As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads rapidly across the globe, and social distancing creates a shift in the way business process outsource (BPO) services are delivered, this is the time to rethink service delivery engagement models.
Businesses and communities are facing both economic and humanitarian impacts that test infrastructure, resources, and economics. In this new world, third-party service delivery providers and BPOs are dealing with three immediate imperatives:
- Looking after the health and safety of personnel
- Restoring service delivery as quickly as possible
- Maintaining service levels in service delivery to customers
By now, you’ve notified your customers that you’re implementing business continuity and recovery plans (BCP) in light of COVID-19 and have requested written authorization for remote work arrangements.
Customers are also having discussions with service providers about how to manage the sensitivity and security of their information in remote work environments. With a global service delivery approach and performance requirements for each of your customers, a widespread work-at-home model at this scale has never been tested by BPOs.
Confronting new BPO challenges
Can this be the defining moment BPOs leverage to move from an on-premise delivery model to a work-at-home model? Can a remote work model be used to enhance business revenue while allowing you to quickly flex capacity? And how comfortable would your employees and customers be working in this model?
COVID-19 has both immediate and long-lasting implications for how people work and participate in society. Some of the urgent challenges your business faces in migrating to a large-scale remote work environment are:
- Network — How do you set up virtual private network (VPN)/Citrix/virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions at the homes of your workforce?
- Bandwidth — What’s the last-mile bandwidth infrastructure and availability in each of the local neighborhoods where your employees reside?
- Workforce management — How do you track training, productivity, and security of your workforce and develop strategies and tactics related to planning for growth?
3 steps to support the BPO workforce
What can you do to assure your customer base that service delivery operations will continue with the necessary quality, productivity, security, and compliance aspects in place? Taking three important steps will help convey that message:
1. Analyze and identify
Assess your current technology capabilities and determine how they can be scaled to support a work-at-home model. This entails evaluating and enabling your network for secure connectivity to employees’ homes, accelerating device tracking and deployment, and leveraging and installing virtual environments to support a secure remote work setting.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) simplifies bulk setup and virtual private network (VPN) infrastructure implementation — and provides up to a 90% reduction in setup and testing time, with no errors. Software robots, or bots, can be written in a matter of hours to support automated reading of network documentation and/or directory services, automated network provisioning, automated updating of corporate directories, and automated assembling and sending emails with credentials and instructions.
This gives your network administrators time to handle the inevitable surge in support requests that come with this type of deployment.
2. Distribute connectivity
As social distancing becomes the norm, building distributed connectivity throughout your organization will become a permanent factor to support large-scale remote working environments — and to seamlessly integrate customers, partners, and service delivery providers.
An attended bot can run remotely and triggered remotely on any machine, allowing the bot access to the entire team. Agents can control these attended bots from the application they’re most comfortable with, such as Microsoft Office or Google Sheets. This enables human-in-the-loop interaction with attended and unattended bots working iteratively with users to enable a true team-based remote work environment.
3. Investigate opportunities for improvement
Actively explore how you can help your employees remain as productive as possible in work-at-home situations. Just as important, identify tools that will help with accuracy, efficiency, and capacity in a secure and scalable environment.
Table stakes for work-at-home RPA is a web-native infrastructure. Successful implementation of software bots can provide up to a 60% expansion of capacity and drive error rates to zero while improving worker efficiency.
The time to act is now
This crisis will help further speed the pace of innovation. Leaders and visionaries will get out of their comfort zones and challenge traditional norms but inevitably move forward. Are you reimagining your BPO business?