optiBPO’s CEO Jamie McBrien shares his insights on the growing BPO industry and how various Australian companies have expanded their operations by partnering with optiBPO. The company offers excellent services ranging from transparent and straightforward pricing to onshore consulting support.
Wayne Bucklar: Our guest today is Jamie McBrien. Jamie joins us from optiBPO where he’s a Director in that business. Jamie, welcome to the program.
Jamie McBrien: Thank you Wayne. Thanks for having me again.
Wayne: How does optiBPO help companies review their BPO opportunities?
Jamie: Wayne, a lot of people see the really easy opportunity of the like-for-like moving to a low-cost jurisdiction. I think we need to think a little bit more than that. For us, there’s three main strategies. Strategy number one is the ‘Like-For-Like.’ Taking a role that is onshore, and moving it offshore to take advantage of a lower cost base. I think this strategy is fairly straightforward, and most of us can understand and see those opportunities fairly easily. That being said, I think people underestimate how much to that like-for-like we can do offshore, as it’s no longer just low-level procedural, and activities are moving up the value chain. A second strategy is transforming the way that we can do things. By having a look at our processes, thinking about how do we do things, there may be the opportunity to shift parts of a role offshore, such that the onshore resource can focus more on why they are there. Some easy candidates for that are around sales, pushing them on sales support, HR, you have your front end HR management to your back end administration. Really, the opportunities are limitless in changing the way you operate, to create success. The third area for me is ‘enhanced services.’ It’s doing new things that you would otherwise not do, and that may not stack up in your home country but do stack up when you look at the cost of delivering something similar offshore. There’s a range of opportunities, such as research, documentation, additional customer follow up. I think the important summary it that it is critical to take a step back at the beginning as part of your planning. Getting a plan in place for the first 12 to 18 months and beyond, I think is fairly critical to make sure you make the most of the opportunity that’s there.
Wayne: Can you explain phasing for offshoring?
Jamie: Wayne, it’s really important. Logically, it doesn’t make sense to throw a whole lot of activity over the fence on Day 1. I think it’s critical that when you think through that plan to start small, get confidence and grow from there. You’re going to have people in your organization that will point out the risks, and that might not see this is a good idea. It’s important particularly in that initial phase to get comfort, get it right, prove the concept and from there, you can build. So in those initial phases, we want to pick activities, we want to pick functions that we know that can be readily transferable, that we know the risk of service disruption is low and that we can manage through. So, get that initial phasing right and then we can move on to other activities.
Wayne: How long does phasing for offshoring take?
Jamie: I think when we look at each function, you’re looking at least 2 to 3 months to set it up, and then embed it in. So there’s going to be a whole lot of knowledge transfer up front if we’re moving activity from onshore to offshore. We’re going to have to make sure there’s a range of collateral in place such as processes, and procedures and training documentation. We’ll then have to work through the knowledge transfer process, and then there might be parallel processing between the offshore and onshore location. I think it’s important to ensure we understand what those steps are upfront. There’s no point going through that initial phase then go “What are we doing next?” Let’s get that plan down for the next 12 months or 18 months, and then let’s work towards that objective, with checkpoints along the way.
Wayne: What are the prerequisites for a successful outsourcing?
Jamie: Some of the prerequisites are actually just prerequisites for having a good business. But all of us I know urgent versus important, urgent often wins out. Things like really well-defined processes, having standard operating procedures documented, having training guides in place, these sort of things organizations may have missing, particularly if they are growing fast. I don’t think you should feel too bad if you’re saying to yourself, ‘Oh, I don’t have those things in place.’ One of the critical roles we playing is helping clients to get those basic constructs and frameworks in place rapidly, defining those processes and building those procedures. Important to make sure that our systems are ready, and that we have thought through the change. Key questions to ask yourself – ‘How are we going to transfer the activity? How are we going to train the team?’ And making sure we’ve thought all of this in advance. As I said, it’s better to take a little bit longer to get that planning right and to jump in head first and then potentially sink rather than swim.
Wayne: How does optiBPO’s affiliate company optidocs help Australian firms with their procedural documentation to successfully offshore operations?
Jamie: We have a product Wayne called ‘optidocs‘ and what it does is that help organizations rapidly and cost-effectively, build standard operating procedures and work instructions. We use software to capture workflows and screenshots, and our offshore documentation team help’s build work instructions, narrate them and pull those screen shots in as a guide for the new teams that come on board. It’s just really a rapid, and cost effective way to get to a quality outcome. We all know that leaving someone to build a procedure will either take a long time, or the quality won’t be that good. optidocs addresses that gap.
Wayne: And that’s called ‘optidocs’ Jamie.
Jamie: Yes, optidocs Wayne. The website for this service is www.opti-docs.com.
Wayne: Does optiBPO help outsourcing companies with knowledge transfer and training?
Jamie: Yes. And that’s one of the things that us as an advisory firm, we make sure that our clients are fully ready, to ensure their offshore success. For us, there’s a range of different approaches, but we often find getting the team on or getting them started with those procedures, getting them started with the learning management systems, getting them started with online training videos to get them off to a bit of a start, get them working on some activities, and then let’s think about other methods to actually help build that team. Those other methods can include day-to-day, one-on-one checking in and mentoring, but it can also include coming up to the Philippines in person training with your teams and/or the opposite, bringing those teams to Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, or the U.S. where our clients reside. Getting them in country for a period of time to actually sit down, understand your business and go from there does help a lot. Once you’ve build an initial team, what you hope to build though is some capability within your own team, that you’ve got some leadership and maybe resources 3 to 4 or 5, need a more intensive training process but we hope for 6, 7 and 8 that there’s people within the offshore tend that you build that can take on that training task. I think that’s the aim, you want to get to a point where your offshore team becomes self-sufficient. It doesn’t need as intensive hand-holding, and the knowledge transfer actually happens within the offshore team itself.
Wayne: What are the possible issues outsourcing companies encounter with the “Go Live Date“?
Jamie: Well one of the hard things is that unfortunately human beings and HR and recruiting is not a perfect science.There’s a bit of art to it, a bit of science, a bit of luck, overlaid with our experience of course. One of the hard things is that you want to start with a team of 5, or 6, or 7 or 8, they’re not going to perfectly line up, they’re not going to all show up on the exact same date that you want them to be there. They’re going to be coming from other roles, they might be in between roles. So it’s managing through that process where there can be people coming in at different times and thinking about “We’re building the team, how do we keep it busy? How do we keep people engaged early on?” No one wants to start on Day 1 and have nothing to do. How do we get their team up and running in the best manner possible? So it is a need to be a little bit flexible in the approach that hopefully have a good strong plan, but with a willingness and ability to overlay some flexibility.
Wayne: How do people get in touch with optiBPO?
Wayne: Thanks for your time today Jamie.
Jamie: Thank you Wayne.