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Why outsource at all?
Outsourcing, or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), refers to the common practice of a company hiring an outside party to take care of standard business processes. Businesses may not have an internal department with a certain expertise, so they can choose to delegate these tasks to specialized vendors. In other cases, a business may be able to find cheaper alternatives to having their own workforce complete repetitive, time-intensive tasks. Regardless of why a business would pursue a BPO solution, there are some great potential upsides.
Tap into industry experts or existing workforce
You can have access to people who dedicate their entire business focus toward solving your problem at hand. Onboarding your own talent and building really great teams takes a lot of time and resources. Why not leverage the work another business has done if they’re making that readily available to you? They’ll offer solutions and consultations that could prove very beneficial and let your team get back to doing what they do best.
Free to get back to your real work
By leaving the specialized tasks to the specialists, you can get back to your own specialty. Whether it’s making more sales, caring for patients, or providing consultations in your own field, you have time on your hands and energy to spare.
This is an ideal upside from outsourcing that can occur given the right circumstances. If you choose a reliable agency or business to take on certain tasks, then you can have ease of mind that those are taken care of. Additionally, you may be more inclined to take certain risks you weren’t equipped to handle on your own.
The limitations and downsides of outsourcing
Though there are reasons why a company would consider BPO options to take care of some of their specialized or repetitive tasks, many have found that the ideal benefits are sometimes difficult to attain or still require a lot of work. Some companies that have struggled to find the right BPO may see the benefits of outsourcing as either idealistic or aspirational at best. When the sailing isn’t so smooth with an outsourced vendor, you sometimes end up right where you began as you spend unnecessary amounts of time and resources managing the relationship with a vendor that is inefficient or not a great fit.
Every business wants to be free of mundane data entry, and to have reliable vendors and a highly-skilled workforce at their disposal. As with many good things, there can be risk and cost associated with pursuing them.
Not all Business Process Outsourcing solutions are reliable
When companies find themselves needing to outsource labor, they go into the market excited to find a reliable outsourcing partner that suits their needs perfectly. The excitement fades quickly when the time you took to plan out the relationship between the company and vendor, create a plan of execution, and make an analysis of multiple options is wasted because a vendor ended up not being a good fit. Repeating this cycle can be a huge waste of valuable time and resources.
Data exposure and security breaches
Reliability and trust go hand in hand. When outsourcing data entry, your data is in the hands of many people and in front of many eyes. If you have sensitive information (e.g., medical forms, client intake forms), you want to be protective for the sake of your company and for your customers.
Overdependence on BPO companies
If you are relying on outsourcing for many of your business processes, the danger of overdependence on these services may increase the risk of hampering your ability to invest in your own company’s infrastructure.
Reduction in quality control or flexibility
By being dependent on outside companies to do your company’s work, you may lose a certain level of quality control over the work being done. There’s no guarantee that the outside company has the same standards and values that your company holds. If you outsource optical character recognition (OCR) services, you’ll sometimes receive your OCR results errors included because you won’t have the freedom to validate results before receiving them. That means a continual back and forth is required to validate data, correct mistakes, and reset your efforts. The loss of managerial and operational control can make this process as tedious and resource-consuming as it sounds. Regardless of what motivates outside service suppliers’ business goals, you have to protect the quality of work done by your company.
The lack of flexibility throughout the process of OCR or data entry forces you to sit and wait for results before being able to act. An ideal solution is one that allows you to make intentional, incremental adjustments along the way.
Bringing it back home: Implementing your own AI
Fortunately, there are some emerging technologies that hand power back to you so you don’t have to seek BPO solutions. In previous iterations of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), a user would need a background in coding or data science to really harness the power of these technologies in a useful way.
With emerging technology like automatic machine learning (AutoML), you can adopt optical character recognition technology into your company and have full control over it. This is a far cry from traditional OCR technology that can be limiting and not customizable. If OCR is the “eyes” of the operation, AutoML is the brain that keeps learning and applying new lessons so you can introduce flexibility into the equation. By no longer going back and forth with an OCR service provider, you can stay in the loop and make corrections in real time with minimal effort on your part. You’re the one who knows exactly what your business goals are, so you’re the best person to occupy the driver’s seat in implementing automation across your organization.
Impira offers a complete suite of tools that does the heavy lifting so you can have full control and transparency of your automation process from end to end.
You get power and flexibility
Many companies rely on outside vendors to implement machine learning and other automation solutions. With Impira AutoML, you “train” the machine learning models to do your bidding through a few simple interactions. Once you upload all your files, you can “teach” Impira on just one of them by pointing and clicking on things you want to extract out of that fine (e.g., customer name, invoice number, date, etc.). Impira learns and will then apply that learning across the rest of your documents.
With powerful tools like AutoML, you no longer need to build an internal data science team in order to achieve automation at your company. You can use the existing workforce you already have in place and won’t need to reach out to outside service providers.
You can also change your data extraction game plan on the fly instead of having to stop to redirect your outsourcing partners. Impira gives you the ability to upload multiple file formats and retrain machine learning models with complete ease, so your teams can make incremental changes and adjustments to your projects as you go. This eliminates the need to restart a brand new project with an outsourced vendor with each change.
Free yourself to get back to your real work
Because you’re in the driver’s seat, you can be the one to free yourself up to take back your time and go do the thing you were hired to do in the first place. Whether you’re providing consultation, making sales, or caring for patients, you’re giving yourself the space to your best work.
Independence, not overdependence
Instead of growing your company through “borrowed” work from outsourcing, you can use technologies like Impira AutoML to be independent. Impira’s inherent ability to be flexible and customizable to nearly any workflow allows it to be useful at any scale. As you grow, adapt, or pivot, Impira is there right alongside you.
Complete control over quality
By moving normally outsourced labor back in-house (but still leaving the manual data entry behind), you get full control over quality. You can maintain company standards for quality and consistency instead of relying on an entirely separate company to uphold them for you. Policing the quality of groups outside your organization is a tricky and exhausting task.
Outsourcing can be a really great tool when you don’t have the expertise or time to get a core business process accomplished, but many BPOs can be far from a perfect solution. If you want to streamline your company and reduce the amount of unnecessary moving parts that require constant attention, maintenance, and cyclical communication, bring your core business processes back in-house and manage them through AI and automated machine learning tools purpose-built for exactly that. Impira combines multiple technologies into a simple interface that is as intuitive and powerful as it is easy to use.