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BPO Sector in Philippines Not Just About Call Centers

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  • Posted: July 19, 2011

Manila, Philippines - In less than 10 years since business process outsourcing or BPO was introduced in the Philippines, the country is now considered as the world's number one center for voice-based services. 

Being one of the best English speaking countries that offer lower cost of labor, Philippines has been enjoying its position as one of the primary and preferred BPO destinations worldwide. 

The BPO industry is continuously growing.  By the year 2016, the Philippines' share of the global BPO market could deliver $25 billion in annual revenues and could employ up to 1.3 million Filipinos according to Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the umbrella organization of BPO companies in the country. 

However, for BPO industry executive Rembert de Villa, in order to sustain the growth of BPO industry a change in game plan from government and private sector stakeholders will be needed.  This change means maximizing the talent that Filipinos have.

Rembert de Villa is the head of Transformation Services in EXL, a BPO based in New York.  He said that "When companies around the world figure out the value chain of services, the Philippines will have an advantage.  We have a lot of professionals in finance, healthcare and legal services and our culture is aligned to the United States".

Filipinos are very talented and these talents should be maximized.  "We are just at the tip of the iceberg; the only job that can't be outsourced is the CEOs.  What we want is to have people that have PhD's, master's degrees, law degrees and other professionals working in BPOs," De Villa says in a recent interview.

De Villa's company EXL has 1000 employees in the Philippines and none of which works as a customer service agent.  He says the company currently focuses on healthcare-related services in the Philippines, with bulk of its workforce made up of nurses.  EXL intentionally did not put up call center operations because they want to do more complex things in the Philippines for their offshore clients.

Compared to the traditional belief during the start of outsourcing wherein only non-core services can be outsourced, De Villa says "That line is moving and now, even core services can be outsourced."

Aside from India, Philippines is the only country that can offer high quality outsourcing services for a lower price.  The government however should focus more in improving the educational system of the country in order to stand against the expansive educational system of its rival country, India.

The managing partner (India) of the Everest group, Gaurav Gupta told Business Nightly that the challenge for the Philippines is to add the next 500,000 workers in BPO industry, and the growth must come from non-voice where the country has a good foundation but having some branding or perception constraints. 

Sources:
– Philippines Emerging Fast in Non-voice BPO, Oneida News, 2/13
– International Outsourcing Summit Concept Note, for 10/11-12/2011
– Primer on Outsourcing in the Philippines 2011, 1/2011