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Books > History > Some Method, Some Madness: Managing BPO in India
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Some Method, Some Madness: Managing BPO in India
Some Method, Some Madness: Managing BPO in India
Description
About the Book

In a dynamic business world, the world of BPO business is perhaps even more dynamic. This comprehensive edition aims to capture the essence of managing the diverse and ever- changing domain of the BPO business and the day-to-day challenges and possibilities that are faced and offered by the industry. Having an industry perspective, this book serves as a convenient guide for all those individuals who are involved with the BPO industry in one way or the other, and also for those who aspire to carve a career in the realm of BPO.

The author with his long association and career with the industry has aimed to make this an 'insider's story; capturing the methods employed for success amidst the madness that goes on in the world of BPO.

"I am glad to see a work of this nature being published about the BPO industry that has been such an integral part, both as a participant and as a catalyst, of the India growth story in the last two decades." Ranjit Narasimhan - presently CEO of Shikshaa Edutech Ltd, a company focused on Technology assisted Learning and, till recently, President and CEO of HCL Technologies Ltd BPO Services.

"This book adds to the present store of knowledge in the sense that it offers the author's unique perspectives based on his own unique experiences." Sanjdip Kandhari, National Head,Customer Service for Business Services ,Vodafone India Ltd "As a memoir of a senior and respected professional, who has worked with three leading companies in the BPO industry, it suits the target market and should be of interest to management practitioners and professionals, and youngsters who want to make a career in this field. Many situations described in the book are familiar to me. I can say that the author's solutions ande learning offer good pe3rspective." Sujit Baksi, President - Corporate Affairs and Business Services Group for Tech Mahindra (a leading global systems integrator and business transformation consulting organization) and Executive Chairman of Mahindra Sat yam BPO Board.

 

About the Author

After completing formal education with a Post Graduate Diploma In Management (PGDM) from the Indian Institute of Management (11M), Ahmedabad, Ankur joined the banking world and worked for his first employer for over 15 years. During this period, he worked with, and led, large multicultural teams in a number of locations, both in India and overseas. Thereafter, for over seven years, he worked for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) outfits in India, between Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida, the last one being in the role of a Vice President. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, he has co-promoted a company to promote affordable education and learning for working professionals. Though the first to be written, this will be his second book to be published. He has already published another book titled "What happens in office, stays in office'; a humorous (satirical) view of life inside large corporations.

 

Preface

The world is dynamic. The world of business perhaps more so. Between the time the manuscript was sent to the publisher for assessment, through to the first edit, the rupee has depreciated almost 20% against the US dollar. In the financial examples used in the book, a conversion rate of USD 1 = INR 45 has been used whereas it is 55 today and makes international BPO businesses, reliant as they are on export earnings, again lucrative propositions.

In a dynamic business world, the world of BPO business is perhaps even more dynamic.

This book seeks to capture the essence of managing this dynamic BPO business; the day to day challenges, the decision-making process, the variables impacting delivery, the dependence on people, delivering quality service, keeping an eye on the PnL, and many others. Though all companies engaged in this business have doubtless created, through their own understanding, processes and systems which they have come to place trust in, I hope this book will put forward an unbiased, industry-level perspective.

This book may be relevant to a variety of people connected with the industry. Firstly, Operational Leaders in this business, the people who need to manage, monitor, coax, cajole, squeeze and ensure that the plates are kept a spinning. For them, this book, hopefully, will put forward a variety of scenarios that can be used as a sounding board for decision-making, especially since it provides a rationale for why something should be done. A perusal of this book should provide them with a view of all the relevant participating functions in a manner that facilitates managing the business.

The second constituency for this book would be the many client organizations (while equally applicable to both international and domestic, my reference points have been drawn from the international outsourcing business) that outsource work to BPOs in India and the decision-maker: and key executives with responsibility for the outsource BPO business. This book should give them an opportunity to "look under the hood" of the BPO automobile that is pulling their "customer service" train.

Outsourcing of non-core activities has been on the agenda of forward-looking organizations for many years This outsourcing agenda has, like everything else in business, evolved with the times. Starting with separation 0 non-core businesses managed under the same organization to moving outsourced activities to economical physical locations away from the main business, through to the present where, with the help of inexpensive technology and telecommunications, services can be outsourced to any physical location in the world, including India. As the outsource business to India grew rapidly, so did the need to manage it. While I have no doubt that each business (or outsource: in this case) knows what is good for their business and will drive the relevant contractual terms to protect their inter ests, I believe knowledge of the market they are operating in (in this case not market for their products and services but a more physical space where their products and services are serviced from) will equip them to use it better ant more completely.

The third, and possibly the largest, constituency would be the many people employed at the first two or three level: in our industry, the people who provide the muscle for all the work that gets done, the people who are often referred to as the ones earning us our salaries, in whatever function or level we may be. There being no organized, uniform body of knowledge, or programme, which educates entrants on what to expect and how it works, I am hopeful that this book will serve to fill knowledge gaps and equip them to take higher responsibilities rather than having to learn only through mistakes.

I believe I am uniquely placed to put forward this treatise on BPO management as I have had the opportunity to work for three organizations that could be considered to be leaders in the industry, in their own unique ways. All that I know about the BPO business is a result of having worked with these organizations, and having interacted with some extremely smart and capable people, both in the employing organizations, and in the client organizations. Having said that, I need to say very specifically that all analysis and suggestions made in this book are my own personal views and not that of any of the organizations.

Analogies used in this document, even usage of the term BPO, unless otherwise mentioned, pertain to the Inbound Voice product. Primary reason for this is that Inbound Voice remains the biggest constituent of India's BPO story and is the most standardized offering across Industry verticals and Service Providers.

In order to bring out various facets of a BPO organization, be it KRAs, be it Capacity, be it Financials, I have used a common illustration throughout the book. The illustration is of an Inbound Voice FTE rate contract of 100 FTE delivery, serviced by a vendor for an overseas client. A bit like having an imaginary client.

This book seeks to provide what I believe is ground- level understanding of running and managing the day-to- day business in a BPO. Of course, having dived headlong into writing this document, I have not been able to resist my own take on what I can only call "management philosophy", the amorphous body of knowledge created by many more competent and knowledgeable practitioners of the imprecise science of management. This book has pro- vided me an opportunity to put forward my own theories of management, in a BPO context, that Peter Drucker and others could not or did not tell you, which I have seized with both hands.

Though readers from the BPO business would be familiar with the terms used, I have added a glossary of terms used more commonly, as a reference. I have also added a few pithy Indianisms used in BPOs, that I have become familiar with. Of course, I am still learning.

Anecdotes have been woven in, and humour, irony, sarcasm added to the best of my writing ability. All of them, the last two in particular, are used to highlight points that in my view have needed highlighting, and are not in any way allegations against any individual or group. If still some- one were to take offence, I offer my apologies in advance. Some of the examples used are from my banking days but, hopefully, relevant in the BPO context.

To stay true to the inside-out thinking this book represents, of people on the inside of the business sketching the image, rather than outsiders, like consultants, looking in, talking to some people, and drawing a picture, I have singularly refrained from referring to published works about the BPO industry. This way, I believe, this will become an insider's story of BPO. And also perhaps, in so doing, become a pioneer of sorts in documenting this, the "ways of working of a BPO", the industry being still relatively young in India.

 

Contents

 

  Preface vii
  Acknowledgements xi
1 The Starting Point-Role of a Delivery Leader 1
2 Capacity Planning and Resource Management 27
3 Building the Organization-The Delivery Team 78
4 The Building Blocks-Hiring and Training 106
5 Ensuring Quality 135
6 The Support Cast 155
7 People Practices 158
8 Financials-Making Sense 197
9 A Contract that Works 239
10 Exercising Management Control 248
11 Some Issues that Should be Discussed 262
12 Quick Self-help Mantras for BPO Employees 284
13 Conclusion 287
  Common Definitions, Terms and Acronyms 292
     

Sample Pages

















Some Method, Some Madness: Managing BPO in India

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Weight of the Book: 600 gms
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About the Book

In a dynamic business world, the world of BPO business is perhaps even more dynamic. This comprehensive edition aims to capture the essence of managing the diverse and ever- changing domain of the BPO business and the day-to-day challenges and possibilities that are faced and offered by the industry. Having an industry perspective, this book serves as a convenient guide for all those individuals who are involved with the BPO industry in one way or the other, and also for those who aspire to carve a career in the realm of BPO.

