Business Transformation

How to outsource business process transformation

To outsource your business process transformation effectively, you need to know the goal of your transformation, so you can find the right outsourcing partner for you.
How to outsource business process transformation

In this article


To outsource your business process transformation effectively, you need to know the goal of your transformation, so you can find the right outsourcing partner for you.

Relationships with outsourcing partners have evolved in recent years. Businesses are now forming much deeper relationships with outsourcers and less frequently engaging on a “contract to contract” basis in which the two organizations work in parallel. More often, they’re working closely together to drive long-term, collaborative business process transformation.

1. The growing scope of outsourcing in business process transformation

As outsourcing partner relationships shift, outsourcing is increasingly less a commercial change (transferal of responsibility), and more an operational one (changing how a service is actually delivered). This evolution comes from the increasing need for risk management, better scalability, consultation, and increased agility.

2. What is agile business process transformation?

Agile business process transformation is a framework that allows businesses to transform in an iterative, collaborative, and continuous way. This enables businesses to move beyond isolated business process transformations that exist in place until they’re eventually retired or upgraded. Instead, processes and frameworks form an integral part of a business’s overall—and ongoing—digital transformation strategy.

Why is this a priority? Businesses know that agility is key to staying competitive against the increasing number of new market entrants. According to a recent survey by the Harvard Business Review, in some sectors up to 65% of CEOs predict that in five to seven years their firms’ main competitors will be different from their main competitors today.

3. Outsourcing partners and agile culture

Many outsourcers will be able to help you deliver agile methodologies during the transformation itself. But the biggest gains are found by forming an ongoing relationship with an outsourcing partner that has agile practices baked into their approach. This allows you to move beyond short-term improvements at a project level and increase your overall business agility. This also streamlines your ability to mount future business process transformation.

4. Outsourcing partners, CX and business process transformation

Another key concern when working with an outsourcer is the extent to which they work with a CX-focused approach. In both the exploration and planning phases of business process transformation, working with a customer-first mindset is key. 89% of businesses compete primarily on the basis of customer experience (CX) and 73% of consumers say that CX is a factor when making purchase decisions, according to research by SmartKarrot.

When working with an outsourcing partner, guarding your CX is especially important. The best indicator that an outsourcer understands that they’re entrusted with your brand reputation is when they share this customer-first mindset.

5. How to get the most out of outsourcing partners for business process transformation

The first stage of getting the business process transformation process working with an outsourcing partner, is picking the right partner in the first place. No matter how hard you work at it, if you and your outsourcer are not a compatible match, the partnership won’t be fruitful. If you haven’t already, we’d strongly recommend reading our page on business process transformation readiness.

But once you have found a great outsourcer for your business process transformation, it’s vital that you understand the key benefits they can offer you and how to ensure you get the most out of the relationship.

Key benefits of outsourcing business process transformation:

    1. Goal delivery

    Outsourcing partners are often specialists in a particular area of service delivery. If they own their niche, you can benefit from their proven and well-oiled processes. Consequently, working with a compatible outsourcer will increase your business’s operational efficiency. And when it comes to scaling your business or launching new products, an outsourcing partner helps you increase headcount easily, which in turn accelerates transformation and reduces time to market.

    To ensure your outsourcing partner really delivers, you should also interrogate how much they have bought into your specific transformation goals (e.g. decreasing friction in your sales process or expanding into a target geography). Operational efficiency is a broad term, and some outsourcers will offer you a cookie-cutter approach to transformation. Working with an outsourcer with a bespoke approach ensures your specific goal is delivered.

    If you prioritize finding an outsourcing partner that puts an emphasis on working relationships, you will also get peace of mind that your transformation is in good hands. This frees up your teams to focus on your core business strategies, keep priorities on track, and remain agile.

      2. Auditing

      A key element of the exploration and planning phases of your business process transformation is an honest assessment of what you do well, what needs improvement, and where the most high-value transformation areas are. Working with a strategic outsourcer means you’ll get a rigorous audit, a review of your current processes, and an understanding of what needs to change which is grounded in past experience with similar projects. This ensures there’s agreement with and visibility into your current processes and your planned outcomes from day one.

