Kathleen Flanagan, senior vice-president of outsourcing supplier eFunds Corporation, said, "With IT outsourcing the customer is internal, whereas in most cases business process outsourcers have direct interaction with the end-users, and therefore soft skills are very important.
"Where technology is at the core of IT outsourcing, it is an enabler with business process outsourcing. People are the core of what you are purchasing," she added.
Although IT outsourcing requires good project management skills, the key skills with business process outsourcing are understanding the context of the technology and making intelligent decisions on the user company's behalf, she said.
Business process outsourcing, which covers administration such as processing documentation and cheque processing, has become one of the most popular areas of IT services. The main attraction is the potential to cut administration costs by passing them on to a supplier carrying out the work from a low-cost location.