According to World Bank, business process outsourcing (BPO) revenues could soar to well over US$50 billion and provide some 2.6 million jobs by 2020. With that in mind, Supahands set out to disrupt this lucrative, yet highly competitive field. Unlike traditional BPO companies, Malaysian-born Supahands aims to help businesses scale by changing the nature of time, with its combination of technology solutions and a distributed workforce.
What started as a virtual assistant service back in 2014, is now a platform for outsourcing projects and business processes like content moderation of user-generated content (UGC) and data mining since the company refocused its direction and strategy in 2016. At the end of last year, Supahands reported a 420% growth overall.
This year, the outsourcing company is making a key decision to phase out its Entrepreneur plan, which caters to ‘bite-size’ personal tasks, by the end of June 2017. The existing users are still able to use the remainder of ‘Hands’ (Supahands’ version of credit) until the end of June and some of them will be converted into our enterprise B2B clients.
Speaking of the shift in focus, Mark Koh, Co-founder and CEO of Supahands shared: “We had a large, open ended range of products for different users in different geographical locations before this. To further achieve the next stage of scale, delivering better quality output and continue building technology, as well as automation around our product, we had to focus on key solutions for the business segment further.
“The tasks from businesses created a lot more ‘stickiness’ and the recurrence of use was positive – so it’s more effective to focus our resources in this part of the business instead. Apart from that, we have also refocused our range of solutions into data driven categories – lead generation, data management and content moderation.”
Although the industry has been around since the 90s, BPO services have undergone a radical transformation. Currently, many companies looking to outsource are not only looking at cost efficiency, but also flexibility to scale projects easily with quantified deliverables. Supahands is here to fill in that gap.
Leveraging On Technology and Human Cloud
Koh explained that its elastic workforce strategy made it possible for the company to move ahead faster. It has given Supahands the ability to scale across borders, without setting up physical offices in different locations.
He said, “We call our pool of ‘human cloud’ our SupaAgents, which consists of students, stay-at-home parents and professional executives. In short, they are the people who are looking for side income. The beauty of an elastic workforce is that our clients are able to realise cost savings by increasing or decreasing the size of the workforce based on tasks’ or projects’ requirements.
“Besides that, outsourcing needs can change rapidly. Each of our agents have their own skills, and with this pool of talent, we can assign specific projects to the right people. To maintain the quality of communication and work, we have created an in-house cloud platform, to facilitate the distribution and picking up of tasks for project managers, as well as the SupaAgents.”
Koh also mentioned that this platform will act as an enabler for the future of work using predictive routing of projects and tasks to the best SupaAgent at the right time. With accumulated performance data, the platform will learn to find the best matching agent for each new project. This technology will also be made available for clients to monitor and get updates for their outsourced tasks or projects.
Funded by Intres Capital (managers of the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund) and 500 Startups last year, Supahands made hundreds of new hires into their remote pool of SupaAgents and subsequently acquired more than 100 digitally driven clients from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia in 2016 alone.
Moving forward, Supahands is now looking at countries like Philippines and Indonesia to source for more SupaAgents, while also increasing the average monthly earning per SupaAgent by 30%. To add, Supahands.com was recently redesigned to create a more interactive experience for its visitors, with the goal of making a typically “dry” topic like outsourcing more engaging.