      Taking this to the next level means working with an outsourcing partner that will review your process documents and training curricula and offer actionable insights from the get-go. This analysis uncovers target areas that can be streamlined to simplify your processes, highlights ways you can reduce your overall operation risk, and gives you an understanding of which transformations will have the biggest positive impact on CX.

        3. Methodology

        A major benefit of working with an outsourcer for business process transformation is that they will have a carefully defined framework or methodology to deliver your goals. This allows you to transform in a way that not only streamlines the process but is also able to meet emerging market trends or changes.

        To ensure you get the most out of your transformation, there are some core areas of competency you need to ensure your outsourcing partner excels in:

          Strategy: A clear direction is crucial for successful transformation. This is especially true if your transformation goal involves growth or expansion. This is where the importance of a bespoke approach really comes into play. When seeking out an outsourcing partner, make sure they outline a set of key milestones for the project and do so through a lens that is specific to your transformation process. Your watchword here is ‘consultative’. Is their aim to work closely with you to understand the challenges you face and how to overcome them? This approach is always better than one which simply executes projects.

          Compliance: When it comes to working with an outsourcer you need to ensure that they disrupt things in a way that always falls within compliance boundaries. To do that, interrogate how robust their approach to compliance is. Is it able to adapt to industry changes quickly and with minimal negative impact? If not, be wary. This is especially important if you operate in highly regulated sectors such as healthcare and financial services.

          Partnership: Ensure your outsourcer has an approach to transformation that is based on partnership—not simply on contractual obligation. When both businesses work toward a shared goal and have a good culture fit, you can access the next level of transformation that you won’t find in the fine print.

          Data-led optimization: Business process transformations are unique and often complex. When working with an outsourcer, you need to trust that you can get a real-time picture of what’s working well and what needs attention. To assess their ability to deliver this, interrogate the kinds of metrics they’re going to use to measure the process.

          A red flag to look out for? If they rely solely on high-level metrics (such as customer satisfaction score or net promoter scores). These metrics are extremely important, but especially when it comes to CX, they don’t always tell the full story. Reaching the next level requires an outsourcing partner that can identify which metrics matter most to your transformation process and the outcomes of it.

          Agility: Working with a good outsourcer affords you access to the people, expertise, and technologies you need to meet your goals. The outsourcing partners that provide the most value are those that see agility as a state that requires constant maintenance. This is vital at a time when customer expectations are shifting, and there’s increased competition in just about every sector imaginable.

          The best outsourcing partners will help you not only react but also preempt these shifts. They’ll use a global network of experts (across languages and cultures), a robust tech stack, and flexibility to ensure you get the agility you need to compete. Those that go a step further are the outsourcers who enable you to scale up and down when it makes business sense for both sides, not just for the service provider.

          Want to dive deeper into agile business process transformation?

          Check out our page which explores what agile business process transformation is.

          6. Partnership

          Outsourcing was typically seen as purely a cost-cutting exercise—so it’s understandable that outsourcers were picked solely on price. But in the post-pandemic market, customer expectations are higher and more prone to shifts, and markets in every sector are more volatile. To stay competitive businesses need to be strategic, data-driven, and agile. If you have a transactional relationship with your outsourcing partner provider, that’s always going to be an uphill battle.

            The key to overcoming that is effective collaboration and onboarding to ensure business goals and outsourced methodologies work together in harmony. This makes it crucial to find an outsourcer you can develop a reciprocal and consultative relationship with. The more closely your relationship resembles a partnership than a transaction, the better. That’s the key to ensuring your unique challenges are understood, preempted, planned for, and overcome.

              The most valuable form of this relationship-based outsourcing is one that is founded around a CX-first approach. At a time when customers say that experiences are as important as products or services, this is key to turning your process transformation initiatives into long-term brand loyalty.

