The Importance of Time Tracking for BPO Management and Success

Every cent counts in business, especially when managing operations that have minimal returns. That causes many companies to look at Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which can yield significant returns if you have the right plan and people. In our experience, that means having time tracking for BPO as a central pillar.

You need to be able to quantify and qualify the processes and work from your partners. Time-tracking tools are the most direct way to develop an initial level of accountability.

Globalization and digitalization have transformed the role BPO can play in nearly any business. Remote work has allowed VAs and other top jobs to support brands regardless of location or need. Experts are just a click away.

Leveraging BPO as a competitive edge is possible. However, this requires its own focus and development or management. While many companies will discuss the general baseline benefits of BPO, we want to look at how you get it right and protect your company’s bottom line.

To that end, effective time tracking in BPOs transcends mere monitoring; it encompasses maximizing productivity, optimizing resource allocation, and delivering unparalleled value to clients swiftly and precisely. This is an effort to boost productivity at an organizational level, not just a replacement for a team member.

That’s where things get tricky and exciting.

What is time tracking in BPO?

At its core, time tracking for BPO is a method to ensure some compliance and obligation. You need to evaluate a BPO program's success based on its return and costs.

Time tracking tools are a simple way to measure ongoing costs and set future expectations — many BPO efforts focus on projects and strict timelines. Understanding how long tasks take for an outsourcing partner to complete helps you determine the value you get out of BPO.

Simply put, you can track the time it took your team to complete the process historically. Compare that against the partner’s time. Then, look at the costs associated with the vendor and compare them to your team's wage expenses. 

This way, time tracking software plays a direct role in comparing values.

A broad application of time management

More broadly, this aspect of BPO involves strategic planning, tracking, and optimization of time spent on various tasks and projects.

You may need this for accurate billing or to see when you need tools like project management solutions. This strategy of outsourcing non-core tasks to external entities to streamline operations requires you to provide the necessary tools and oversight. 

Sometimes, BPO firms will act independently of your teams and turn projects in as they finish. In other cases, companies treat BPO efforts akin to remote employees, where time data is one way to evaluate or improve employee performance.

If you’re in an industry marked by tight deadlines and demanding clients, effective time tracking isn't just about saving hours; it's about smart allocation of resources, ensuring tasks are not just completed but are done so profitably and in ways that maintain or improve your reputation.

Global team members track time while working for BPO companies
Why companies need time tracking for BPO

Time plays a pivotal role in any BPO effort, such as data entry, customer support, and technical assistance. Outsourcing to specialized firms ensures that these activities are performed correctly, while companies can concentrate on strategic business areas where their teams thrive.

You get potential cost savings with no loss of service or support while improving the effectiveness of your teams. This model not only optimizes task distribution but also opens avenues for scaling operations without compromising on quality or deadlines.

The time element is pure evaluation and assurance that work is done correctly. Most BPO operations work one of two ways: hourly tasks with hourly pay, or projects where you pay a set amount when complete.

For the first, companies are concerned with getting the service they need when they need it. Time tracking may help you verify that a BPO company is manning support channels 24/7. Or it points to when an assistant is responding to inbound opportunities. That way, you don’t need to check in with people regularly during those hours to ensure work is getting done.

For the second, time tracking is all about the “worth it” discussion. If a BPO service provider can come in and get the job done as well as your team (or better) in the same amount of time (or faster), you’ve got a winner. Every ounce of improvement here validates the value of business process outsourcing for your organization.

weighing the pros and cons of time tracking, BPO, and more

Benefits of effective time tracking in BPO management

Implementing effective time tracking systems to support BPO efforts mirrors many of the benefits you’ll find in employing a time tracking solution for your team. 

Here are some of the core ways it can improve operations, whether or not you outsource them:

Increased productivity

Pair time tracking with efforts to identify high-priority tasks. This work enables employees to focus on activities that offer the highest value to your organization. But the other work still gets done because you’ve handed it off.

By minimizing time spent on less critical tasks, BPO can significantly increase internal productivity levels, ensuring that every minute counts.

Enhanced project management

Accurate time tracking lies at the heart of successful project management. It enables you to plan projects precisely, execute them efficiently, and bill clients transparently. 

You should demand the same of your partners and vendors. So, time tracking from a BPO company is your way to ensure projects are managed effectively and that you’re getting the proper value.

Companies can achieve this by asking for time reports from their vendors or by using a tool like Hubstaff where you can invite partners to track time around tasks and activities.

Our options not only streamline workflows but also fortify the trust you and your BPO company share. You can see exactly how they invest their time, then pay them directly and quickly to help that partner keep their doors open.

Data-driven decisions

Utilizing data from time tracking allows management to make informed decisions regarding staffing, workload distribution, and evaluating performance. This analytical approach ensures that resources are allocated where needed most, enhancing operational efficiency and employee satisfaction.

We recommend regular analysis of all time data, including from contractors and outsourcing partners. This is because, as you scale, organizational demands change. You not only want to maintain value through outsourcing, but you also want to watch for any inflection points where you may generate more revenue or be able to turn an outsourced activity into a competitive advantage.

