Outsourcing has long been used by businesses of all sizes to offload activity that isn’t considered among its core strengths. In the past, outsourcing efforts were reserved for secondary and relatively minor activities like building security and housekeeping.
More recently, top companies have embraced a strategy known as business process outsourcing, or BPO. With BPO, the company assigns more demanding functions to outside experts. These business processes can include critical but non-core areas like tech support, call center operations, accounting, human resources, and sales and marketing.
These corporate responsibilities are critical, but not what the company is all about. The strategy of BPO support recognizes that even the largest and most powerful companies in the world aren’t experts at everything they touch. And if they try to focus too keenly on weaker areas beyond their scope of competence, it can be, at best, a painful distraction.
In other cases, these other companies might take on BPO partners to augment and expand upon services that they do well. Whatever the motivations, outsourcing is a strategic decision to strengthen these corporations in diverse ways.
Here are just a few leading examples of top companies that outsource key departments or responsibilities.
AT&T & BPO Call Center Services
AT&T is all about communications, starting with the invention of the telephone in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. Today, AT&T is still a powerhouse in high-tech communications areas such as telephone and internet services, wireless, data, satellite television, and even telecom equipment.
But AT&T can’t do everything. The company uses BPO partnerships in its call center operations. That’s right—the ultimate customer service function by telephone is a responsibility that’s been outsourced by AT&T to experts in that specialized field.
Coca-Cola Trusts BPO for its Human Resources
You’ve known this brand ever since you were a child. In fact, American children growing up in the late 19th century recognized and loved this beverage brand. For over a century, Coca-Cola has been a familiar name all over the world.
What you might not know is that Coca-Cola has also implemented BPO strategies in its HR operations to add efficiency. This is far from being a new corporate decision. In fact, the Atlanta-based conglomerate first initiated this HR strategy domestically in 2001, before expanding its BPO HR drive internationally in 2009.
Goodyear Focuses on Innovation & Manufacturing While BPO Picks Up the Rest
This legendary multi-billion-dollar American company was founded in 1898 by a man named Frank Seiberling. The Akron, Ohio entrepreneur borrowed $3,500 from a brother-in-law as a down payment toward the purchase of his first factory to see what he could do with the then-new technology of vulcanized rubber.
Turns out, he found plenty of uses for the stuff.
Today, Goodyear still makes tires and related products, but what it doesn’t do is take on the day-to-day responsibility for human resources at the company’s worldwide headquarters (still in Akron). In fact, that’s been the case since at least early 2004. That was when the global company signed a ten-year contract with a BPO operation to outsource HR responsibilities. As part of the agreement, about 100 Goodyear HR employees transitioned to the third party resource, which would take over payroll, medical benefits administration, call center operations, employee recruitment and training, and staffing responsibilities.
At that time, it was estimated that the savings for Goodyear over the decade would total about $45 million. More recently, the company has made another arrangement focused on employee recruiting with a different BPO operation.
These relationships enable Goodyear to keep its focus on the innovation and manufacturing for which it’s rightfully earned its reputation.
Microsoft Uses BPO to Focus on Strategic Standardization
Where would the personal computer be without Microsoft? The operating system known as Microsoft Windows set the standard for moving computers beyond space-age businesses and into the homes and small businesses of everyday Americans.
In the process, the company founded primarily by household names Bill Gates and Paul Allen kept its focus on digital technology. In recognizing that it wasn’t a specialist in such critical internal functions as finance, accounting, and procurement services, Microsoft outsourced a range of these activities to companies that could better handle what Microsoft doesn’t do best.
The key with the BPO relationships was to get more from the deal than cost-savings (not that this wasn’t important, too). Microsoft’s ultimate goal was to create a world-class financial organization by standardizing processes globally, introducing new technologies, and strengthening compliance. At the same time, their own people would be given the ability to focus on more strategic actions.
In the client company’s view: mission accomplished.
Wells Fargo & Financial Outsourcing
This company has been a famous American brand since 1852. That’s when Wells Fargo was established to handle financial services and express delivery on behalf of those taking part in the California Gold Rush.
As America grew, so did Wells Fargo. Today, it’s one of the country’s leading financial services corporations. But it gets help even in some areas of its prime functionality. Wells Fargo trusts outside experts in such areas as payroll operations, financial trading, process engineering, and other specialties to provide outsourcing support.
Scratching the Surface of BPO Possibilities
Companies of all sizes have used the BPO strategy to increase their expertise and enhance productivity in fields as varied as legal, accounting, payroll, call center operations, IT support, and others beyond what you’ve just read.
Your primary goal is to formulate cost-effective business decisions that enable you to maintain a focus on what you do best. Trusting a solid BPO provider with the business departments and processes that fall outside of those core strengths can only be a benefit.
Make BPO a Key Strategy for Your Company, Large or Small
Is it time for your company to consider outsourcing some non-core responsibilities for added efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings? We discuss unique client needs and then formulate customized action plans that will resolve challenges, remove obstacles and add value.