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The advent of Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) is believed to be a by-product of the flourishing BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. As BPO continually grows globally, it subsequently created a facsimile but with a hint of sophistication. While BPO is all about customer support and data encoding, KPO requires a more scrupulous and knowledgeable approach. Knowledge Process Outsourcing is a � higher, more complex and more mature� form of business process outsourcing which entails intellectual capability, analytical skills and expertise of the workforce. This workforce includes professionals and scholars from different fields such as legal, engineering, marketing, research, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and education who are qualified and experienced enough to take the tasks. Service providers from different countries offer a variety of services. Each of these countries tries to create proficiency in a particular section. KPO companies in the Philippines established success in the area of animation and content development while Russia intends to be an outsourcing ground for medicine and technology-related KPOs. Whereas, India remains to be the top destination for KPO because of its multi-service environment in BPO that cater to different segments.
Nevertheless, the Philippines exudes a considerable amount of potential. It has proven to be one of the top countries to dominate the incessantly growing industry when Manila, the capital, was hailed as the second top BPO destination in the Asia-Pacific region by the International Data Corporation in 2008. On the same year, it also garnered �Offshoring Destination of the Year� title by the United Kingdom�s National Outsourcing Association. Furthermore, three of its cities; Quezon City, Cebu and Davao ranked 7th, 8th and 10th, in the �Top Ten Asian Cities of the Future� in the survey conducted by the London Financial Times.
Apart from that, the Philippine government continues to support the expanding demands of the industry by providing reliable infrastructures. Although India can produce 441,000 technical-related graduates and almost 2.3 million graduates every year, the Philippines is not lagging behind in terms of labor force. The Philippines produces approximately 450,000 graduates annually and was able to generate almost 56,000 engineering and IT-related graduates, by which the government expects to grow by 20% by 2012. From the statistics gathered by the Professional Regulation Board, the country has over 2 million licensed professionals in 2006. This includes over 70,000 engineers, 16,000 architects, 100,000 accountants, 95,000 physicians and more than 40,000 medical technologists.
Major research firms outsource their subsidiary processes to KPO firms based in India, Philippines etc. These firms take care of all the intellectual work, and disseminate useful information to the knowledge driven industry, at a cost, far less than what these companies would have spent.
Outsourcing IT or ITES (IT-enabled services) also falls under the purview of KPO firms. IT consultants equipped with specific technical prowess give their services to clients based abroad. KPO firms outsource IT work like web development, web design, animation and design, content development, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and so on.
Knowledge Process Outsourcing differs with Business Process Outsourcing in the sense that they require higher skills and more proficient human resource to do the job. So it can be inferred that KPO is an extension Of BPO and many firms, which had established themselves as BPOs are finding it easier to transform into KPOs.
Intellectual property and analytical legal research is an expensive affair in the US because there is a shortage of personnel to do such research. Research is a necessary process for obtaining any U.S. patent and is thus in high demand. There are different stages of research and any stage of research work can be outsourced. However the final review has to be done only by a registered USPTO (United States Patents and Trademark Office) attorney.
We have seen that many Asian based professionals were hired under HI visas where they work for years and return home as managers to train others. There are many challenges faced by both the KPO clients and the service providers. These include the high cost of training and the possibility of loosing the employee to the clients themselves, besides security issues and privacy laws in different countries. It has been found that in countries like India the companies that were earlier into outsourcing of IT and business processes are able to quickly adapt to KPO.