Driven by innovation, new technologies and competition, the global business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has evolved rapidly from where it started more than 20 years ago. It was regarded as one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, supporting most businesses across the globe in one way or another.

A report titled “Business process outsourcing (BPO) worldwide” by a market research company Statista said that the global market size of outsourced services in 2017 was valued at $88.9 billion, $12 billion higher from the previous year. In addition, it said that the revenue of the global BPO industry in the same year was $24.6 billion.

“The largest share of global outsourcing revenue was generated in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2017 at $55.6 billion,” the report said. “India was among the leading countries for offshore business services in 2017 in terms of its financial attractiveness, the skills and availability of its people and the appropriateness of its business environment for business process outsourcing.”

The BPO industry is not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, according to “Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) — Global Strategic Business Report,” released last January, the global market for BPO is projected to reach $262.2 billion by 2022, driven by the cost benefits achieved by outsourcing back-office administration and the development and availability of new generation technologies, such as process automation, big data analytics, cloud services, such as BPaaS, and embedded analytics-based BPO.

“Growing competitiveness of global markets and the ensuing pressure on businesses to run efficiently and cost-effectively is providing opportunities for accelerated growth in BPO services. Banking BPO services are poised to witness the strongest gains in the coming years as a result of stringent regulatory requirements, unprecedented cost pressures and the need for banks to focus in core innovation-driven differentiation,” the report said.

Along with the promising growth of the global BPO industry is the anticipated rise of new trends, set to shape and change the industry for the better.

The most recognizable is the emergence of new technologies. According to Sandip Singh, SEO analyst at BlackMint Infocon Pvt. Ltd., growing trends in technology, such as cloud computing, Web site analytics, and social media networks, will have a big role to play in making outsourcing operations smooth and efficient.

For instance, cloud makes the process of storage increasingly organized, while allowing data retrieval and sharing to be quick and easy. In addition, by moving data to cloud, businesses can eliminate the need for unnecessary space and storage, and at the same time, reduce huge consumption of energy.

“Cloud will be the biggest facilitator to Next Gen BPO service providers in building industry-specific capabilities and solutions, doubling the outsourcing benefits,” Mr. Singh said.

Robotic process automation has emerged as a new trend in BPO, particularly in the management sector, offering high-value creation with notable cost savings and fast time-to-value.

“The outsourcing service providers can dedicate their whole time in enhancing their service quality while automated systems will take the charge of the operations,” Mr. Singh said.

Meanwhile, Outsource2india, an outsourcing company based in India, believes that data security will also be prioritized in the future of outsourcing. The recent Facebook data breach that affected 87 million users only proves that data security will continue to be a major concern.

“With Internet of Things (IoT) and telematics becoming highly prevalent, security risks are poised to increase. Therefore, threat intelligence, advanced security automation, security analytics, etc. will continue to dominate, as companies choose to stay safe and protect their businesses from external threats,” Outsource2india says on its Web site.

The firm also expects that companies in the coming years will look for service providers who add value to their business, rather than those who just provide services at lower costs. As a result, outsourcing companies will partner with service providers who offer innovative services, equipped with best infrastructure and thorough industry knowledge.

On the other hand, as the use of self-service tools and automated chat-bots become highly prevalent among many companies, the demand for call centers is expected to decrease drastically.

Outsource2india explains that as virtual agents can work on numerous clients at the same time, these automated contact centers will be able to handle higher volumes with less number of agents. Therefore, various tech-enabled contact centers replacing the traditional call centers will likely start taking place a few years down the line.

“Outsourcing trends are constantly changing and this change is expected to continue in the coming years as well. With new technological developments progressing regularly, the outsourcing industry is only going to get bigger and more efficient in the years to come. Companies will mainly focus on providing top-quality services and great customer experience, rather than merely focusing on reducing the cost of the services they offer,” Outsource2india says.