By John Watling, Managing Director of Accenture Operations in South Africa
The pace of technological development in the digital era is enabling organisations to do more, while employees are empowered to be productive from anywhere, anytime, using any platform or device. The digital era has created a higher level of competition as well as technological and industry disruption within the market.
For years, Business Process Services (BPS) was basically transactional and operational, “lift and shift”. Rarely was it transformational. That has changed as more top performers are breaking out of this antiquated BPS model and turning to cutting-edge technology to gain greater efficiency and value.
When a client wants to start delivering business outcomes, the first thing they look at is their business processes. Our deep expertise in business processes starts with our people, whose learning and extensive industry, technical and functional experience across hundreds of clients give us the know-how to help drive measurable business outcomes for our clients. By applying that know-how and smartly integrating intelligent technologies into our service delivery, we can transform entire processes, creating new business opportunities and dramatically enhanced services, as well as giving our clients fast access to technology and process advances without enduring expensive and disruptive upgrades.
To succeed in the digital era it has become more important than ever to drive value by focusing on both the people and technology. Combined with our relentless focus on investing in our people, we can deliver both business outcomes and have teams of experienced operators who can consult on operational delivery.
The world of process outsourcing has moved from being one of process substitution to one of value creation. Outsourcing enables a boost in efficiency, effectiveness and quality of business processes. This is achieved through leveraging subject matter experts that use best-in-class practices as well as rapidly evolving technology including cloud-based services, robotics and big data analytics.
Adopting an impactful CSI approach
Beyond the drive for business value, BPS provides an opportunity for many local companies to utilise a corporate social investment programme and contribute towards a cause or drive positive change in a particular aspect of social concern.
One of the best ways through which to bring about change in the lives of the disenfranchised is through skills development and employment opportunities. This has greater impact beyond creating jobs – it can assist in closing the local skills gap, enabling people to gain access to higher paying, more in-demand jobs that they would otherwise not be able to access.
As organisations pursue advantage from the latest technologies, many of them are experiencing a skills gap. Their investments are outpacing the labour market’s ability to provide the digital skills that’ll drive new strategies. BPS is able to help them deal with these challenges.
The process through which to bring about this kind of change is known as impact sourcing. For instance, Accenture launched a BPS internship programme in 2015 to develop young graduates and create sustainable and more impactful local jobs. Through this initiative, graduates undergo a 12 month (minimum) training opportunity as well as the opportunity to put those skills into practice on real client projects. Not only does Accenture, develop local skills and talent through this programme, but the company also increases the speed-to-market for talent.
By offering permanent placement to high performing interns, Accenture gains a talented, skilled, and dedicated team, able to adapt and change to any work environment. Some of them includes Banele Twayi, who joined Accenture in February 2015 and managed to find meaningful employment and acquire a range of new skills in the process including negotiating skills, interpersonal skills and analysis among others. Kgotso Mpho DihemoI joined Accenture late last year and sees the opportunity as invaluable because he gets to add to and improve his skillsets each and every day.
Many of the students and graduates recruited into the programme are vital breadwinners within their communities. By gaining invaluable work experience and vital life skills, they are able to affect and enrich the financial situations and future educational prospects of their families and the communities in which they live.
In conclusion, leveraging BPS can serve as a strategic value multiplier for your business by driving business outcomes in areas that include procurement, finance and accounting, digital, marketing, as well as supply chain management. This enables organisations to focus on their main business functions while leveraging a specialised service provider like Accenture to deliver these kinds of services.