              7. People

              A compatible outsourcing partner will help you find the right balance of technology and people that will drive customer success, and increase operational efficiency. Take business process transformation that involves outsourcing customer support, for example. According to research by CX Today, 69% of American customers still rate talking to a live agent by phone in their top three preferred methods of communication with a company’s customer service department. Businesses know this is also the most costly channel. The key to turning this cost-center into a value-center is maintaining the right CX culture.

                To explore this further, head over to our page on CX and business process transformation.

                Working with an outsourcer that has a culture of empowerment for its agents ensures you get the most value of your human touchpoints. A common reason customer service agents don’t stick around for long is a lack of purpose. Those outsourcing partners that do empower their teams as consultants or guardians of brand management are far more attractive when it comes to hiring agents too. At a time when the U.S. is still fighting against the effects of ‘The Great Resignation’ according to Bloomberg, this can be a big differentiator.

                Businesses that choose the right outsourcer can ensure they have access to a combination of the right talent and (as we explore below) the right technologies to remain competitive, without incurring the costs of recruitment, onboarding, and ongoing training.

                  8. Training

                  Getting access to top talent is only half the battle of finding the right outsourcer. You also need to ensure they have top drawer training methods. This is especially important when working in a relationship-based model of outsourcing. The closer your outsourcing partner is to your business, and the more empowered their employees are, the more you have a vested interest in ensuring that they’re training them to be experts in both your business challenges and your customers.

                    The best outsourcing partners move beyond a ‘fire-and-forget’ approach to training, in which they onboard their teams as swiftly as possible and don’t support them with ongoing development. They invest in a thorough and engaging onboarding process that involves high-impact learning programs and a transformative learning environment. And they ensure regular training updates and performance management for quality assurance.

                      As we discovered when preparing our whitepaper on employee turnover, the results of this approach speak for themselves. Effective onboarding can get agents up to speed 50% faster, and 69% of employees who receive optimum onboarding stay with their company for over three years.

                        9. Technology and data

                        Working with an outsourcer can give your business access to the tech stack it needs to make your business process transformation a success and to remain competitive and agile going forward. Moreover, your business can benefit from not having to bear the cost of maintaining, upgrading, or servicing those technologies. But it’s vital that your outsourcing partner is also able to offer you data-driven decision making and performance management.

                          Below are the key things to look out for:


                          If your business process transformation involves customer support transformation, make sure that your outsourcing partner offers robust Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies and processes. This means your call center agents will be given self-service data integrations, callback options, and predictive applications that anticipate customer behavior, lower cost per contact, and improve CX.

                            Performance management

                            If your business process transformation involves customer support transformation, make sure that your outsourcing partner offers robust Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies and processes. This means your call center agents will be given self-service data integrations, callback options, and predictive applications that anticipate customer behavior, lower cost per contact, and improve CX.

                              Artificial intelligence

                              Strategic use of AI is crucial for successful business process transformation—so make sure your outsourcer can offer this. By automating in the right areas, an outsourcing partner will be able to help you reduce costs and employee effort, as well as improve process efficiency. For example, implementing chatbots that handle lower level support queries from customers improves resolution times and frees your agents for the more complex problems which require the human touch.

                                Human vs. AI balance

                                The best outsourcing partners balance the use of technologies for business process transformation with the human touch. Be wary of outsourcers that want to automate everything. As our team has discovered, it’s a sure-fire way to lose control of your CX. The key to this balance is an approach founded on empathy for the customer—so take time to find an outsourcer who has the right balance for prolonged success.

                                  Pro tip: Read the fine print.

                                  When you work with an outsourcer, at some point there is going to be a contract. When it comes, don’t scrimp on the details. As we covered above, there are huge benefits to working with an outsourcer for business process transformation—the key is finding the right one.

                                  A thorough due diligence process will save you a lot of headaches later down the road and ensure you have access to the full range of outsourcing benefits.

                                    Outsource with confidence

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