Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) is the next outsourcing process subsequent to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services. Estimates are that global KPO industry is likely to be annually worth almost $17 billion and India in once again balanced to capture more than 70% of this pie. In India around 2.5 lac /lakh professionals are expected to be working in KPO industry. India expects an annual growth rate of around 45% for the KPO segment as against 26% for BPO business.
India is the main KPO service provider in the world based on the intellectual and internet resources in India. A major KPO Indian industry covers a wide range of services for market research, equity research, management, engineering design, animation and simulation, medical content & services and education and publishing.
Legal process outsourcing, its key driver, is leading the way with a high growth potential. As associate lawyers in the US carry price tags ranging from $225 to $450 per hour, India is a natural fit and already five of the 20-odd Indian KPO companies have established themselves and are tapping on skilled legal professionals to handle the outsourced work.
Knowledge Process Outsourcing is not an extension of Business Process Outsourcing. The Knowledge Process Outsourcing “industry” will therefore not have the same rules of the Business Process Outsourcing industry. Therefore, KPO will not be a different industry, as is BPO. The accepted management rules and regulations that apply to Business Process Outsourcing will not apply to Knowledge Process Outsourcing. Business Process Outsourcing is about size and volume and efficiency. In contrast, Knowledge Process Outsourcing will not be about size but depth of knowledge, experience and judgment.
KPO is a huge opportunity for companies around the world to include professional talent from around the world in meeting their business objectives. While costs in India for highly qualified knowledge professionals are far lower than in the US and in Europe, this would not be the key driver in including Indians in the global economy. The key driver of KPO would be access to the vast professional talent in India.