Philippine BPOs to benefit from crisis

Summary:As global economy sinks amid financial meltdown, Philippine outsourcing firms will benefit from new foreign contracts, says Aussie call center tech provider.

PHILIPPINES--The domestic business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is set for a windfall in foreign contracts as the global economy continues its turbulent path, according to a technology provider of call center services.

Australia-based Call Design, which formally opened its Philippine office Friday, said the change in economic climate was one of the reasons why the company chose to move and set up a branch office in the Philippines.

Miles Stanton, managing director at Call Design, said the current financial crisis will spark further growth for the local BPO industry.

"We expect more and more foreign firms tapping the Philippines for their contact center, and other outsourced services, as the need to save on costs becomes more important," Stanton noted.

"This boom is happening now," he added, noting that the local BPO industry is already growing at an impressive 92 percent annual rate, in terms of seats.

Stanton's optimism is echoed in a July report by XMG. The Canadian research firm said the prevailing economic slowdown will boost contract for offshore countries such as the Philippines, by an additional 7 percent to 12 percent. XMG said this growth will be driven by multinational companies' objective to cut costs and outsource business processes to more cost-effective sites.

Local growth
Call Design will be targeting some of the biggest contact centers in the Philippines, Stanton said, and is currently "in negotiations" with four large contact centers.

According to Stanton, Call Design offers various contact center tools via the software-as-a-service model, including workforce management, call recording, speech recognition, unified communications and hosted services.

Headed by Jaime Sese, the Philippine office is a fully-owned subsidiary under the Australian company.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Sese said the company has initially hired seven personnel for the local office. "We are aiming to increase our local headcount by 120 people in the next two years," he said.

Most of the current staff will focus on sales, but increasingly, more personnel will be assigned to handle technical support for prospective clients, he noted.

Sese reiterated the requirements for local call centers to use tools that will help improve efficiencies and save on costs.

"With staff recruitment and retention being the number one challenge facing local contact centers today, and the constant pressure to reduce costs, businesses need to start thinking how to better optimize their contact centers," he said.

He added that Call Design is targeting to add some 50,000 seats for its contact center offerings in a few years' time. Sese said this target is achievable given the fact that the local BPO industry, particularly contact centers, continue to post impressive growth in the last eight years.

According to a recent survey released by Global Services and Tholons, Cebu City ranked No. 1 on their list of Top 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing Cities. The Philippine city was followed by China's Shanghai and Beijing, which took second and third places, respectively.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment, Outsourcing, SMBs

About

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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