New Delhi: Despite slowdown, India’s Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30% annually and may touch $30 billion by 2015, India’s from the current level of $20 billion, according to ASSOCHAM.
The rising demand for profession-based services is expected to drive the growth in the industry in areas of research for capital and financial markets, legal works, editing jobs for international publishing houses among many others, reveals the ASSOCHAM recent paper on “Current scenario of Indian KPO Industry”.
ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat, said presently, domestic KPO industry is facing stiff competition from countries like Philippines, Russia, China, Poland and Hungary as these are emerging strong contenders for KPO business in view of qualified KPO professionals, low-cost advantages, domain expertise, location advantage, sales and marketing capabilities and data compliance.
A vast pool of highly educated professionals in engineering, medicines, management and professionals in the field of accountancy, company secretary and legal fraternity would be required to serve the industry. Number as per rough estimates should be well within the range of over 6-8 lakh against the current numbers of 3.5 Lakh.
While releasing the paper Mr. Rawat added that it is difficult for KPO companies to always find a qualified, experienced and talented workforce in India. Considering the situation that there is no dearth of engineers, doctors, MBAs, lawyers etc. in India, the KPO industry is banking on availability of this talented pool to fill up its seats, but now they are facing the supply crunch.
It is the kind of shortfall predicted between target and realistic growth that is worrying. If the industry is unable to sustain the momentum, it is quite possible that the other alternative destinations will become increasingly attractive for the clients. The nature of the KPO work makes is easier for clients to switch, adds Mr. Rawat.
Indian KPO companies can see these findings on the manpower availability coming out of the research either as a limiting factor or a challenge for their growth. The resource requirement should be seen as a challenge and addressed, added Mr. Rawat.
The potential solution is expanding into tier-2 and tier-3 cities. There is sufficient untapped potential in these smaller cities but the questions on how to leverage on these opportunities without adversely affecting organizational and logistical effectiveness- is a challenge. This approach of distributed working looks more promising for the KPO companies than traditional IT or BPO companies. Lot of work that is part of KPO can be done by individuals or small teams – remote work is also possible. The KPO work is knowledge intensive and it should be possible hence for these companies to come up with working models that can tap into the isolated resources pools available in smaller towns across India, adds the ASSOCHAM.
The second way is to partner with educational institutes to ensure that students passing out of universities have the right skill set. Both the approaches are being followed by Indian IT companies to certain extent so there is opportunity for KPO companies to learn from already existing partnerships and grow the scale to address their own requirement, reveals the paper.
The KPO sector deals with confidential data, including financial data, treasury and cash management functions and investment portfolio decisions and needs to address the issue of data security raised by international clients, said Mr. Rawat.
The Paper also predicts that KPOs has also other advantages like better work tools and processes, more sophisticated client centricity, higher billing rates and more domain focused organisations.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are likely to be the major growth drivers for the KPO sector. According to estimates, out of the 20 million SMEs in US and Europe, about 15% can benefit from KPO services due to reduced complexity, ability to compete effectively with small and large competitors, shorter time to market, higher flexibility, overall lower costs and potentially higher quality for the same costs.
In fact, in the near future, KPO is likely to be driven by factors like breadth and depth of coverage, domain expertise, location advantage (e.g., near-shoring and language capabilities), sales and marketing capabilities, data compliance with respect to regulatory standards (especially those defined by the United States, Canada and the European Union) and the management of business risks.
The KPO industry is maturing and the range of services being provided has expanded as the market has developed. From its initial beginnings in research and analytics, the definition of KPO currently includes a variety of services, such as legal process outsourcing and clinical trial management.
China is an attractive location for companies that run and manage all phases of the clinical trial process, as it offers a significant pool of potential patients in an important emerging market. Along with China, the Philippines is also becoming an increasingly important player in the KPO market. It has started to carve out a niche for itself in a number of key areas, including healthcare outsourcing (providing industry-specific services to hospitals and healthcare providers).
Sri Lanka has also focused on developing skills around specific service lines. For example, the country has a significant number of qualified accountants, capable of providing the kind of high-end complex tasks associated with service areas such as equity and credit research.
Almost any kind of research and information gathering can be outsourced to India. Popular KPO services include:
• Equity research
• Business and market research
• Intellectual property research
• Medical and legal research
• Financial research
• Research reports
• Research in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
India an ideal KPO destination as:-
• India has a large availability of post-graduates, PhDs and MBAs with experience in KPO
• India’s professionals are proficient in popular KPO software like SPSS, SAS and MS Excel. Indians are also highly proficient in English
• As of 2013, the total market size of the KPO industry in India has reached over $20 billions
• India currently caters to over 70% of the world’s KPO industry
• As of 2013, the Indian KPO sector has employed over 3,50,000 knowledge process outsourcing professionals
• India has trained KPO experts who have advanced analytical, technical and interpretation skills
• India’s favorable government policies and time zone make it an ideal outsourcing location