Last week, Fonolo hosted an insightful live discussion on the future of BPOs. The expert panel discussed whether reshoring is a permanent trend, the impact of AI on BPOs, and so much more. To save you some time, we’ve extracted video snippets showcasing highlights from the discussion.
Is Reshoring a Permanent Trend?
The BPO industry has always been linked very closely with the concept of offshoring, but often the temptation of low labor costs was met with lower customer satisfaction or tougher agent training costs. A recent trend has to bring jobs back “on-shore” or “near-shore.”
Has the industry learned a lesson about chasing low labor costs? Or is the current trend just part of a cycle that will eventually reverse?
How Will AI Impact BPOs?
An article in the Economist wrote recently: “Software robots are only going to become faster, cleverer and cheaper… [so] automation might mean fewer jobs, or at least less growth, in India and the Philippines, but more jobs in America and Europe.”
On the other hand, the exuberance around chatbots that we saw in 2017 and 2018 seems to have been premature. Employment data seems to show agent positions continuing to grow.
Are the fears of AI replacing human tasks overblown? Is it just a matter of time before we see the impact in the data? Or are BPOs going to simply adjust to new tasks that AI-powered businesses are going to need?
Will the Current Wave of Consolidation Crowd Out Smaller BPOs?
There has been an enormous wave of acquisitions among BPOs over the last few years. One result of this is that the industry is dominated by twin giants Teleperformance and Convergys, both of which are $5B companies. The top five control over 25% of the market, according to HFS Research.
Does this top-heavy distribution make it harder for mid-sized or smaller companies to compete? Is scale the dominate advantage in this business?
Bonus Topic: Quantum Computing
We also saw the topic of quantum computing arise during the course of the discussion. Here is what Reagan Miller had to say on the topic in relation to BPOs and the call center industry: