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knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: IT sourcing strategy guide for enterprise CIOs

What is knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)?

Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is the allocation of relatively high-level tasks to an outside organization or a different group (possibly in a different geographic location) within the same organization. KPO is, essentially, high-end business process outsourcing (BPO).

Most low-level BPO jobs provide support for an organization's core competencies and entry-level prerequisites are simply a command of English (or applicable language) and basic computer skills. Knowledge process outsourcing jobs, in comparison, are typically integrated with an organization's core competencies. The jobs involve more complex tasks and may require an advanced degree and/or certification. Examples of KPO include accounting, market and legal research, Web design and content creation.

KPO and BPO are often conducted through offshore outsourcing as corporations seeking the most value for the least money source projects to countries where wages are lower. Because KPO jobs may bring in twice as much money to the economy as BPO, countries such as India are actively promoting development of that industry.

Learn More About IT:
> Wikipedia has an entry about knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).
> Physorg.com explains why outsourcing is becoming knowledge outsourcing.
> Elaine Ramos posts about KPO and other outsourcing topics in her blog.
> KPOWEB.com describes the differences between BPO and KPO.

This was last updated in January 2010

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