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Knowledge Process Outsourcing

The evolution and maturity of the Indian BPO sector has given birth to yet another wave in the global outsourcing scene: KPO or Knowledge Process Outsourcing. The success in outsourcing business process operations to India has encouraged many firms to start outsourcing their high-end knowledge work as well. Cost savings, operational efficiencies, access to a highly talented workforce and improved quality are all underlying expectations in offshoring high-end processes to India.

India 's intellectual potential

The myth that Indian companies can only provide "software coolies" is soon changing to the reality of Indian companies being capable of almost anything, even rocket science! India has a large pool of knowledge workers in various sectors ranging from Pharmacy, Medicine, Law, Biotechnology, Education and Training, Engineering, Analytics, Design and Animation, Research and Development, Paralegal Content and even Intelligence services.

This talent is soon being discovered and tapped by leading businesses across the globe resulting in the outsourcing of high-end processes to low-wage destinations. Hence Knowledge Process Outsourcing involves offshoring of knowledge intensive business processes that require specialized domain expertise.

The future of KPO

According to a report by GlobalSourcingNow, the Global Knowledge Process Outsourcing industry (KPO) is expected to reach USD 17 billion by 2010, of which USD 12 billion would be outsourced to India. In addition, the Indian KPO sector is also expected to employ more than 250,000 KPO professionals by 2010, compared with the current figure of 25,000 employees. A report by Evalueserve predicts that India will capture more than 70 percent of the KPO sector by 2010. Apart from India, countries such as Russia, China, the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Israel are also expected to join the KPO industry.

What high-end services can be outsourced to the Indian KPO sector?

  Here are some KPO services that can be outsourced to India:

  • Research and Development
  • Business and Technical Analysis
  • Learning Solutions
  • Animation and Design
  • Business and Market Research
  • Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
  • Medical Services
  • Writing and Content Development
  • Legal Services
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Research
  • Data Analytics
  • Network Management
  • Training & Consultancy


There is no definite qualification for you to qualify to work in this emerging industry. All those with good education and analytical abilities can look forward to a fantastic career in KPOs. Among the companies exploring this new sector are GE Capital, Accenture, Motorola, Intel, IBM, Cisco, Texas Instruments, Nokia, Astra Zeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

The challenges in KPO

KPO delivers high value to organizations by providing domain-based processes and business expertise rather than just process expertise. These processes demand advanced analytical and specialized skill of knowledge workers that have domain experience to their credit. Therefore outsourcing of knowledge processes face more challenges than BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). Some of the challenges involved in KPO will be maintaining higher quality standards, investment in KPO infrastructure, the lack of talent pool, requirement of higher level of control, confidentiality and enhanced risk management.

Comparing these challenges with the Indian IT and ITES service providers, it is not surprising that India has been ranked the most preferred KPO destination owing to the country's large talent pool, quality IT training, friendly government policies and low labor costs.

India is well-equipped to meet this emerging sector's challenges and all set to be the global KPO hub. Be prepared!


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