What is the Use of a Business Process Outsourcing?

According to Michael Porter (1989), the processes of a company are viewed as macro in its Value Chain, which is still divided in primary processes or activities and support. With the increasing concern about cost control to operate a business and specialization increasingly necessary for the proper performance of the corporate governance practices, have become common the outsourcing of business support activities on the market, such as management of resources humans, the process office, the PMO (project management office) and legal activities. From this practice emerged the movement of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which is the outsourcing of critical business processes in the use of IT. Two important segments within this methodology are the Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), which is outsourcing of generation and control of the key information necessary to the activities of a business, product or process and the resources needed to operationalize them; and the Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO), which is the delegation of legal services for low-wage overseas markets.

The possibility of holding such outsourcing is due to the following factors:

  • Difficulties in finding skilled labor in a given region or country;
  • Rising costs of supporting activities, especially of Technical Planning, Information Technology, Process Management and Legal Services;
  • Possibility of having more than one intelligence process provider, which provides greater flexibility in terms of human resources and time management.
  • Globalization;
  • Internet growth;
  • Increasing automation of support services, particularly the Legal ones;
  • Development of information security; and
  • New technological tools in the area of information.

But what are the risks that the exporting of these activities for providers, often in different countries, can generate? According to Mierau (2007), outsourcing movements such as BPO, KPO and LPO may affect key issues of the organization, such as:

Security: A company can better control access to information and protect the equipment involved when they are are in its own establishment;

Staff Quality Assurance: An organization can have low quality or massive delays in the work if it depends on a third party service provider;

Public opinion: Companies that outsource activities to providers in other countries are perceived by the public as agents of job openings to the outside, which brings a negative image for the organization;

Expectations of Shareholders: The outsourcing takes a long time to bring a favorable return. Anyone who expects rapid and drastic reductions in costs of outsourced activities can be frustrated;

Legal and Cultural Barriers: Not to know how to deal with problems, conflicts, and lower levels of business communication between partners and the company can cause inefficiencies in the process. On the other hand, the legal issues related to operating part of the business in other legal entity may also be a cause of inefficiency.

So considering these risks what is the use of a BPO?

In fact, there are several uses of a Business Process Outsourcing. Among which are highlighted by Alexander Mierau (2007) as follows:

  1. It allows a company to respond quickly to changing market needs;
  2. Provides greater focus on key business activities, reducing the treatment of everyday support activities;
  3. Reduces costs with supporting activities in the medium term;
  4. Develops negotiating and performance capacities of enterprise partnerships;
  5. Simplifies and standardizes the re-engineering and processes and activities transformation.
  6. Transfers part of the hand labor of the organization support activities for project management and outsourced relationships.

In short, this is a global trend towards intensive business support activities, especially those involving a lot of automation, many legal issues and a large contingent involved with the support of primary activities of the organization. Its replacement by a BPO points to the creation of a Outsourcing Management Office (OMO), which must oversee all outsourcing efforts in operational, tactical and strategic levels.


MIERAU, Alexander. Strategic Importance of Knowledge Process Outsourcing. In: HRO Today Magazine White Papers. Available in: http://www.hrotoday.com/pdf/white-papers/Strategic-Implications-of-KPO.pdf. Accessed in 2014/06/29.

PORTER, Michael E. Vantagem Competitiva – Criando e Sustentando um Desempenho Superior. São Paulo: Campus, 1989.

GASSENFERTH, Walter. Blog Gestão Empresarial em Gotas. Disponível em http://www.quanticaconsultoria.com/nossos-blogs/gestao-empresarial-em-gotas/

Para saber mais sobre o tema visite o site da Quântica Treinamento Empresarial em http://www.quanticaconsultoria.com

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