I’m currently at the 2012 International Outsourcing Summit (IOS) being held this week in downtown Manila, Philippines. It’s an exciting time to hold the event in this country, with rapid growth expected in the next 5 years. Just last month the Straits Times claimed “The Philippines expects to boost its revenues from call centres to nearly US$15 billion (S$18.4 billion) by 2016, sustaining its three-year lead over rival India.”
But that growth won’t come without challenges. One of which is the development of an agile, innovative, but also highly cost competitive technology platform. In this industry every dollar counts.
Before we dive into technology let’s take a step back and look at the wider issues. It’s a few days into the event, I’ve given it some thought and after listening to some panels and speakers, here’s my summary of the pressures facing the BPO sector:
I asked a colleague of mine, who runs an outsourcing firm, what his biggest business obstacles were and he told me it’s ‘speed to market’. Companies need to move fast due to economic challenges/changes and they need agile BPO’s who can move with these changes.
Obviously technology is not the only answer to ensuring rapid growth. But it does play a pivotal role in delivering competitive advantage and cost reduction. If the Philippines BPO market is going to reach its’ potential then discussion at IOS suggests that a number of key technology questions need to be answered fast:
From a contact centre application perspective, it’s quite the technology dilemma: pay too much provisioning for the peaks or lose money when you can’t service them. It’s clear that BPOs, like a business in any other sector, need to be more agile – from both a business and commercial perspective. You also need to be able to launch new campaigns faster than your competitors? Being able to do so will win you much needed business.
In markets such as the UK, US and Australia, many outsourcers have started to answer these questions through the use of agile cloud infrastructure. These outsourcers only ever pay for what they use – on a per minute basis and can launch new campaigns in days and benefit from live DR at no extra cost. They are also able to test new markets and products faster, using real-time measures to improve learning and refine offerings and services, here and now.
Looking at the challenges discussed at the IOS it is clear to me that cloud contact centre applications could deliver significant commercial benefits for many BPO companies in the Philippines. After all, success simply means keeping one step ahead of the competition.