Business process outsourcing (BPO)
Business process outsourcing (BPO) involves the contracting of non-primary business activities and functions to a third-party service provider. Typical BPO services include internal business functions such as the handling of payroll, human resources, and accounting; and customer-related services such as customer interfacing.
BPO can be referred to by different terms related to the specific nature of the outsourcing. Common terms include: information technology enabled services (ITES) for IT-based processes, knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), legal process outsourcing (LPO), engineering process outsourcing (EPO).
In the construction industry, companies can use BPO for various activities, including:
- IT services.
- CAD and BIM.
- Human resources and administration.
- Finance and accounting.
- Facilities management.
- Project management.
- Structural design.
- Document management.
- Marketing and communications.
- Concept design.
- Detail engineering.
- Energy modelling and audits.
- Landscape design.
The primary advantage of BPO is the added flexibility that it offers a company. Since most BPO providers offer services on fee-for-service bases, a company can transform fixed into variable costs. By doing so, a company can be more flexible in responding to changes due to required capacity and workload, and therefore don’t need to invest in particular assets. By being relieved of certain activities, a company is able to focus on its core competencies, forward planning, and enhance value chain engagement.
However, there are some risks attached to BPO which can include an over-dependence on service providers, underestimated running costs, and the danger of data privacy breaches.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Read about RSHP's British Museum extension which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize.
Read our introductory article to building a house extension.
More updates from DCMS about the large-scale testing of cladding systems and the number of buildings affected.
UandI secure resolution to grant planning consent for major new regeneration project.
IHBC article considers how heritage is dealt with when infrastructure schemes are authorised.
It was the tallest structure in the world for 3,800 years, but to this day the exact construction techniques are a mystery.
Shortlist for the industry's most coveted award announced.
Government responds to Mark Farmer's review of industry, rejecting the call for a levy on clients.
Peter Hansford to examine what wider lessons can be learned from the fire.
Every project is subject to uncertainty. How can construction better understand uncertainty for performance improvement?
MAD Architects reveal their designs for a futuristic campus for electric car manufacturer.
Homebuyers could borrow more with better forecasting of energy bills, according to industry consortium's new report.
Read our introductory article on carbon capture and storage.