Posts Tagged ‘BPO’

Banking and Financial Services Companies Turn to Outsourcing as Regulatory Pressures Squeeze Margins–Everest Group

August 27th, 2014

The global business process outsourcing (BPO) market in the banking and financial services (BFS) sector witnessed sluggish growth of 9outsourcing16 to 10 percent in 2013. However, a rebound can be expected as the economy finds firmer footing and as service providers invest in emerging markets and high-end services such as analytics, digital banking solutions, and expertise in regulatory compliance and risk management.

New-age consumers of banking services–those who prefer banking using digital channels like the Internet and mobile apps–are forcing banks to change quickly, and these changes in turn are driving the shift for BFS BPO providers.

These findings and more are discussed in a new Everest Group report, Banking and Financial Services (BFS) BPO Annual Report 2014 – Low on Growth, High on Regulations – BFS BPO Adapts to the “New Normal.”

Download the Free, 11-Page Report Preview Deck
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In addition, a free Everest Group webinar on “Banking and Capital Markets ITO–Trends, Regulations, Technology” is available for viewing on demand.

“We’re seeing some holdover trends from 2013 picking up steam in BFS BPO in 2014,” said Anupam Jain, practice director at Everest Group. “For example, capital markets buyers are increasingly looking to service providers to help manage risk and assist in meeting regulatory requirements. We’re likely to see this accelerate, particularly in Europe.

“We’re also seeing emergence of onshore resourcing by service providers, mainly as a result of regulatory concerns, especially in lending. And in banking, we are seeing a strong emphasis on digital channels as these are finding increased favor with customers and banks continue to shutter brick-and-mortar branches.”

High-resolution graphics illustrating the report’s key takeaways can be included in news coverage, with attribution to Everest Group. Graphics include:

•  BFS BPO continues its steady growth path.
•  Increased activity from small and mid-sized players has resulted in declining ACVs in both banking and capital markets BPO
•  Adoption of complex services in BFS BPO
•  Regulatory downpour squeezing margins? Outsourcing to the rescue!


India claws back BPO business from arch rival Philippines

August 26th, 2014

Today, technology is the great enabler for pretty much every kind of business proposition being schemed. However everyone is more or less also aware of how brutal the rapidly evolving world of technology can be on the fate of existing businesses—somethioutsourcing14ng I wrote about here  when looking at the future of Xerox through the lens of the diverging fortunes of Kodak and Fuji. In India, the trajectory of former phone tzar and India’s most beloved handset maker Nokia illustrates this example more poignantly than any other company. But for an entire industry to go up in smoke almost overnight is surreal – and that’s exactly what seems to have happened to India’s Business Process Outsourcing Industry, especially its voice based businesses.

According to India’s top industry apex body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the country witnessed a massive 50 percent flight of BPO business—currently pegged at around US$25 billion—last year. This figure includes both low-end voice businesses as well as back-office accounting and financial type work, but the main flight is in voice-based businesses. The primary culprit? India’s nemesis, the Philippines. Apparently, the Americans did a better job of colonizing them than the Brits did us, since the country’s large, English speaking populace there can speak the language fluently and with a natural American accent. Moreover, 30 percent of the graduates in Philippines are employable compared to 10 percent in India, where a lot of time is spent on the painful task of training new recruits in an industry where churn rates have reached an astonishing 55 percent.

It is ironic that the same disruption that India engineered in the West with its IT and BPO outsourcing model is exactly what is happening to it today, thanks to the Philippines. According to Tholons, a research outfit that tracks trends in this industry via its Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations for 2014 list, Manila is now the 2nd most important venue for BPO businesses after Bangalore, pushing Mumbai one step lower to number three. Sure, other Indian cities still have a strong showing on the list (Delhi is 4th, Chennai is 5th, Hyderabad is 6th and Pune is 7th), but Philippine cities are rapidly gaining prominence. Seven Philippine cities were in the Top 100 and two—Manila and Cebu, ranked 8th—were in the Top 10. Other parts of the world are also gaining traction in this sector such as Krakow, Poland (9th), and Dublin, Ireland (10th).

Assocham earlier this year also stated that as much as 70 percent of incremental Call Center and voice business in India for this year will also be lost to foreign competitors. And, it’s apparently only going to get worse. “It is estimated that in the ongoing decade, India might lose US$ 30 billion in terms of foreign exchange earnings to Philippines, which has become the top destination for Indian investors,” Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said. The new Indian government’s fixation with promoting Hindi over other languages may not help the situation any.

