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The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is a competitive landscape where organizations need to find innovative ways to meet evolving client and consumer demands, constantly lower overhead to increase profit margins and create a competitive advantage that helps them win and maintain business.
As many BPOs are discovering (or already have), virtual desktops are a good way to achieve all those goals. Here are the top reasons why BPOS need a virtual desktop solution.
No matter where you’re located, your hiring pool is limited by geography if you insist on having in-house agents. For BPOs that need to provide agents with particular qualifications or licensing, filling seats is even more difficult if the organization isn’t willing to consider remote agents.
Virtual desktops allow outsourcers to confidently staff agents from anywhere without sacrificing data security or application access. This allows for better and easier access to talent and a greater ability to offer 24/7 support. It also has the added benefit of greatly reducing the footprint and related utility costs of large office spaces.
Some clients need consistent staffing year around, but for those that deal with peak seasons (retail, insurance, tax processors, etc.) the number of agents needed varies drastically depending on the time of year. In the past, this has meant that BPOs have desk space and computers that are drastically underutilized.
With virtual desktops, BPOs aren’t paying for desktops (or space) they don’t need. Organizations can quickly spin up virtual environments when needed using preconfigured Golden Images for each client or use case. When the spike’s over, spin the desktops back down and only pay for the seats you need.
BPOs can also take advantage of economies of scale that make virtual desktops more affordable. The more desktops you need, the less each desktop costs, which is ideal for large BPOs with large clients. Smaller organizations or more boutique BPOs can take advantage of a per device desktop model that allows them to have shift-based agents share virtual desktops, reducing the number of desktops required.
As anyone who has ever shipped a laptop to a remote worker can tell you, the likelihood of getting that hardware back isn’t very high. Add that to the cost of housing and actually shipping all those devices and the cost-to-opportunity ratio turns on its head quickly. But at the same time, BPOs can’t always rely on remote agents to have powerful enough personal computers to run the most modern software and applications clients demand.
Virtual desktops offer several options to solve this issue. Remote agents can use their personal computers because the hardware doesn’t matter – a pre-determined operating system within the virtual desktop environment ensures they can run the necessary applications regardless of what type of computer they have. Virtual desktops also allow BPOs to issue thin or zero clients that only require the end user to provide peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Contact center agents often work with sensitive consumer information. From payment card data, to personal health information, to personally identifiable information, BPO clients want to know that they can trust you and your agents to not mishandle their customers’ information. As data breaches make the news more often, BPO clients are going to put extra stress on this area of concern – particularly when using work at home agents who may be using their own personal computers and are in less controlled environments.
Virtual desktops let you easily implement strict user controls on any agent using your system, anywhere, from any device. Controls and other security measures are set on the Golden Image and pushed to all users on a copy of that desktop. This allows you to lock down high risk functions that agents often don’t need access to, such as printing, screen capture, saving to a USB drive or other external device, copy/paste and many more. Plus, data is never saved to the local endpoint, meaning when an agent is logged out of their virtual desktop, your sensitive customer information can’t be accessed or accidentally shared.
Depending on the type of data your agents are handling, you may be required to be PCI or HIPAA compliant. This requires a range of technology security measures that stretch from the data center to the endpoint devices and can be difficult and costly to implement and maintain in house.
Some virtual desktop solutions provides take a large portion of this responsibility off of your plate by offering services that have been independently audited and verified as meeting specific compliance standards. They also take on the responsibility of maintaining that portion of the compliance. Ask for a roles and responsibilities matrix to fully understand what the provider is responsible for and what aspects of compliance fall to you.
The ability to offer compliant solutions can represent a significant competitive advantage over other BPOs.
Virtual desktops can be achieved through in-house virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), outsourced VDI or fully-managed DaaS. A fully-managed DaaS solution is the best fit for most BPOs as it allows them to focus on the core of their business (servicing their clients) while the DaaS provider takes care of everything related to maintaining the virtual desktops. With good platforms and monitoring tools you’re able to keep an eye on your environment, but your team won’t be the ones doing major trouble shooting or maintenance. With in-house or less managed solutions, your IT teams can lose a lot of time and sleep patching systems or trouble shooting issues. It’s the rise of DaaS that makes virtual desktops a viable option for BPOs, allowing them to get the efficiency, security and access benefits of virtual desktops without the high overhead and maintenance headaches traditionally associated with early stage VDI.
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