How Remote Work and BYOD Level the Playing Field for Mid-Market BPOs


Work-at-home and BYOD (bring your own device) have given mid-market business process outsourcing (BPO) providers a golden opportunity to compete against giant multinationals.

Following the rapid adoption of remote work, companies that straddle the market between smaller boutique firms and billion-dollar giants now have the chance to drastically reduce their overheads and focus on matching the quality of service, the scalability, and the price of the industry’s most significant competitors.

Some companies still view work-at-home as a stopgap or a means to ensure business continuity, at least while COVID-19 restrictions still apply. Despite this, many organizations report that customers are pushing for more remote work capability, as there are several competitive advantages to maintaining work-at-home operations for providers and clients alike.

We spoke to a few of ThinScale’s mid-market clients to learn more about these advantages and how work-at-home and BYOD improve their competitiveness in the industry by reducing or outright eliminating two of the four largest expenses for BPO operation – those being facilities and equipment.

Financial Impacts

Companies that adopt work-at-home and BYOD can either marginalize or eliminate some of the most cost-prohibitive aspects of outsourcing, such as capital assets, building maintenance, utility infrastructure, and transportation.

“We’ve had the freedom to scale back on brick-and-mortar locations and invest more into technology, enabling us to match the security and service standards found at the biggest global BPOs,” said the Chief Operations Officer of a mid-sized BPO operating in the APAC region. “As a result, we’ve committed 70% of our workforce to work-at-home or hybrid.”

Since adopting work-at-home and BYOD, This BPO no longer needs to commit funds to distribution or primary asset acquisition. By omitting these costs, the company has the flexibility to quickly scale its remote environment and provide customers with the same quality of service as their larger competitors.

Talent Scalability

One of the key attractions to work-at-home service delivery is recruiting and providing an agile workforce capable of delivering the same level of service, or better, as they could in-center.

Nathanael Robbins, Vice President of Virtual Domestic Operations at ERC, spoke to this point:
“Our remote teams with their own devices have allowed us to hire in completely new geographies, giving us the opportunity to compete everywhere on the planet without outside capital investment.”

Further, the previously mentioned mid-sized BPO has found, mid-market companies can increase their geographic recruitment capabilities with work-at-home, enabling them to scale incredibly fast and find talent almost anywhere.

Scaling is also a lot faster when you add BYOD to the strategy. By leveraging the equipment already owned by your employees, you not only reduce the costs associated with company-owned equipment, but it’s also possible to massively improve onboarding times, especially when deploying lightweight, cloud-based technologies.

“Our company has long been 100% work-at-home, and we’ve found that BYOD is the only scalable, cost-effective route to device distribution,” said Steve Mosser, Group CEO & Chief Innovations Officer at Sensée.

Furthermore, BPO is a people-centric industry that thrives on excellent employee experience, so keeping employees happy is a top priority. Harvard Business School found 81% of work-at-home employees don’t want to return to the office once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, this rate is even higher in a survey done by 5th talent – stating that 98% of employees want to continue working at home or work within a hybrid environment. BPOs should also consider the impact of employee motivation and productivity if they end their work-at-home capabilities. Speaking with many leading BPOs, 80% of employees want to remain working from home at least some of the time.

The Bottom Line

In closing, work-at-home service delivery combined with BYOD creates enormous opportunities for mid-market BPO players, giving them the capabilities to stand up to their largest competitors. Aside from being a solid business continuity initiative, a remote workforce with minimal costs should be viewed as a viable, sustainable business model that will elevate mid-market players to greater heights.

Employees, facilities, equipment, and technology represent the four highest costs for BPOs. By adopting or maintaining a work-at-home, BYOD operating model, smaller BPOs can drastically reduce these expenses and focus on providing an equal level of service and scalability as their larger counterparts.

Strategically, the remote BYOD model allows mid-market players to maintain a level of competitiveness and service that they can’t achieve as quickly in a brick-and-mortar setting, so it’s crucial to think twice before returning to expensive facilities even when there is pressure from the buy-side.

Keith O’Looney,
Head of New Business,
ThinScale Technology.

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