Today the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) has reached almost any sector. It has led companies to adapt their business organization and to restructure business processes. The fact that ICT leads companies to implement complementary measures explains its positive effect on the productivity of companies, and thus its significance for their competitiveness.
So-called Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) becomes increasingly important in the restructuring of processes. BPO means that mainly those service processes which are not part of the core business of the firm are outsourced to external service providers, such as accountancy, human resources, acquisition and sales, marketing or customer service. In many cases outsourcing can only take place due to the strong linkages between business processes and ICT which meanwhile exist.
This research project examined which business processes are outsourced to external service providers. The project further showed what distinguishes those companies that outsource from those which do not outsource, and determined the influence of a company's ICT intensity on its outsourcing decision. Since the literature often considers IT outsourcing as "enabler" of further outsourcing activities, this relationship was also analyzed. The last research step focused on the effects of BPO on company-specific success variables, such as labour productivity.
The data used came from the ZEW ICT survey. The ICT survey is a representative business survey of firms belonging to the manufacturing industry and to service industries.
Discussion and Working Papers
Ohnemus, Jörg (2009), Productivity Effects of Business Process Outsourcing - A Firm-level Investigation Based on Panel Data, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 09-088, Mannheim. Download