Our 2018 Offshoring Predictions Revisited

It has been an eventful 2018 for us at Diversify. And it was not just for us as a company. We also saw some significant happenings within the offshoring landscape. As we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of offshoring in the Philippines, we experienced many of these events – and at times challenges – first hand.

Towards the end of 2017, we made a few offshoring predictions that we believed how the industry would be affected. We discussed our industry and how new processes – from automation to cloud computing – would play a role in the future. As the year comes to a close, we thought we would take a look back at what we predicted and how the year played out.

Stronger Industry Resilience

Prediction: The start of 2018 will once again be full of careful optimism, but offshoring – and the BPO industry as a whole – will look to carry its momentum of growth and expansion as well.

“Resilient” is indeed one of the best ways to describe the entire BPO industry. For the past few years, it has consistently adapted and overcome changes in the business landscape. Thanks to innovations, new technologies and rising competition, several new trends began to emerge in the industry in 2018. As more companies acknowledge its potential, processes like offshoring are being called “the new normal” due to its global reach.

Despite some setbacks amidst a changing geopolitical climate, the momentum of industry growth will not be slowing down anytime soon. As it stands, the global BPO market is projected to reach $262.2 billion by 2022.

A Different Conversation About Data Security

Prediction: Because of consistent major data breach cases, security is going to take center stage when considering business strategies for 2018.

Data security and handling was one of the biggest stories of 2018. Despite less breaches in the first half of 2018, security continued to be a persisting problem, not just in the tech industry.

One thing we did not anticipate was the shifting of the conversation on how data is handled. While data security will always be important, access and privacy should also be considered. One of the biggest stories of the year involved Facebook and consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, where 87 million personal accounts were compromised and used in different extents without permission. This and other incidents in 2018 were met with fierce backlash and showed the need for stricter, more rigid security protocols.

2018 was a wake-up call for people to be more careful with the personal data they shared online.

Another big story in 2018 was the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While not initially part of our offshoring predictions, its implementation had a global effect we are still feeling today.

GDPR at Glance

While GDPR was signed into law back in 2016, it was implemented just May of this year. GDPR was written with the intent to protect the privacy rights of European citizens. But as most companies that collect private information operate globally, the law forced companies to change its policies worldwide.

We’ll be first to admit that we fell a little short with our prediction that companies would prioritize data security. The Cambridge Analytica bombshell, implementation of GDPR, and a slew of other data breaches this year show that. However, we also believe these incidents brought a new level of awareness to consumers on how they should protect their personal information.

Certainly no principle is perfect in execution and despite the best intentions, data security has its own challenges. However, the extent in which action is taken affects how businesses are perceived.

Watch The Ever Growing Cloud

Prediction: Businesses will look for more value in the cloud to drive transformation.

Cloud technology continued to make big strides in 2018. It’s continued usage gave a glimpse of what the business landscape will be like in the coming years. No longer seen as a fad, the use of cloud technology will be considered a new reality for businesses that want to stay competitive. By 2020, early adoption functions will range from 90-97%, while also being in the 85% range for back office functions.

Additionally, countries like India are also aiming for one million cloud computing jobs by 2022. As companies continued to spend more on cloud services in 2018, the number of services also began to rise. In particular, “Platform as a Service” is being tapped to grow the most in 2019.

Call Centers Continue to Decline

Prediction: With more automation and hiring of virtual assistants in the coming years, the call center as we know it is in decline.

According to the 2018 Call Center Industry Report, over 750 customer service professionals admitted that they are struggling to stay at pace with current customer needs. The report cites that providers felt they were behind the curve when it came to evolving from their traditional call center setup. The need for a shift towards a more flexible model and better quality talented were cited as well.

This should come as no surprise. As we have seen in our industry, having a full call center solely focused on customer service is becoming less and less viable. With more demand for specialized roles to be undertaken, it’s imperative that businesses broaden their horizons and consider offshoring higher level roles. This helps them save on cost while also staying competitive.

All About Automation

Prediction: As offshoring prides itself as being in the forefront of trends, it must also embrace the use of automation. At the same time, it must also find the perfect balance of optimizing both its AI and human capabilities.

Based on our offshoring predictions, more companies in 2018 saw the viability of automation. In particular, they saw how it would especially affect low-skilled jobs. This sense of urgency was acknowledged by many providers in countries like the Philippines. There, government organizations urged the BPO industry had to “prepare” for wider automation usage. Countries like India also acknowledged that the Philippines is getting ahead of the automation curve.

The use of automation and genuine human interaction will always need to find a balance.

As offshoring prides itself as being in the forefront of trends, it must also embrace the use of automation. This means finding the perfect balance of optimizing both its AI and human capabilities.

What We Learned from our Offshoring Predictions

The global business environment is a rapidly changing one and it is often hard to keep up. While it is clear where some practices are heading, others are a bit more unpredictable. Some of our other predictions showed no significant changes, which may need more long term observation.

The year was certainly not without its challenges. With the issues surrounding data privacy and security, you can bet that consumers will be more careful and hesitant with what they share online. Those who also refused to evolve past traditional methods will most certainly find themselves struggling in the coming year.

Despite all we saw from our offshoring predictions, it was clear the industry as a whole had a good 2018. People will continue to do business globally and competition will be more exiting than ever. With call centers on the decline and automation on the rise, the need for more specialized talent will be more important than ever. As resilient as the BPO industry is, it has lasted this long because of the talented workforce that make it up. We believe that as more companies look towards offshoring, we will see a much more in-depth and diverse talent pool. This can only be beneficial for both companies that want to stay ahead and the talented workforce that will comprise offshore teams.

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