The Enigma of AI-backed BPS

Feb 25,2019 by Shashvat Vats
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The never-ending loopof customers and business has taught us one thing: there are millions of waysusing which we can reach the elite tier in any sector if we are willing to adapt.Business process outsourcing, the industry that once was dependent on callcenters is now a contradistinctive sector. With Artificial Intelligence nowfusing into business process services, the blueprint of the business industry hasbeen given a systemic makeover/redesigned.

Customers hold the whip of a businesses’ success and no organization is ready to slip the slightest profit-making chance to its rivals, owing to technological disruptions that are remodeling everything from top to bottom. Therefore, every BPS company today looks to integrate its operations with the latest technologies like AI and RPA to ensure high performance, flexibility, seamless operations, and an encouraging ROI.

Keeping this inconsideration, we are going to discuss the ambiguities and obscurities thatswirl around the amalgamation of AI and BPS as a whole.

The Push & Pull of AI-backed BPS ( Business Process Services )

The machines haveascended and the conundrum of whether AI will be a helping hand or anantagonist with respect to the BPS industry is keeping a lot of industryexperts awake. What’re your thoughts? Do you think that the rise of AI willactually weed out supplant the entire BPS sector?

Currently, AI-basedbots have created the maximum hue and cry in the outsourcing sector. These botsfollow the pre-set programs that make them efficient enough to read humanqueries, interpret them, and present a suitable response. What’s intriguingabout these bots? Chatbots are swift in replying to customers’ queries, andthat lifts your brand image splendidly. A live chat agent could get tiredhandling a streak of queries and complaints but a chatbot can do that 24*7without any friction. Also, AI helps the chatbots to manage multiple queries atthe same time without the minutest chance of error.

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A lot of web-basedbusinesses contribute a lot of their time and efforts handling the subtlequeries and tasks (like transactions, order requests, etc) that bring theirefficiency down. With the help of chatbots, organizations are now looking toaccomplish precision with high performance. It is a testament to theunavoidable applicability of chatbots that the biggest brands have alreadyimplemented them.

In addition to this,AI is also boosting business process services like data mining, extraction, andmanagement. With humungous data flow now happening in every web-based business,proper management and analysis of such data becomes an arduous task for humans.With the help of AI, the handling and inspection of Big Data havebecome simpler for enterprises. BPS companies are now providing effective datamanagement services to top-notch brands that are looking to take a businessdecision on the basis of the insights and interpretations that are extractedout of information with the help of artificialintelligence.

With so many benefitsand goodwill generation, how can AI be anything other than a ‘good boy’ to theBPS sector? Well, the biggest threat that AI poses is that it will gobble upthe jobs in this sector. Industry experts and veterans believe that AI meanshumans won’t be required anymore. Already, more than 50% of the privatehospitals in the USA have chatbots implemented in their customer support. 

Also, when it comes tocall centers, AI is the biggest menace as of now. Call centers had anincredible time in the outsourcing industry for a couple of decades. Withchatbots now handling calls too, there is a fear that AI will soon dethrone thehuman agents. But we cannot blame AI for this. Chatbots are efficient,accurate, faster, result-oriented, and can work around-the-clock withoutgetting drained. Businesses need such support systems to reach the apex in themarket.

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But there is a catchin all this fuss about AI. Some BPS like telemarketing, lead generation, etcare quite intense in terms of communication. Telemarketing and lead generationare time-consuming processes that require empathetic behavior and patiencealong with improvisations as per the customer. AI is good, it is quick, it isextremely precise – but it is not human. What makes us superior to AI is theability to empathize with another human, which is the biggest catalyst inpulling in customers for your business.

Call centers gainedprominence because the agents were able to listen, empathize, and then offer asolution to the customers. Suppose an angry customer is calling and anAI-backed chatbot picks the call. Do you think a chatbot will be able to calmthe customer? It will reply swiftly with the most appropriate response, that’sit. Artificialintelligence still has miles to go before it reaches the emotionalintelligence level of humans. IMHO, no technology can reach that. AI can beatus in computational competency but when it comes to analyzing sentiments andemotions, humans will always be the master.

With the integrationof AI and BPS, there would be the eradication of few jobs but all in all, morejobs will come into existence. There would be a need to handle the AI-supportand humans will be deployed to do so. In the customer service segment, AI willbe playing a supporting role to the humans where the extraneous and subtletasks will be handled by this technology and complicated queries will beredirected to the agents. Similarly, in data handling tasks, businesses willgain from the swift computational proficiency of AI but the decision based onthe analysis will be taken by humans only.

  So, the fear of AI taking over humans, especially in the BPS industry, is nothing but a wave of uncertainty that soon will fade away. AI is here, it will flourish, and will become an integral part of our lives. BPS and call centers will never meet their doom because a human’s emotional quotient is and will be quintessential at major customer touch points. The role and the functioning pattern may change, but the requirement of humans and their higher wits will always be there.

AI: Humanity’s biggest fantasy

Human curiosity is theultimate source of every invention. Take the unusual ascent of ArtificialIntelligence, for example. If you think that artificial intelligence is theinvention of modern men, you are mistaken.  

The concept ofmachines or non-living objects coming to life has its place in Greek mythologyitself. However, the actual term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was minted in 1956,at a conference at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire. It was magical. Theconcept of making machines do human tasks put invigorated every imaginativebrain in the western community to think of the limitless possibilities that couldbe brought to fruition. This made the renowned mathematicians, scientists, and associateddignitaries start putting in efforts to make the theory a reality.

For a few years, AIwas a mere concept. It took a good couple of decades to collect enoughattention and funds to develop enhanced machine learning programs smart enoughto carry out the business tasks without any requirement of human intervention.

AI has begun and has alreadypenetrated the mundane operations of our lives and we don’t even know it yet. Fromthe biggest example of AI that we have been using since a decade, Google, to theau courant applications of AI such as Uber, AirHelp, Siri, Alexa, etc., this contemporarytech has left no business sector untouched by its pizzazz.

However, the acuteclimb of AI has also put one industry in a big dilemma anent its viability and futurecourse: the outsourcing industry.

A Mashup of Outsourcing and Technology

Outsourcing, the termthat came in motion into being as a cost-cutting method for the American andEuropean organizations in the early 70s, has been transformed in terms of itsutility and benefits altogether. What was previously a step to save operationalexpense by delegating business tasks to service providers in third-worldnations where labor was cheap and the cost to raise infrastructure was low, isnow an extension of organizations’ expansion strategy, branding plan, and salesincrement tactic.

With the burst of the Internetbubble, outsourcing made space for IT support call centers to step in and revolutionizedthe entire business spectrum in the late 90s. These call centers became thesupport heroes for organizations doing their business overseas. Within a shortspan, call centers become the main source of customer service, help desk, phoneanswering, telemarketing, and similar tasks for Western companies.

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Soon, anothertechnological whirlpool engulfed the outsourcing sector in its clutches. Withcloud computing playing a vital role in offering shared space where multipleenterprises can trade, exchange information, and deliver services, businessprocess outsourcing became business process services (BPS), a much more suitedterm.

Today, the entireapprehension arena of business process services is quite wide and consists of providingmultiple solutions. Apart from the conventional business solutions likeback-office, HR, customer support, order taking, help desk etc, the functionsthat are outsourced in the current scenario are web hosting, web development& maintenance, application development & maintenance, digitalmarketing, content creation, finance, web chat, etc.

Moreover, with alucrative integration of BPS and state-of-art technologies like AI and RPA, thefuture of BPS has become fuzzy. Share your views in the comment section. Thanks!

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Informative Blog: The Enigma of AI-backed BPS