Knowledge Process Outsourcing: Get Smart Now!

On 12 June, the transition from a service-based economy to a knowledge-based economy was the focus of this blog. This is the second in a series of articles regarding our competitiveness in the knowledge-based economy and the marketing opportunities associated with this competitiveness. Today’s topic is Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). It is the one area of outsourcing in which the USA remains competitive (having ceded Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to India, China and other developing nations).

KPO consists of activities such as investment research services, marketing research, analytics and intelligence, engineering research and development, pharma/bio-tech research and development, legal research services, animation, content/publishing and education/e-learning. It is the fastest growing segment of outsourcing with a compound annual growth rate of 58 percent for the period 2005-2010. Steady growth in KPO services is projected to continue well into the next decade.

In a paper published on 1 March 2010, Gereffi and Fernandez-Stark identify the top ten KPO firms as of 2009 based on total revenues. Below is a listing of the headquarters of record for each firm identified in their article. Industry consolidation is making the determination of country-of-origin almost impossible.

Top 10 Knowledge Process Outsourcing Firms (2009):

  1. Gartner, Stamford, Connecticut, USA
  2. Genpact, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
  3. WNS, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  4. Forrester Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  5. Evalueserve, New Delhi, India
  6. Integreon Managed Solutions, Los Angeles, California, USA
  7. CPA Global, St. Helier, Jersey, UK
  8. Pangea3, New York, New York, USA
  9. Fractal Analytics, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
  10. Boston Analytics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

To remain competitive in KPO services and in the knowledge-based economy requires more education, not less. In marketing, the future for students with demonstrable skills in marketing research, marketing analytics and metrics, digital marketing, inbound marketing, content-based marketing and database marketing looks promising. Most of these jobs require strong mathematical and analytical skills as well as an understanding of basic HTML, JavaScript, CSS and XHTML/XML coding.

Regionally, the outlook for jobs in the knowledge-based economy is positive. Five of the top ten KPO firms have headquarters located in the north-eastern corridor and two are located the Boston area. Somewhat optimistically, a recent posting on HubSpot identifies Boston as the future “Hub” or center of all things marketing.

The economic well-being of our region is dependent upon the success of our KPO and service firms. The success of these firms is predicated, in part, on the availability of highly educated marketing talent. Your future and their future demand that you get smart now.


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