Peter Ryan is the founder and Principal at Ryan Strategic Advisory, which services the front-office BPO sector.
At what point can any enterprise executive really say that their own processes around data protection are truly water tight? Unfortunately, in today’s environment where cybercrime, data theft and fraud are more commonplace than at any time in recent history, many customers are becoming justifiably concerned about how their personal information is stored. For BPO vendors, this enterprise challenge should be seen as a partnering opportunity; but this can only happen if the outsourcer community truly leads in the fight against all forms of fraud.
Being perfectly blunt, consumers have a right to be worried about data theft. Over the course of the past two years, there has been a steady stream of news stories highlighting what has sadly become a regular occurrence, ranging from overseas cyberattacks all the way to information being physically scuttled out of facilities. Identity theft and the consequences that go along with it are no laughing matter for its victims, so for enterprises across the vertical spectrum, the pressure is on to implement security solutions designed to keep information safe, without impacting business agility.
The challenge for enterprises at the contact center level is even more pronounced. Securing an environment in which literally thousands of voice and non-voice enquiries containing personal as well as financial information come in each week, without sacrificing end-user experience is no easy task. And, with in-house CRM budgets for so many firms staying flat or shrinking, working with a third-party may be the best way to overcome this obstacle.
For outsourcers, there needs to be a clear understanding of today’s data protection imperative. In fact, among prospective clients this is very much a real differentiator for vendors; surveys over the past few years show that enterprise contact center managers have consistently cited managing data protection and security as among the largest pain points they deal with. Should a contact center services partner be able to alleviate this stress, therein lies a competitive advantage.
However, for the outsourcing community this comes with a number of steps, none of which should be unexpected. First off, vendors need to understand the specific pressures that their clients face from vertical, demographic and geographic perspectives. This will provide the insight required to develop a tailored security solution for each client. Equally, the outsourcer must look within the scope of its own capabilities so as to identify any gaps it may have that could prevent the best possible solution for any or all clients. This could include thought leadership, site security and technology. This step must come early, in order to guarantee clients with the best data protection solution from the first day of any engagement. And, if holes are identified, no time can be wasted in finding the right partnerships to fill them.
Data protection is a reality and will only gain more importance in outsourcing engagements through the coming years. By becoming leaders in personal information security through investment and strategic partnering, proactive outsourcers can count on real competitive advantage with enterprises eager to address this growing threat.
Peter Ryan is the founder and Principal at Ryan Strategic Advisory, which services the front-office BPO sector. To find out more about their services, please visit www.ryanadvisory.com
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