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The Document Process Opportunity in Western Europe


Document Process Outsourcing represents a relatively new, customer-centric category of document outsourcing. While it is small today, it is expected to grow faster than the marketplace as a whole. Over time, this will cause the cannibalisation of more traditional revenue opportunities, particularly On-Site and Off-Site Contracted Services.

DPO is defined as the assignment of an entire document-intensive business process to an external service provider. This approach views the services provided from the context of a customer’s business, rather than a portfolio of print services. The resulting outsourced document business process has three primary stakeholders:

  • The DPO service provider
  • The customer, who contracts directly with the DPO service provider
  • The end-user, who is the ultimate recipient of documents generated by the document business process

End-user stakeholders can represent a wide variety of constituents, including consumers, government and regulatory agencies, suppliers, business partners and distributors, employees, as well as shareholders. In all instances, the document business process transforms information from the DPO customer into a useful document for the end-user.

Defining the DPO Opportunity

To have an opportunity for a DPO engagement, several conditions must be met. The first is an actual document-intensive business process that can be fully outsourced. A document-intensive business process is defined as a business process that involves the input or production of documents (print or electronic) for end-users within or outside of the customer’s enterprise. As part of the agreement, the service provider takes over not just a collection of services, but actual accountability for the successful output of the process itself. The provider must fulfil service-level agreements (SLAs) for the process and also assume liability for situations where the SLA is not met, like in regulatory financial reporting situations where fines or penalties may be incurred.

In exchange for this complete accountability for the document business process in question, the service provider receives flexibility—the ability to change every step in the process as often as necessary, so long as the core documents continue to be delivered. This flexibility provides the service provider with new opportunities to optimise the business process and reduce costs to improve overall margins. For instance, a DPO service provider that is managing a regulatory compliance documentation process may choose to switch from printed documents with physical delivery to the government regulators to an electronic delivery system that eliminates printed pages, substantially reducing costs. The only thing that matters to the DPO customer is that the document is delivered in an acceptable way to the regulators. The DPO customer is not concerned with the physical form that those documents take. This flexibility is unique in relation to traditional document outsourcing practices. While often providing a wide range of services, traditional document outsourcing quantifies the engagement through providing print and digital archiving rather than the end result, such as the delivery of required documentation to regulatory authorities.

The preceding is an excerpt from a report entitled Western European Document Outsourcing Market Forecast: 2007-2012. To learn more about this report, visit our online store or contact Robyn Wuori at ext. 103 or via e-mail at .

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2011 InfoTrends