The scale and scope of BPO is changing


Vicki Trees,

Market Research,
Albuquerque, NM, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 14, 2007 – UtiliPoint, a provider of research and consulting services to the energy industry, and EquaTerra, an outsourcing advisor, have undertaken a study of business process outsourcing (BPO) in the utilities market, and found that gas utilities are more inclined to look to BPO as a means to improve business process performance than electric utilities.

The study found that what is changing today is the scale and scope of BPO, as well as the potential benefits utilities hope to get from its expanded usage. The goal of the study was to identify the nature and level of BPO uptake in the utilities industry, assess satisfaction levels, understand the benefits utilities seek when undertaking BPO and learn what have been the key challenges faced when pursuing these benefits.

More than half (59 per cent) of respondents to the survey said that BPO as a means to improve business performance is either important or very important. Respondents indicated that they are more likely to outsource a discrete function, such as bill printing, than an entire process.

The acceptance of BPO in the utility industry is underscored by the fact that only 8 per cent of respondents have not, or do not, plan to outsource. Sixty-five per cent are either satisfied or very satisfied with the results of their BPO initiative,

Gas utilities reported a higher percentage of fully outsourced processes than electric utilities, and appear to be more accepting of BPO in general. While reducing costs is a common goal, gas utilities are more interested in gaining access to business process skills and knowledge than electric utilities (42 per cent versus 22 per cent).

The results from the study are disclosed in UtiliPoint’s February 19, 2007 “IssueAlert”.