The author with his long association and career with the industry has aimed to make this an 'insider's story; capturing the methods employed for success amidst the madness that goes on in the world of BPO.

"I am glad to see a work of this nature being published about the BPO industry that has been such an integral part, both as a participant and as a catalyst, of the India growth story in the last two decades." Ranjit Narasimhan - presently CEO of Shikshaa Edutech Ltd, a company focused on Technology assisted Learning and, till recently, President and CEO of HCL Technologies Ltd BPO Services.

"This book adds to the present store of knowledge in the sense that it offers the author's unique perspectives based on his own unique experiences." Sanjdip Kandhari, National Head,Customer Service for Business Services ,Vodafone India Ltd "As a memoir of a senior and respected professional, who has worked with three leading companies in the BPO industry, it suits the target market and should be of interest to management practitioners and professionals, and youngsters who want to make a career in this field. Many situations described in the book are familiar to me. I can say that the author's solutions ande learning offer good pe3rspective." Sujit Baksi, President - Corporate Affairs and Business Services Group for Tech Mahindra (a leading global systems integrator and business transformation consulting organization) and Executive Chairman of Mahindra Sat yam BPO Board.

 

About the Author

After completing formal education with a Post Graduate Diploma In Management (PGDM) from the Indian Institute of Management (11M), Ahmedabad, Ankur joined the banking world and worked for his first employer for over 15 years. During this period, he worked with, and led, large multicultural teams in a number of locations, both in India and overseas. Thereafter, for over seven years, he worked for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) outfits in India, between Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida, the last one being in the role of a Vice President. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, he has co-promoted a company to promote affordable education and learning for working professionals. Though the first to be written, this will be his second book to be published. He has already published another book titled "What happens in office, stays in office'; a humorous (satirical) view of life inside large corporations.

 

Preface

The world is dynamic. The world of business perhaps more so. Between the time the manuscript was sent to the publisher for assessment, through to the first edit, the rupee has depreciated almost 20% against the US dollar. In the financial examples used in the book, a conversion rate of USD 1 = INR 45 has been used whereas it is 55 today and makes international BPO businesses, reliant as they are on export earnings, again lucrative propositions.

In a dynamic business world, the world of BPO business is perhaps even more dynamic.

This book seeks to capture the essence of managing this dynamic BPO business; the day to day challenges, the decision-making process, the variables impacting delivery, the dependence on people, delivering quality service, keeping an eye on the PnL, and many others. Though all companies engaged in this business have doubtless created, through their own understanding, processes and systems which they have come to place trust in, I hope this book will put forward an unbiased, industry-level perspective.

This book may be relevant to a variety of people connected with the industry. Firstly, Operational Leaders in this business, the people who need to manage, monitor, coax, cajole, squeeze and ensure that the plates are kept a spinning. For them, this book, hopefully, will put forward a variety of scenarios that can be used as a sounding board for decision-making, especially since it provides a rationale for why something should be done. A perusal of this book should provide them with a view of all the relevant participating functions in a manner that facilitates managing the business.

The second constituency for this book would be the many client organizations (while equally applicable to both international and domestic, my reference points have been drawn from the international outsourcing business) that outsource work to BPOs in India and the decision-maker: and key executives with responsibility for the outsource BPO business. This book should give them an opportunity to "look under the hood" of the BPO automobile that is pulling their "customer service" train.

