This blog is authored by Keshav Murugesh, Group Chief Executive Officer of WNS Global Services, a NYSE listed company in the Business Process Management business. He is also member of the Executive Council and Past Chair-BPM Council. Listen to him at
Rethinking the Core
When Newton propounded his Laws of Motion in the 17th century, he was referring to physical objects – how objects behave in rest or motion, how their velocity changes and how they react when an external force is applied to them. I’d like to argue that these laws of nature are visible in the world of business – businesses tend to resist change or continue in the same direction at the same pace, unless an external force compels them to change their state (first law); the momentum of change we are witnessing today has picked up to keep pace with external forces acting on them (second law); and the results (effect) we see have their origin in our actions (cause), and hence by focusing on the actions we can reach where we want to (third law).
In the past few years, my belief that these laws apply to businesses have been reinforced by the way businesses have had to adapt their business models, products and services, and the talent they acquire to external forces, or in other words, disruptions in the business environment. Only those businesses that have shed inertia, have acquired a strong momentum of change and are constantly reexamining their business plan will get the desired results.
The Business Process Management (BPM) industry is confronting change at various levels – the adoption of digital, cloud and automation technologies is pushing higher technology enablement in BPM services; companies now want their BPM partners to provide them strategic, value-add services around data analytics and domain specialization that go beyond immediate cost concerns; increased protectionism at the geo-political stage is making it critical for BPM companies to move away from the offshoring model and get into a global delivery model with the right mix of offshore, onshore and near shore delivery capabilities.
The nature of today’s BPM engagements are a demonstration of how the industry has evolved at its very core – whether it’s the business strategy, revenue model, delivery capabilities, level of technology-enablement or talent development efforts.
Businesses across industries want their BPM partners to leverage digital technologies to enhance customer service, speed up service delivery, improve efficiency and reduce costs. BPM companies are now reassessing their service maturity in terms of digital enablement. For instance, has our contact center business evolved to cover all the customer touchpoints – call, email, web and social media? How best can we integrate next-gen technologies to conduct digital transformation of our clients’ businesses?
With the shift in the nature of BPM services being offered, we have seen the industry move more towards the outcome-based revenue model from the FTE-based model. There are interesting examples of gain-sharing models that show a high level of collaboration and confidence between both the provider and the client.
At a time when the global market is unstable and the political climate is not favourable in client markets, a few BPM leaders have posted solid growth. One of the key differentiators of these leaders is their wide global footprint. They have de-risked themselves by focusing on new growth markets and offering services through a network of delivery centers around the world. They are providing their clients access to niche talents around the world, from example, F&A talent from India, European language skills from Poland and English voice service from the Philippines, besides regulatory compliance and time zone compatibility.
People have always been an extremely important asset of this industry, but now the people dimension has acquired an even higher significance. BPM companies are redrawing their talent strategies to focus on future business growth areas such as domain specialization and business analytics, and people development areas such as leadership skills. Future growth will depend on not only how we re-skill and up-skill our people to meet today’s market needs but also how we provide career growth opportunities to retain our best talent. WNS has seen some big successes in this space. As many as 90 percent of our front-line managers are home-grown. Our domain university, The Gateway, has produced thousands of domain specialists who support the growth of our domain-centric business. We are now developing a ready talent pipeline of data analysts by launching an MBA program in business analytics in collaboration with NIIT University.
The future of the BPM business depends on how we redraw our strategies to meet the changing business realities. It’s the ability to adapt to change that will separate the leaders from the laggards.