FROM the eighth spot in the Tholons 100 in the previous year, Cebu City is now the seventh best site in the world for outsourcing in 2016.
All cities in the Philippines improved their rankings, except for Manila, which remained in the second spot, after Bangalore in India.
The information came from the managing director of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedfit), who added that Dumaguete City joined the top 100 list. Its taking the 93rd rank brought to nine the number of Philippine cities on the list.
“One of the important shifts in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region in this year’s Top 100 List was the rise of Cebu City in the Philippines—moving upwards, from 8th to 7th spot,” said Tholons in a report, which Cedfit managing director Jun Sa-a forwarded to Sun.Star Cebu.
Improvements in infrastructure and an enlarging talent pool have allowed the city’s IT-BPM sector to sustain recent developmental gains, said the global outsourcing and investments advisory firm.
In addition, Cebu City has also seen an excellent mix of IT-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) companies over the years and a healthy mix of services cutting across all three major service lines, namely: Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
By the end of 2015, Cebu had 117,000 IT-BPM workers in 200 companies. This is a huge leap from 2001. Sa-a recalled that there were only five IT-BPM companies at that time, which employed some 1,200 workers.
“Tholons remains bullish on the trajectory and long-term potential of Cebu City as a global services outsourcing destination and there is an opportunity for Cebu City to capitalize on the prevailing weakness of global competition,” the report reads. The economic turmoil in several of Latin America’s key economic markets, for instance, has pushed companies to refocus activities on proven locations like Cebu and Metro Manila, Tholons added.
While Cebu saw improvement in its rankings, Tholons also noted that it has not been marketed enough. “The industry identity remains somewhat BPO-centric in the global services outsourcing marketplace,” it said.
Sa-a believes fostering academe-industry linkage is vital to further improve Cebu’s IT-BPM and its ranking in the global arena.
For instance, through Cedfit, IT graduates in Cebu and the rest of Visayas are encouraged to take the IT certification exam or the Philippine IT General Certification Exam (Phil IT GCE) that will be helpful when applying for a job in IT-BPM companies. Training in the academe for teachers was also initiated to improve the local education system in the field of IT.
Sa-a also acknowledged the importance of improving Cebu’s mass transport infrastructure to support growth.
“Based on feedback from the big centers operating in Cebu, our operations here are very competitive globally so it is either at par or even better than the NCR operations or other global sites,” said Sa-a.
Large multinational companies that have large-scale operations in Cebu include Lexmark, JP Morgan Chase, Aegis, Accenture, Teletech, IBM, and Convergys.
Quoting the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Sa-a said Cebu’s IT-BPM sector is expected to grow by 15 to 18 percent in the next five years.