It's that time of year again—where line-of-business
    managers and company executives begin to lay out their business plans for the
    following year. While there has always been pressure to identify new growth
    opportunities, business plans of recent years have also targeted cost reduction
    and returning focus to core competencies. If your company sends high volumes of
    bills, statements and other critical customer communications, it is likely
    that you have already outsourced bill production and mailing (or at least
    considered it). The question for this planning cycle should be, "What new services can we engage a provider to
    perform for us in 2013?"




    One opportunity that businesses should consider for 2013 is
    outsourcing end-to-end document-intensive business processes—also known as
    document process outsourcing (DPO)—and the fastest-growing segment in each of our
    latest document outsourcing market forecasts
    . Whereas traditional document
    outsourcing engagements involve the outsourcing of a task (e.g., printing,
    scanning, mailroom management) in support of a number of business functions,
    DPO refers to the outsourcing of a document and data-intensive process,
    composed of a number of tasks, in support of a single business process or
    function.


    The characteristics of a document process are:



    • There is a specific input and a specific output.
      For example, the input might be qualified sales leads and the output might be a
      personalized set of promotional materials, which may include print and
      electronic components.

    • The process encompasses a well-defined sequence
      of activities, each adding value to the ultimate output. Following through on
      the above example, these activities may include data management, creative
      tasks, printing, web programming, email programming, distribution and
      tracking.

    • There is a well-defined recipient of the output.
      In this case, the prospective customer.

    • Most importantly, the specific business process
      can be named. To complete the example, the business process is customer
      acquisition.




    Whether it is customer acquisition and onboarding, claims,
    application, loan or invoice processing, accounts payable or another document
    process, these business functions should be considered for outsourcing in 2013.












    Figure 1: Organizations Likely to
    Change Business Process Workflow within 12-24 Months

    Click here to enlarge image»


    InfoTrends recently surveyed over 500 outsourcing decision
    makers at large companies in the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK
    for a soon-to-be-released study, entitled "Service Expansion Opportunities for Document
    Outsourcing
    ." For the organizations we surveyed, the top two business
    process challenges across all countries were cost reduction and increasing
    operational flexibility/agility
    . When we asked about the likelihood of
    companies changing their business process workflows and technology in the next
    12 to 24 months, we found that 47% of respondents in North America and 53% in Western
    Europe planned to do so. Figure 1 highlights variation among particular
    business processes that respondents were familiar with.


    While cost reduction was the top business process concern
    for the first three processes across both regions, the top concern for claims
    processing was customer satisfaction in Western Europe and resolving errors and
    missing info in North America.


    While this is a small sample of the findings from our study, it is clear that many large organizations are
    considering business process change in 2013 and beyond. The question for you
    and your organization is, "Should that change be to outsource these processes?" If
    so, you will be gaining access to business process experts and setting your
    organization up for long-term, bottom-line cost savings. As you continue to
    build your plan for 2013, reach out to your current outsourcing provider(s) and
    ask them to outline new ways in which they can support your organization—you
    might be surprised by the breadth of services that your traditional print and
    mail providers are embracing today.




    MATT SWAIN is
    associate director of document outsourcing for InfoTrends, the leading worldwide market research and
    strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions
    industries.