Outsourcing buyers are looking to gain access to some of the advantages of outsourcing in a more accentuated and formalized format: through the contract.
Some of the trends we are seeing are:
- Agility, and the need for speed and flexibility: Injecting targets for fast up and downscaling of operations, for flexibly reallocating staff to other client tasks or other clients.
- Security: Since WfH is no longer an option but it’s imposed in many cases, there are stricter data security, data protection, and other security-related measures pre-agreed and documented.
- Liabilities: Nobody likes liabilities, and we see attempts to not only outsource business processes but to also outsource risk as much as possible.
- WfH baked in: WfH and WfO are now properly documented in contracts. Home equipment setup, cost of internet connections, acceptable ratios between Home and Office work, speed, and flexibility of shifting the emphasis between both models are some of the elements that make it into contracts.
- Automation targets: Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Sentiment Analysis, Natural Language Processing. We all know the buzzwords. These technologies are now so real that they are finding their way into BPO contracts, through Systems Integration and Software Development contract additions, sometimes even with agreed automation percentage targets. Why? Obviously cost savings and efficiency gains, but also increased elasticity and Customer Satisfaction.
- Business continuity through location agility: As a risk mitigation strategy, the ability to dynamically load-balance work between multiple locations, countries, even continents, is becoming part of the logical structure of contracts. Of course, language and other skills permitting.
Overall, it’s interesting to see how contracting has been intensely touched by our new realities.
What is key in all this is to always approach contract negotiations as “Deal makers, not deal breakers.” Keep it honest and balanced. Exercise something I like to call legal empathy.
After all, balance is the foundation of solid, long-term outsourcing partnerships — and that’s exactly how we’ve set up Conectys’ approach for 16 years as of this past August 18th.