‘Stunning outlook for contact center sector’-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Thursday, August 29, 2013
THE outlook for the country’s contact center sector continues “to be nothing short of staggering,” industry stakeholders said yesterday at the International Contact Center Conference and Expo (ICCCE).
With revenues of US$8.7 billion in 2012, the contact centers dominate the business process management (BPM) space of the country, said Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo.
Contact center revenues grew 18 percent last year from $7.4 billion in 2011 and the industry accounts for two-thirds of the BPM industry’s workforce. Some 30 percent of them work in “next wave” cities, pouring in P2.25 billion in monthly incomes dispersed throughout their localities and neighboring areas.
Montejo said such a performance supports the government’s agenda for promoting growth in the countryside.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) hopes to support the contact center sector by working with it to provide qualified human resources for the industry, which has struggled with the need for more talent with better English language skills.
In collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, the DOST is in the final stages of testing for Leap, which stands for Learning English Application for the Pinoy. They gathered language experts with software experts to conduct the e-learning platform that would enhance common areas where Filipinos find difficulty in speaking English—pronunciation, propositions, idioms, grammatical errors such as subject-verb agreement, intonation and stress.
They hope to make it available for free early next year.
For Gartner researcher TJ Singh, offshoring will be a permanent thing as companies try to lighten their assets. The Philippines, he said, would do well to take advantage of its current position as the top destination for voice operations.
In a survey done by Gartner in July, the Philippines showed a strong talent for contact centers and back office business process outsourcing, but had a fair availability of talent who could conduct fair application services, remote infrastructure management and service/help desk services.
India, on the other hand, had a good availability of talent to serve all five.
Some 400 participants from the Philippines and around the world converged at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa for the first day of the conference. The conference continues today and tomorrow, covering a wide range of topics concerning the contact center industry.
Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) president Benedict Hernandez said they decided to hold the conference outside Metro Manila for the first time in its nine-year run so they could support contact center locations outside of the capital.
Hernandez said Cebu, after Manila, is the country’s “brightest star”, employing at least 90,000. Cebu and Manila are the only locations in the country listed in advisory firm Tholons’ top 10 list of outsourcing destinations.
The country’s contact center industry is projected to reach $16.3 billion by 2016 and employ 915,000, the CCAP’s survey of its 80 member-companies revealed.
While the United States continues to have the highest share of the market, Hernandez said its share has dipped from 51 percent last year to 46 percent this year, which means the Philippines is seeing clients from other countries and are not just depending on the US.
Australia and New Zealand, he said, are among the fastest growing markets for Philippine contact centers.
The ICCCE is CCAP’s flagship event, held annually for nine years running.
More than 60 CEOs from CCAP’s member-companies are expected to attend the roundtable discussions.
Topics include managing the effects of currency fluctuations on business competitiveness, the emerging geo-political forces and their effects on outsourcing, risk-proofing growth plans and strategies, talent sourcing and integrating social media, big data, analytics and mobile computing in customer relations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 29, 2013.