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BPO: Mantras to help you grow faster
IIM Bangalore
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August 02, 2006

Since the time when BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing organisations) first set up shop in India, those who aspire to join a BPO or are already working in BPO have asked the same questions.

What is the scope for growth in this industry? What skills am I developing while working with a BPO? Will BPOs go bust?

Kaushik Bhaumik is the vice president, Cognizant Technology Solutions, an IT services company. He is also the head of the company's business technology consulting and BPO practice. 

Bhaumik, while shedding light on the future of the BPO industry, emphasises that India is one of the chief outsourcing hubs of the world. However, there is an inadequacy of 'employable talent'. This could prove to be long-term challenge confronting India. In other words, working executives must equip themselves with the necessary skills if India is to stay ahead.

He offers some good advice for BPO aspirants as well as those who are already working in the industry:

What is the scope for growth in the outsourcing industry for young working executives?

The demand for outsourcing (IT and BPO) is expected to continue to be very strong. The real challenge is whether the supply will keep up with the demand as the quality of professionals is important.

In the long run, the BPO sector is expected to grow faster than IT Services because of the largeness of opportunity and the fact that it's early days yet for the Indian BPO industry to tap into this opportunity.

What are the skills they must equip themselves with to succeed?

Industry or domain knowledge will be the key differentiator. Service quality is very important for operations and, as such, additional skills on the quality side, like six sigma and lean manufacturing, will be an added advantage.

What are the new outsourcing industries on the horizon?

Some of the newer segments to take to outsourcing strategically are legal outsourcing and outsourcing of a number of life sciences and medicine-related areas such as clinical data management, pharmacovigilance, etc.

Mantras to help you grow faster...

The most important skill is people management. Everyone in the team may not have the same skill set and hence managing diversity in all forms -- cultural, technical, behavioural -- is important.

Delivering quality output using the available resources is also very important and so are industry knowledge and good communication and presentation skills.

What are the soft skills that IT professionals MUST equip themselves with to perform well?

As in most services industry, client-centricity is most important. Unless companies ask themselves one question every time, "Is it in the best interest of the customer?" they are not going to be successful in the long-term.

Likewise, as the IT industry is all about people and working in teams, people management skills and team work are very important. Companies like Cognizant facilitate continuous inputs in these areas to make people well rounded and successful.

Forum for Industrial Interaction is a student-run body of IIM Bangalore.

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