Business transformation deals surge in BPM companies

Work contracts for these companies are becoming more complex.
India’s business process management industry is moving up the value chain yet again, with many companies reporting an uptick in their digital technology-driven revenues as they bag more business transformation deals.

The near $32-billion industry — for long considered the back office support industry given its voice-based services focus — is now helping businesses make better decisions using data analytics, according to Rohit Kapoor, chief executive officer at EXL Services, and chair of Nasscom BPM Council.
Companies such as EXL have seen new-age technology areas such as data analytics and robotic process automation garnering nearly one-third of their total revenues.

“We are seeing the deal size has increased (along with) the value and scope of the deals,” Kapoor told ET.

Clients are asking companies to do much more comprehensive work, end-to-end business transformation, he said. “It is really domain-based process, using knowledge of the industry and data, to make an assessment or a prediction. That is something becoming much more interesting and it is mainstream,” Kapoor said.

Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), a business process management (BPM) company, said its platform-based business accounts for 10% of overall revenue and growing faster.

“HGS has seen increasing interest from clients for business transformation-led deals, especially in the healthcare and consumer verticals,” said Partha DeSarkar, global CEO at HGS, which has a healthcare sector-focused subsidiary called Colibrium. “These projects include one or more aspects of digital, robotic process automation and analytics. The work being done in these engagements is very different to traditional call centre interactions.”

Work contracts for these companies are becoming complex, according to industry analysts.

For example, a healthcare service not only means support on insurance claim settlement, but active involvement in helping doctors make better decisions or assessment using data analytics, they said.

“Transformation deals led by technology is becoming the norm for these companies as clients are becoming more competitive,” said Rajesh Gupta, India partner at IT services consultancy firm ISG.

As the BPM industry chases growth on the back of new deals, these companies are increasingly hiring domain experts across healthcare, retail and other segments.

HGS said it continues to hire domain experts, business analysts and technologists to support this emerging demand for high-end engagements.

Kapoor of EXL said 35% of the work his company does is data analytics, 17% is platform-based BPO work, and the rest is traditional BPO work. “We have 2,000 nurses (and) 3,000 data scientists,” he said.

A senior executive at another BPM company, however, said the end-to-end business transformation deals are fewer and getting the right talent is challenging.

“It is better to say use of data analytics in many areas of work than more end-to-end transformation deals. About talent, they are getting more nurses but not doctors,” said the executive, who did not want to be named.
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