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At first glance, desktop computing technology, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) may not seem to play a critical role in the success of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. When businesses think about technological innovation today, their thoughts usually go to areas like the cloud and AI, not PCs.

Yet for BPO companies, in particular, overhauling desktop technology by replacing physical PCs with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a powerful way to gain crucial business agility, while also lowering costs and simplifying regulatory compliance needs.

Indeed, BPO companies, which provide services like customer support and sales operations to other businesses on an outsourced basis, face a variety of challenges that VDI is uniquely positioned to solve.

Building an agile BPO business

BPO companies need to run an agile business that can respond quickly to changes in client needs and shifts in the market. When your company provides outsourced business operations to other companies, you need to be able to deploy staff quickly when one of your customers needs a new team or begins offering a new service.

After all, a core selling point of BPO is that it allows the customers of BPO companies to meet their operational needs more quickly than they could use their own in-house staff. In order to deliver on this promise, BPO providers must be able to respond particularly quickly to client needs.

Here, VDI offers a solution by making it faster and easier to deploy and scale the desktop infrastructure that BPO employees require. Businesses that depend on physical PCs can’t quickly bring new employees online to accommodate a surge in their clients’ demand. They will also find it more difficult to update the software tools they provide to their employees in order to power their clients’ operations.

Because the desktops provided by VDI run on centralized servers, creating new desktop environments through VDI solutions is as simple as pressing a button and waiting a few seconds. What’s more, the fact that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure desktops can be accessed from anywhere makes it easy for BPO companies to give their employees the PC environments and software they need to do their work at a moment’s notice, no matter where the employees are located.

Growing BPO competition and shrinking profit margins

BPO companies also face the challenge of operating in a highly competitive industry with tight margins. Thanks to the Internet, the BPO industry has globalized, meaning BPO providers face more competition than ever because they are competing with companies spread across the world. Due in part to this competition, as well as to the increasing costs of providing outsourced business services to overseas clients, BPO profit margins have steadily decreased in recent years.

What this means is that, in order to succeed as a BPO provider today, you need to control costs more tightly than ever before.

Migrating from traditional PCs to VDI is one way to slash BPO operating costs. By eliminating the need to purchase new PCs on a continuous basis, as well as to maintain all of the hard drives, keyboards, displays and so on that come with them, VDI significantly reduces the cost of physical IT infrastructure.

It also reduces management spend by making it easier to centralize desktop support operations. Instead of having to deploy IT staff across multiple locations to set up and manage PCs, BPO companies that use VDI can manage their PC environments from a central location, making it possible to achieve faster results with fewer staff.

To be sure, VDI won’t solve every financial challenge that BPO companies face today. But it will control one core part of their operational expenses by reducing their desktop infrastructure costs.

Addressing regulatory challenges

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing BPO companies is a regulatory landscape that is growing increasingly complex.

New compliance laws like the GDPR in Europe, the LGPL in Brazil, and the CCPA in the United States have imposed stricter controls over how and where the private data of consumers in these regions can be stored. What’s more, these rules are set to grow even more complicated due to the rollout in coming years of additional frameworks, like the newly ratified CPRA in the U.S.

In order to deliver reliable services to clients in these parts of the world, BPO providers must be able to guarantee compliance with the regulatory rules that their clients need to meet. A BPO company that stores data about its clients’ customers or sales leads, for instance, must ensure that it adheres to the digital privacy and security controls mandated by whichever compliance frameworks affect its clients.

VDI can significantly simplify compliance by providing BPO companies with greater flexibility over how and where they store data. Instead of having to store consumers’ contact information on local PCs, for example, they can host it on centralized servers or in the cloud, where it is easier to secure in the ways mandated by compliance frameworks. Cloud-based desktops that can be hosted anywhere in the world also offer an unparalleled ability to comply with data sovereignty components of regulatory laws, which may require data to be stored on servers in a specific country. Without VDI, offshore BPO providers would struggle to meet these requirements.

Conclusion

VDI may not be the sole solution for every challenge that BPO companies must overcome today. But by adding agility to their IT infrastructure (and, by extension, to their operations), reducing costs, and simplifying regulatory compliance, VDI offers at least a partial solution to some of the core problems hampering BPO providers. It’s one solution that can help BPO companies thrive in this increasingly competitive industry.

Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS, offers a variety of benefits for businesses of all types.

However, DaaS solutions, which replace physical PCs with virtual desktops hosted in the cloud, can be particularly beneficial for companies that specialize Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO. From simplifying regulatory compliance and security needs to cutting costs and more, DaaS helps BPO providers operate more profitably while also gaining an edge over competitors.

