By Natalie Burg, freelance writer
If you’re thinking outsourcing might be a way to help your business cut costs, focus on what you do best and benefit from dedicated experts taking care of your non-core functions, you could be right. If you’re thinking IT and data entry are the only outsourcing options, think again.
Outsourcing opportunities have expanded greatly over the past few decades, and according to Xerox COO for Financial Services Tom Blodgett, changes within the business community have driven that expansion.
“What’s happened over the last 25 years is companies’ perception of what functions as ‘core’ has changed greatly,” Blodgett says. As fewer functions were perceived as core, the more opportunities for outsourcing grew.
“Ten years ago, HR was core,” he says. “Now, HR outsourcing is common.”
More services are going the way of human resources. Here are five functions that many might not have thought to outsource but are already happening:
1. Transportation Services
Though public transportation is typically run by a municipality or other public organization, most public officials aren’t experts in such services as toll collection and photo enforcement.
Blodgett calls Xerox’s partnerships with transportation entities some of the most unique and interesting of the company’s outsourcing services.
One such example is LA ExpressPark, which is an advanced parking system created by Xerox and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The system combines technology and demand-based pricing to create parking availability, which relieves traffic congestion and reduces air pollution.
2. Employee Retention
There are many functions under the HR umbrella, but recruitment and managing benefits are often thought of as prime for outsourcing. Companies are now expanding the role of outsourcing, however, even within HR.
“In the HR space, we’re moving into not only recruiting, but the mechanism to retain and reward employees,” says Blodgett. This includes communicating with employees to make sure they fully understand their benefits.
“As you see the economy pick up and unemployment drops,” Blodgett adds, “you’ll see even more innovative solutions for employee retention.”
3. Communications Marketing Services
Another trend in outsourcing is the area of revenue generation, including marketing. Xerox, for example, is helping Morrison’s, one of the largest grocery chains in the U.K. manage its in-store customer communications, handling printed material for hundreds of stores weekly on a tight turnaround.
Xerox handles the end-to-end management of the campaigns and delivery process for marketing materials and has an on-site advisory team of print experts and buyers to ensure consistent quality. What’s more, Xerox connected stakeholders to the entire progress using a Web-based collaborative workflow tool that tracks issues and costs of each campaign.
4. Health Care
Navigating the health care system is a challenge, particularly when it comes to facilitating communications between insurance companies, the government and health care providers. Good thing there are experts out there, to simplify services through outsourcing.
“We’re going to see more movement away from our more traditional ways of processing claims to more integrated solutions between health care providers, government and the insurance companies,” Blodgett says. “As the providers have more electronic solutions that lends itself perfectly to outsourcing.”
5. Mortgage Solutions
Outsourcing is also moving into navigating such tough social issues as helping at-risk homeowners.
“One of the newer areas is home mortgages and addressing the government’s desire to help homeowners stay in their homes rather than simply evicting them,” says Blodgett. “We’ve been helping to consult and designing a way to communicate with the masses of people who are underwater on their mortgages.”
From retaining homeownership to on-demand parking management, outsourcing services has certainly moved beyond the typing pool. As businesses and organizations themselves continue to evolve, so too will the opportunities to outsource even more functions, allowing companies to focus entirely on delivering their core services to customers.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.com .