What Happens at a BPO Conference?

Terry Masters

A business process outsourcing (BPO) conference presents information that is of interest to companies looking to outsource parts of their operations and brings buyers and sellers of services together in an open marketplace. There are a number of these types of conferences that take place all over the world. Some are organized by trade groups that promote outsourcing, and others by government agencies seeking to extol the virtues of their country's businesses and labor market and explain the procedure for foreign companies to set up shop.

BPO conferences explain the benefits of outsourcing.
BPO conferences explain the benefits of outsourcing.

Operationally, a BPO conference functions like any other trade conference. The event is held at a convention center or other large meeting and exhibition space. Conference organizers arrange for various types of resources related to the outsourcing industry to converge in one place. The conference is marketed to companies that are interested in exploring outsourcing options, typically over the course of a year. Interested parties register for the event in advance and spend an average or two or three days engaged in a slate of organized activities once they arrive.

A BPO conference includes presentations by experts.
A BPO conference includes presentations by experts.

The outsourcing industry under the new world economic paradigm that has opened up labor markets in developing countries through technological advances and access to the Internet is still somewhat nascent. It is only in the first decade of the 21st century that some of the more innovative BPO projects have been developed and offshore outsourcing has matured to a point where real impacts can be determined. Consequently, a BPO conference is often focused on expert presentations and implementation examples that serves to educate the attendees about what does and does not work in outsourcing.

A typical BPO conference has an industry expert deliver a keynote address to open the event. An agenda of presentations and workshops follows that focuses on strategic and operational issues in outsourcing, often through the use of case studies and testimonials. Participants are often encouraged to share their experiences and ask questions. After the formal information sessions, there are networking receptions that encourage participants to interact with colleagues and make valuable connections.

The most important part of the BPO conference, perhaps, is the trade marketplace. BPO providers are invited to present their services and interact with participants as part of the program. For example, one popular conference arranges BPO providers into pavilions by country, so if a business wants to outsource to India, for example, all options are grouped together. This makes it easier for a business to gather information from a variety of service providers, compare offerings, and ask questions all at one time.

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