Outsourcing of non-core activities has been on the agenda of forward-looking organizations for many years This outsourcing agenda has, like everything else in business, evolved with the times. Starting with separation 0 non-core businesses managed under the same organization to moving outsourced activities to economical physical locations away from the main business, through to the present where, with the help of inexpensive technology and telecommunications, services can be outsourced to any physical location in the world, including India. As the outsource business to India grew rapidly, so did the need to manage it. While I have no doubt that each business (or outsource: in this case) knows what is good for their business and will drive the relevant contractual terms to protect their inter ests, I believe knowledge of the market they are operating in (in this case not market for their products and services but a more physical space where their products and services are serviced from) will equip them to use it better ant more completely.

The third, and possibly the largest, constituency would be the many people employed at the first two or three level: in our industry, the people who provide the muscle for all the work that gets done, the people who are often referred to as the ones earning us our salaries, in whatever function or level we may be. There being no organized, uniform body of knowledge, or programme, which educates entrants on what to expect and how it works, I am hopeful that this book will serve to fill knowledge gaps and equip them to take higher responsibilities rather than having to learn only through mistakes.

I believe I am uniquely placed to put forward this treatise on BPO management as I have had the opportunity to work for three organizations that could be considered to be leaders in the industry, in their own unique ways. All that I know about the BPO business is a result of having worked with these organizations, and having interacted with some extremely smart and capable people, both in the employing organizations, and in the client organizations. Having said that, I need to say very specifically that all analysis and suggestions made in this book are my own personal views and not that of any of the organizations.

Analogies used in this document, even usage of the term BPO, unless otherwise mentioned, pertain to the Inbound Voice product. Primary reason for this is that Inbound Voice remains the biggest constituent of India's BPO story and is the most standardized offering across Industry verticals and Service Providers.

In order to bring out various facets of a BPO organization, be it KRAs, be it Capacity, be it Financials, I have used a common illustration throughout the book. The illustration is of an Inbound Voice FTE rate contract of 100 FTE delivery, serviced by a vendor for an overseas client. A bit like having an imaginary client.

This book seeks to provide what I believe is ground- level understanding of running and managing the day-to- day business in a BPO. Of course, having dived headlong into writing this document, I have not been able to resist my own take on what I can only call "management philosophy", the amorphous body of knowledge created by many more competent and knowledgeable practitioners of the imprecise science of management. This book has pro- vided me an opportunity to put forward my own theories of management, in a BPO context, that Peter Drucker and others could not or did not tell you, which I have seized with both hands.

Though readers from the BPO business would be familiar with the terms used, I have added a glossary of terms used more commonly, as a reference. I have also added a few pithy Indianisms used in BPOs, that I have become familiar with. Of course, I am still learning.

Anecdotes have been woven in, and humour, irony, sarcasm added to the best of my writing ability. All of them, the last two in particular, are used to highlight points that in my view have needed highlighting, and are not in any way allegations against any individual or group. If still some- one were to take offence, I offer my apologies in advance. Some of the examples used are from my banking days but, hopefully, relevant in the BPO context.

To stay true to the inside-out thinking this book represents, of people on the inside of the business sketching the image, rather than outsiders, like consultants, looking in, talking to some people, and drawing a picture, I have singularly refrained from referring to published works about the BPO industry. This way, I believe, this will become an insider's story of BPO. And also perhaps, in so doing, become a pioneer of sorts in documenting this, the "ways of working of a BPO", the industry being still relatively young in India.

 

Contents

 

  Preface vii
  Acknowledgements xi
1 The Starting Point-Role of a Delivery Leader 1
2 Capacity Planning and Resource Management 27
3 Building the Organization-The Delivery Team 78
4 The Building Blocks-Hiring and Training 106
5 Ensuring Quality 135
6 The Support Cast 155
7 People Practices 158
8 Financials-Making Sense 197
9 A Contract that Works 239
10 Exercising Management Control 248
11 Some Issues that Should be Discussed 262
12 Quick Self-help Mantras for BPO Employees 284
13 Conclusion 287
  Common Definitions, Terms and Acronyms 292
     

Sample Pages

















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