If you’re exploring the best country to outsource a specific or multiple business processes, you’re not alone: roughly 300,000 positions in the United States are outsourced internationally every year.
Finding the right outsourcing company can be a complicated process, particularly when you have options spread over two dozen time zones and languages.
Your outsourcing destination is the foundation for your future working relationship, and can play a significant role in determining your future communications and quality of work.
The following article explores the international business process outsourcing (BPO) landscape, and which country may be the best fit for your BPO needs.
The Top BPO Countries
There are numerous competitive options around the world for outsourcing any business function. The list of the top BPO destinations includes:
What Makes India No.1?
India takes the throne as the top outsourcing destination for thousands of companies.
With over 25 years of outsourcing experience, India has also experienced a seismic shift in its demographic make up – hundreds of millions of Indians entered the country’s middle class, and another 500 million are anticipated to join their fellow countrymen and women within a decade.
The potential for upward mobility in social class is closely tied to the ability to earn comparatively high-paying work on the Internet for millions of Indian citizens.
As such, the entire Indian global outsourcing industry has evolved to embrace a high-level of professionalism to compete for overseas dollars. For example, India currently holds 65% of all outsourced IT jobs.
It’s worth noting that there are individual virtual assistants and BPO agencies gems in countries not listed in the above
Similarly, picking a top-ranked country doesn’t guarantee you’ll be working with a stellar BPO; be sure to do your due diligence on how that individual BPO has performed in the past.
Get Clear on What You Need
To zero in on the best country for your outsourcing needs, we recommend getting laser-focused on what you need based on the following criteria:
Do you need to communicate with your outsourcing team frequently? Or is an average 12-hour lag in communication acceptable?
Time zones are often a deal-breaker for companies seeking to outsource to the most cost-effective countries.
India’s India Standard Time, for example, poses a 10.5-hour difference for enterprises running on EST, and 13.5 for those in PST. Mexico, Venezuela, and other appealing Latin and South American outsourcing destinations, however, are only one to two hours away in time zone from EST and PST.
If you don’t need immediate communication or responses with your BPO team, you can lean into the advantage of having a virtual office or employing a remote agency around the world.
Having BPO providers in different time zones allows your business processes to theoretically function 24/7/365. For example, call center outsourcing is particularly useful if you need around the clock support for a product or service.
Software can also help minimize the impact of time zones.
With the proper project time management software in place, you only need to keep your international employees accountable to the data, and not a manager in-real time.
Communication is absolutely essential when it comes to outsourcing entire business processes to international talent.
Language proficiency usually varies per individual BPO provider rather than geographic lines, but some populations tend to be more likely to speak languages such as English.
English is essentially a second-language in countries such as India and the Philippines. India, for example, has a literacy rate of 77.7% and a worldwide ranking of 35 out of 100 for English proficiency.
As such, there are hundreds of thousands of workers with some level of proficiency in English working as virtual assistants and in call center services. It’s no surprise that the Philippines is home to many of the top call center outsourcing companies.
Companies with bilingual individuals in management positions may also benefit from clearer and better communication.
For example, the city of Miami, Florida contains hundreds of companies that work with BPO providers in Latin America and solely communicate in Spanish. Similarly, companies with fluent Russian speakers are able to build easier and more effective working relationships with BPO service providers in countries like Ukraine.
Countries tend to excel in different BPO skill sets. Understanding the economic, societal, and education history of a country can help point to a region’s outsourcing specializations.
Eastern Europe, for example, is well-known as a one of the top locations for tech talent, and not just for outsourcing.
Countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania even have technical bootcamps to groom ambitious tech-savvy individuals for full-time high-paying roles in Western Europe and the United States. Most Eastern European countries were also part of the Soviet Bloc, which placed a high country-sponsored emphasis on STEM education.
If you’re researching the best country for outsourcing, cost is likely one of your primary criteria. 59% of businesses that outsource some business function primarily do so to cut costs, but it’s not as straightforward as simply finding the cheapest option available.
While lower costs may be more appealing, it’s worth having a clear understanding of the skill function necessary for the business process you’re looking to outsource.
Data entry, for example, is a lower ticket item that doesn’t require an extraordinary amount of education. With a good set of BPO processes, you can likely find someone for your data entry needs for anywhere between $4-$15.
Programming, writing, and the more high-touch types of business processes, however, will naturally require a greater skillset and will cost more, and looking for the cheapest price may end up being a costly mistake in the long-run.
There isn’t a single definitive cookie-cut answer for which country is the best for outsourcing for every company – it comes down to what your organization’s unique needs are.
Even if you choose the best BPO in the right country for your organization, complete optimization is nearly impossible without the proper systems in place to manage your BPO team.
In particular, project time management software is a critical part of keeping your new partner accountable.
Insightful, for example, can be used to track time, attendance, productivity, and individual project performance for anyone, anywhere in the world.
There’s no doubt international BPO gives companies the ability to arbitrage wages and time zones to explore a much greater pool of talented individuals.
As we’ve seen, getting the most out of your outsourcing efforts starts with getting clear on your exact needs. And this all starts with choosing the best BPO country to meet them.