Over the past two decades, global outsourcing has grown from an operation attempted by only the largest of businesses to a worldwide phenomenon. Business process outsourcing (BPO), also called business process management (BPM), has a direct impact on the local economies of both buyers and the firms that deliver services. But perhaps the biggest impact has been felt by developing countries—connecting millions of workers to opportunities throughout the world. In the past few years, the term “Impact Sourcing” emerged in order to distinguish outsourcing practices that deliver a positive social impact within the communities they employ.
Today, India is an industry leader in BPO, employing more than three million residents. The Philippines, China, and South Africa are also popular outsourcing hubs. Throughout the world, though, business process outsourcing continues to grow, with industry experts anticipating revenues will top $200 billion in the next three years. Considering the industry’s revenues were in the $147 billion range just two years ago, this is impressive.
This growth is welcome in a worldwide economy that continues to struggle. Employment rates remain high, both in the U.S. and developing countries, with a recent report showing that one-third of workers worldwide are either unemployed or living in poverty. To promote growth, we need to find a way to create jobs to employ large numbers of workers. Impact Sourcing allows businesses to find talented teams to expand operations while also creating jobs throughout the world.
Today’s Impact Sourcing environment has evolved significantly from its earliest days. Not only are businesses outsourcing data entry and other low-end duties, but they’ve also found that Impact Sourcing Service Providers (ISSPs) are becoming more sophisticated. They’ve gained experience and training in a variety of fields and are able to handle a variety of tasks. As the industry continues to grow, however, competition is putting obstacles in place that makes it hard to be profitable. Traditional BPO firms that aren’t focused on social impact will eventually be required to work with ISSPs and new talent pools to keep costs low enough to compete with new firms.