I'm working at Evalueserve.com Pvt. Ltd., hereinafter referred to as EVS. It's supposed to be the leader of an industry segment whose bubble has just about started to grow. And EVS claims that they're the one who began blowing the bubble in the first place. Heck! They even christened it - KPO - Knowledge Process Outsourcing... yeah, yeah, it's outsourcing alright, but not of the Business kind!
So, what the fuck is a KPO? Well, technically speaking it is a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) outfit, in the strict sense of the term. BUT, and that's a big but, (notice - no extra 't'), the point is, almost anyone in India, specifically the Indian media, associates the word BPO with call centres. Or any other braindead job! EVS is not about receiving calls and telling the stupid caller for the frikkin' Nth time that he has to click the "Start" button to shutdown his computer :-)
Let me elaborate further. In any call center, the customer executives are given a set of questions, possible answers, and a fake accent. They use all three to answer mundane questions day-in-and-day-out! Everything is based on a rule.
KPO is different. It's a business process being outsourced alright, but the business process is not repetitive or rule based. It needs some input of knowledge. Let me give you a practical example. Try calling up your favourite call center and ask the person who answers your call to tell you the global market size of desktop printers in the year 2007. In all probability, your personal data is on the next flight out for a measly ten cents!
That's exactly the kind of job a KPO outfit does (the global market size part, not the other thing :-) It's something like offshoring the development of a software product. The team in India, China, Phillipines, whatever, needa more than a fake accent to code-up that piece of software. They need Knowledge. Domain knowledge to be specific. Only that in the case of a KPO it's not in software. It's market research, business analytics, financial analytics, data analytics, intellectual property services, and what have you.
Now, that you've got the basic idea of a KPO, let's get onto what exactly EVS does. EVS is into:
- Business Research (BR): They answer questions like "What's will be the market size of shoes in America in the year 2010?", "How many companies are there in the telecom sector in EU and what are their strengths and weaknesses?", etc.
- Intellectual Property Services (IP): They answer stuff like, "Here's a list of 500 patents that my company owns. Tell me which ones have the highest outlicensing potential.", "Here's what I think is a neat new invention. Please write me a patent application for it.", "Help! M$ has sued me for patent infringement. Please find prior art for M$'s patent so that I may get it invalidated and get my ass out of this hot soup!", etc.
- Market Research (MR): They're the BPO in the KPO :-) These guys don't answer questions. They ask. They sit in the office all round the night, call up people in US, EU, etc., and pester them to answer long questionnaires :-)
- Financial & Data Analytics (FADA): There's not much work at EVS in this department, that I know of. They're given lots of data and they're supposed to analze it :-P
I work in the IP department. I've written a patent application, done some prior art searches, assessed a few inventions for patentability, tried to invalidate a patent, and figured out patents with high outlicensing potential out of a given patent portfolio! Go figure :-D