Transparency and trust

Detailed and accurate time tracking fosters an environment of transparency, enabling BPO companies to build and maintain trust with their clients. This openness is crucial for long-term business relationships, ensuring clients feel valued and informed.

This effort should be a dialogue going both ways.

BPO providers should highlight what they can achieve and be truthful about the time and effort spent. In turn, companies doing the outsourcing should share information about their gains. One Harvard Business Review study found that executives were able to outsource low-value tasks, freeing up six hours per week that they could use to increase sales and improve team support.

That demonstrates value to both companies in this agreement. Sharing from each direction improves trust and strengthens that relationship, helping the BPO provider secure a long-term client while the other company maintains long-term gains.

Challenges of time tracking and outsourcing

While the benefits are clear, time tracking in BPO situations comes with many of the standard challenges of time tracking. Some of these can be solved with proper tools — like the automation that Hubstaff offers — while others come down to how companies run their activities.

Here are some of the core dangers to watch out for:

Frequent distractions

Maintaining focus can be daunting in a world brimming with notifications and interruptions. Companies must implement strategies to minimize these distractions, ensuring employees can concentrate on their tasks.

One core benefit here is that Hubstaff’s analysis of work habits shows remote workers experience 18% fewer interruptions than those in an office environment.

Efficiency vs. busyness

Being busy doesn't necessarily mean being productive. When outsourcing tasks and paying based on hours worked, it can take time for companies to assess the quality of work quickly. That often raises concerns about the value of BPO and if it could harm a company’s reputation.

Time tracking helps employees and management alike distinguish between mere activity and genuine productivity, focusing efforts on tasks that genuinely contribute to the company's goals.

The multitasking myth

Multitasking is often hailed as a skill, but it can lead to decreased quality and efficiency. Effective time tracking encourages a more focused approach, where tasks are completed sequentially and with full attention.

Time management alone doesn’t reduce this concern. Instead, companies must look to time tracking software that can also track apps, URLs, and activities. These will help identify when someone might be struggling or when someone is staying on task for an entire day.

Neglecting the importance of breaks

Skipping breaks can lead to burnout and reduced productivity over time. Scheduled rest periods help rejuvenate employees, ensuring they remain sharp and focused throughout their workday. 

An outsourcing plan should leave in time for scheduled and unscheduled breaks. You don’t want people pushing themselves too hard, skipping meals, or taking other unwise steps. These actions can lead to poorer work performance and employee productivity losses, which harms the relationship between the two companies.

Let your people take breaks. Encourage partners, contractors, and vendors to do the same. It protects your entire operation, no matter who is doing which particular task.

Finding the right technology

In today's digital age, failing to utilize technological tools for time tracking can create times when outsourcing business processes generates harm. It can interrupt your capabilities instead of letting you get ahead of competitors.

Implementing the right software solutions is crucial for efficient operations. The right mix of technology and tools depends on your needs and which operations you outsource. However, we always think a proven time tracking solution with robust workforce analytics is a smart move.

Task management

Effective task assignments, setting clear deadlines, and tracking progress are fundamental components of time tracking that are often overlooked. These elements are crucial for maintaining workflow and meeting project milestones.

But they get tricky when you’re outsourcing. Companies must figure out how to set appropriate goals and controls without overstepping.

If you create a series of strict rules and time-consuming processes, you may end up paying for less work and more administrative adherence. Determine the goals you need and ways to evaluate core steps along the way. Don’t overprescribe steps or continually look over the shoulder of your BPO provider.

Instead, treat them like team members and give them opportunities to succeed.

getting outsourcing right is about creating a plan everyone can manage, with clear accountability and deadlines

Hubstaff support for BPO

Want to get time tracking and management right for any team, including one that relies on BPO for support?

It’s time to turn to Hubstaff. We offer a comprehensive solution designed specifically for the needs of diverse and distributed teams. Whether you’ve got teams across the globe or rely on contractors to tackle core work, we have reliable time tracking that delves into productivity enhancements and support for timely project delivery.

Our core product features map directly to operational success benefits thanks to an innovative approach to workforce management:

  • Automated time tracking: Hubstaff minimizes manual entry errors and ensures time is tracked accurately down to the second.

  • In-depth reporting: The platform provides detailed reports that assist in making strategic decisions, enhancing transparency, and improving client satisfaction.

  • Clear budgets: Get support managing project costs relative to time and wage data, allowing you to win now and create a blueprint for what’s next.

Integration capabilities: Hubstaff seamlessly integrates with other tools you rely on, facilitating smoother project management and workflow across even distributed teams.

Implementing Hubstaff as part of BPO operations

Adding Hubstaff to BPO operations is straightforward and does not disrupt existing workflows. For instance, coupling Hubstaff with core project tools — like using our Asana integrations — enables comprehensive project and time tracking, from task assignment to final billing, making the entire process more efficient and transparent.

We serve as part of your workflow, though automation minimizes potential disruption and prevents team members from needing to interact with time tracking software consistently.

Implementing effective time tracking practices, supported by tools like Hubstaff, can transform the operational dynamics of companies leveraging BPO as a competitive advantage.

We know that achieving higher productivity and improving project management is at the top of your list. Hubstaff makes both of those goals easier to accomplish. Ready to get started? Sign up for a free, no-obligation 14-day trial.

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