Business processes that can be outsourced are classified as either front office or back office types of projects. Third-party companies that provide business process outsourcing (BPO) services offer an array of project options in each category. Types of BPO projects can also be distinguished by the location of the service provider. There are project types that are most often outsourced to offshore companies and other types that are typically handled by firms located within the same country as the client, known as nearshore outsourcing.
Any business process that is not considered a core function can be structured for outsourcing to a third-party firm. The theory behind outsourcing is it allows the business to focus on core operations while allowing another firm with targeted expertise to focus exclusively on an operational task across many companies. Types of BPO projects are initially categorized as part of front office or back office operations of the client business. Front office operations are the business departments that interface with the public. Back office operations consist of everything else.
=The most common outsourced front office BPO project is the customer service call center. A client company hires a third party firm to provide telephone-based customer service, particularly in off-hours for companies that need to provide 24-hour contact. The call center representatives are employees of the third-party firm but represent themselves as employees of the client business to people who call.
Other types of front office BPO projects include email and chat-based customer support over the Internet, technical support, web forum moderation, and marketing. These types of projects tend to also be outsourced offshore. For example, businesses in English-speaking companies, such as the UK and the US, are more likely to use a BPO firm in a developing country that has an English-speaking workforce to save money on the cost of labor when the process calls for an ubiquitous connection that can be maintained over a long distance, such as with the telephone or the Internet.
Back office BPO projects involve any business operation that does not directly touch the public. An example is the outsourcing of the entire accounting department. The business can outsource the entire department or only specific accounting functions, such as payroll processing or procurement. Other business operations that are typically outsourced under this category are human resources, data entry, and security services.
These types of BPO projects tend to require on-site staffing from the third-party service provider or services that require direct contact with the business' workforce. As a result, these projects are often also categorized as nearshore projects. They typically need to be outsourced to firms located in the same country as the client business.