built on the foundation of cost arbitrage, but cost no longer remains a differentiator." says Nitin Bhat, global hiring and HRSS leader at Genpact. The key challenge today is to deliver a business outcome. Hence, there is a need to reinvent the business model through innovation and a renewed focus on the use of new technologies. SMAC (Social media, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud) technologies are the key factors that will fuel growth of this industry in 2013-14.
Hiring too is expected to be between 12% and 15% this year. There is an increasing demand for talent which is aligned with growth. However, there is only a small percentage of ready-tobe- employed talent and this is another key challenge faced by the industry.
Building the talent
Talking about the way in which this key challenge is being addressed by various organisations, Bhat says “At Genpact we are addressing the key challenge in two ways — one is by a tie-up with educational institutes, where we are collaborating to introduce industry relevant courses, so that when a student passes out, his employability level is higher. Second, we are hiring semi-skilled talent and then training them to meet industry standards. Last year we hired almost 3000- 4000 semi-skilled employees and trained them within the company.”
Subrat Chakravarty, HR head, business services, HCL Technologies, elaborates, “At the entry level though our expectations are based on the minimum skill requirements for the role (ranging from domain awareness, analytical skills, written and verbal communication and technical skills as well), we lay a lot of emphasis on career orientation, as we wish to significantly invest in training to groom them in specific verticals and competence areas.”
EXL Services, too, is partnering with premier academ- ic institutes to fill the skill gap in the industry and enable candidates to meet clients’ demands. It also invests significantly in upskilling employees through various internal training modules.
Emerging job options
As BPO organisations move towards managing processes, the demand for non- contact centre jobs is on the rise. Chakravarty of HCL elaborates, “BPO hiring is no more about large number hiring at the entry level, but some very specialised skills in various domains like banking, financial services, media and entertainment, supply chain, healthcare, HRO and F&A and these demands are across levels.” In Genpact too, almost two-third of jobs are now non- contact centre, and include domain
areas of engineering, analytics, finance etc.
Analytics appears to be an attractive emerging career in BPM, as Subhendra Nath Saha, country head - decision analytics, EXL Services, confirms. “Studies have already predicted that the next big job boom in India will be in the analytics domain. In the past two years, the analytics practice at EXL has seen a tremendous increase in the number of insurance, banking and financial services clients. Our headcount in the analytics practice has almost doubled in this time frame, which is testimony of the increasing demand for analytics professionals.”
Attrition on downslide
Attrition, earlier a key challenge in this sector, is decreasing with more acceptance of the BPO industry. The average age of employees in this sector today is around 28 years. Bhat says, “The changing macro- economic element has also made an impact on attrition, and in our company at least, people can see longterm career growth and security, and so are not willing to move out.”