To prove the point, here are five reasons why BPO providers should replace their employees’ physical workstations with cloud desktops delivered via a DaaS platform

1. Reduce internal overhead

To operate profitably, BPO providers need to minimize their own overhead. Efficient operation is critical for ensuring that BPO firms can offer outsourced services at lower prices than their clients could achieve if they implemented them in-house. The more time and money BPO providers spend managing their own business processes and infrastructure, the less effectively they can deliver outsourced business services to their clients.

DaaS helps keep BPO providers’ internal processes lean and mean by eliminating the need to maintain expansive fleets of physical PCs. With DaaS, businesses never have to worry about upgrading physical hardware, replacing a failed hard drive or not having enough IT staff available to keep track of all of their PCs. When desktops are virtualized, they can manage all of their desktop environments from a central location — the cloud — and deploy or decommission desktops at a moment’s notice.

For BPO companies seeking to streamline their internal processes, then, DaaS offers a compelling solution, especially given that operating costs related to computers and maintenance and upkeep represent a significant portion of BPO overhead.

2. Offer more services

When you can roll out a new desktop environment quickly and can update desktop software centrally, it’s easier to deploy new types of outsourced services. Instead of having to install a new application on every physical PC in your fleet in order to support a new type of offering, you can update your machines centrally from the cloud. And if you need more cloud desktops to support a new service, you can deploy them instantly, instead of having to acquire and set up physical hardware.

Given that offering “a diverse range of services allows companies to gain a competitive edge in the market for business process outsourcing,” according to Grand View Research, the ability to leverage DaaS as a way to offer a large and diverse selection of services is critical for BPO companies’ competitive success.

3. Meet compliance rules

Regulatory laws that dictate how and where digital data may be stored, like the GDPR, HIPAA and CCPA, complicate the ability of BPO providers to manage consumer data (like addresses and phone numbers) for their clients. This is because regulatory requirements may mandate certain data security protections for personal data that are difficult to implement across a fleet of distributed PCs. Regulatory laws may also require that data be stored in a certain geographic region (such as the one where a BPO’s clients are based) that may be different from where the BPO company is based.

DaaS makes it easier to adhere to these compliance rules by providing BPO companies with unparalleled control and flexibility over how they store and manage their clients’ data as it flows through employee workstations. Not only does DaaS nullify security risks (and, by extension, compliance requirements) related to the physical loss or theft of desktops, but it also provides BPO companies with the option of hosting their entire desktops on servers located in a specific geographic region, even if their employees are based in another region.

For example, if a BPO provider’s client needs its customer data to reside in the United States but the BPO itself operates from call centers in India, DaaS provides the ability to host desktops on servers located in the United States, while still making them available through the cloud to employees based in India. That’s a powerful advantage from a compliance perspective, and one that BPO providers simply can’t achieve using traditional PCs.

4. Build a scalable business

To offer compelling outsourced services, BPO companies must be able to deliver those services faster than their clients could implement them themselves. They must also be able to scale services up and down quickly as their clients’ needs change.

DaaS helps BPO providers achieve these goals by making it fast and easy to roll out new desktops, as well as to scale down the size of desktop infrastructure quickly when service needs decrease. As a result, BPO companies that use DaaS can quickly bring employees online or offline in order to accommodate their clients’ needs.

To put this advantage into context, imagine a BPO contact center with a client that suddenly announces a product recall, resulting in a sharp increase in call volume. With DaaS, the BPO company can instantly deploy the desktop environments it needs to support the rise in calls. This would be much harder to do if the company relied on physical desktops that had to be purchased and set up before they could be used to handle higher volume.

5. Improve security

Security remains an “ongoing struggle” for BPO companies, according to ComputerWeekly, which also notes that a poor reputation on the security front can hamper the ability of BPO providers to land clients in places like the United States and Europe.

DaaS can’t solve every IT security challenge that BPO providers face, but it can significantly improve some aspects of security. By centralizing desktop infrastructure in the cloud, DaaS makes it easier to monitor and audit desktops for malware and other threats.

DaaS also allows BPO companies to decommission the desktops of former employees quickly. That’s an important step toward improving security given the high attrition rate in the BPO industry and the tremendous risk associated with failing to revoke former employees’ access to IT environments. With physical PCs, a BPO company would have to send support staff to the computer and remove a former employee’s accounts manually in many cases. DaaS makes it possible to revoke the employee’s access to his or her cloud desktop or even take the entire virtual desktop offline instantaneously, which is a cleaner and simpler process.

Conclusion

Success in the BPO industry requires the ability to offer a range of services, respond quickly to changing client needs and meet strict security and compliance, all while keeping operating costs in check. DaaS helps BPO providers meet all of these challenges in a way that physical PCs can’t. In turn, DaaS helps ensure BPO profitability, even in the face of the ever-growing competitiveness of the industry.