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This sixth and final blog is about innovation in KPO sustaining a business’s competitive edge.

 

We have read in this series of blogs about Knowledge Process Outsourcing – KPO – being a partnership between a determined business and an enabling provider of expert resources. We understand that it’s all about what SMEs in the business – at any level – do now and how their activity could be enhanced using KPO to gain all sorts of advantages, both in the marketplace at large and for the SMEs themselves.

An acorn – the seed of an idea for progress in the mind of an employee – turns into a sapling, which is the fulfilment of that idea to a single SME task through the application of KPO. The sapling matures as a service in its own right, extending operations for sought-after benefits. And the sapling finds its expression over time as a tree of knowledge – a whole array of KPO solutions firmly rooted in the business.

Since KPO is an extension of operations, it is subject to the same inward pressures as the business itself: competition; trends; novelties; and economics. KPO helps a business get to market sooner without the need for onerous risk-taking and capital investment, and by the same token, it enables a business to react more quickly to those inward pressures and then to rebound just as fast when the time comes. KPO is also future-proofing.

The KPO provider will not be satisfied, however, that the tree will simply sustain itself: it will continue to fulfil the role of horticulturalist. Sustainable growth is yet another feature of the partnership, and the provider brings a lot to this process, too.

The continual investment in competency through dialogue and training is one important feature of KPO, making the outsourced tasks increasingly robust and capable under different conditions, not least when the scope of the requirement is forced by circumstances to change with a new focus.

In the background, the KPO provider also looks at process and will be aware of trends and tools that emerge that may increase process efficiency for the business. In the realm of data, over recent decades, we have seen real improvements in optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR), for example, that have helped increase process speeds and in some cases even process accuracy. The KPO provider will remain wary, however, of the urge to apply technology for its own sake – it simply isn’t always better than what humans can do, especially when dealing with data where decisions about capture are coupled with the application of knowledge and judgment. Sometimes, a hybrid solution of technology and human intervention is optimum.

More recently, data analytics and AI have raised the bar for what automated processes can achieve. These technologies are increasing the scope of tasks that can be achieved economically within KPO, as well as challenging the boundaries within hybrid solutions. The provider will again know what these wonderful advances can do for a client business and engage with it to help stay ahead of the game.

KPO. The seed is always there.

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