Editorial: Opportunity calls-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
MOST of us still refer to them as “call centers,” but the companies that drive the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines have long expanded their reach.
Many Americans who call their banks to ask about loan services or to report complaints about their phone’s features will probably end up speaking with a Filipino.
Yet while contact centers still account for a majority of jobs in the Philippine BPO industry, a rising number of firms now provide other services, which include accounting, health care information management and “creative services” like animation and design.
Cebu’s potential for more success in the BPO industry is highlighted by the fact that, starting today, the chief executives of BPO corporations will meet in an international conference in Cebu.
They represent a wide range, “from small companies to the exceptionally large ones,” many of whom do not yet operate in Cebu, said Jojo Uligan, executive director of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), which organized the International Contact Center Conference and Expo (ICCCE).
The selection does more than confirm that Cebu “is the next big thing for contact centers outside Metro Manila.”
It also creates the opportunity for local leaders and educators to think about what Cebu is doing well and, more importantly, what we can still do to attract BPO investments to these shores.
It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore.
The BPO industry “grew by 18 percent in revenue terms in 2012 to US$18 billion,” said the World Bank in its Philippine Economic Update, released in May 2013. It is estimated “to have provided about 800,000 direct jobs and over three million indirect jobs.”
That’s hundreds of thousands of families whose breadwinners had the choice to work close to home, rather than seek jobs abroad.
Many challenges await, of course, including the challenge of providing better infrastructure, more reasonable costs of doing business and workers equipped with the right skills.
But after days of relentless gloom from disasters, rough weather and waylaid “pork,” this week’s contact center conference in Cebu should remind us: Chin up, opportunities await.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2013.