So it must be some sort of relief for Indian industry folk to see that the country has been able to claw back some businesses from the Philippines . Apparently, a high churn rate there along with a perception of increased risk in doing such a large volume of business in a small country have been some factors helping nudge some customers back to India. Also, apparently Indians in BPOs are also good at executing sales functionalities which companies are interested in tacking on today as they look towards going beyond just the cost-centre approach by milking their BPOs for some revenue. The Economic Times reports that Telstra and Best Buy are companies who have relocated to India because of this ‘sales’ factor. Aegis BPO, which is part of the Essar Group, apparently moved 600 jobs to India from the Philippines for this very reason.

Then, there’s the domestic business angle. Ten years ago, BPOs would turn their noses up at the thought of going after local business, but today it could very well turn out to be the lynchpin of their existence. Aegis, for instance, is looking to grow by a massive 5 percentage points just because of the boom in the banking sector thanks to the drive towards financial inclusiveness of the rural population. Adding 300 million bank accounts will mean an unparalleled deluge of BPO-related work. Consequently, Aegis has already begun snapping up business from India’s public sector banks including Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India and Bank of India, including the setting up of a 1,200-seat delivery center in Bhopal and Gurgaon for Punjab National Bank earlier this year.

There’s also another emerging trend boosting the fortunes of India’s BPO future—one that leverages the very strength that made India an IT outsourcing hub in the first place. The days of pure-voice plays is fast fading. Companies are increasingly seeing a tech component to call center functionalities, starting off with email and chat integration into existing voice infrastructure setups and then more sophisticated and flexible delivery models such as Platform BPO and cloud based-Business Process as a Service (BPaaS).

Research outfit Tholons suggests that with these kinds of emerging innovations in the BPO realm, India will continue to dominate the world of BPO and in some ways prevent the demise of the sector that was otherwise imminent.


ICT/BPO sector eyes rural areas

August 26th, 2014

RURAL Impact Outsourcing is being pushed in a bid to provide rural areas the opportunity to be actively involved in the information communication technology (ICT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.outsourcing13

Lizabel G. Holganza, president of National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), told reporters they are looking for various measures to engage rural communities participate in the ICT sector, and one of these ways is through rural impact outsourcing, where some sectors of the community. such as the out-of-school youths or the women or those who did not finish proper schooling — can be taught simple but internet=driven ICT work like image tagging.

She said this can be an effective strategy for areas that are prone to conflicts.

“When people are engage in productive work, they will not think of conflicts,” Holganza said.

She said rural impact outsourcing has the capability to bring changes in the community through generation of jobs and economic growth.

She said through the jobs generated by the rural impact outsourcing, it will lead an individual to live a much productive life and giving them no reason tp move out of their community.

For Mindanao, they are planning to implement this strategy in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

But she was quick to add that before implementing such strategy, there is still the need to look into the community’s readiness.

“Because, sometimes, even if they are the ones we help, if the mindset of the people in that area is not ready to receive that kind of help, it will not work,” Holganza said.

She added that there is still the problem when it comes to the perception of the ICT and BPO industry.

“In many instances, we still need to really drive [up] the appreciation of the ICT and BPO industry. Not all sectors of the society appreciate it as of now,” Holganza said.

She said rural impact outsourcing is now a growing trend among big multi-national companies that are committed to help those in the rural areas.


Taking BPO jobs to rural shores

August 26th, 2014

It was the experience he gained in running the Indian operations of a multinational IT company that was into outsourcing and busineoutsourcing12ss process management that gave him the idea for his venture. On his return to India in 2003 after stints abroad, Murali Vullaganti, as Xansa India’s Managing Director, was responsible for setting up centres in Chennai, Noida and Pune. He was recruiting graduates, including from small towns and villages in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The rationale
Those recruited from rural areas had to be trained and employed in centres in the cities. Their salary would be much higher than what they would have earned if they continued to remain in their villages, but it was still not enough for them to save and send money to their families. “Neither were they benefiting nor were the families getting anything,” says Murali.

“That is when it occurred to me that if these people are given the required training and if they can do the job, then why bring them to the cities. Why don’t we take the jobs to the rural areas and set up centres and employ them there,” says 54-year-old Murali, a Master’s in Maths from IIT-Kharagpur and an M.Tech in Computer Science from BITS-Pilani, explaining the rationale behind RuralShores Business Services, the business process outsourcing venture that he launched.

Murali worked in the US and Singapore for about 20 years, in various companies, the last of which was EDS. He returned to India and joined Xansa, which he quit in 2006 and started working on the concept of a rural business process outsourcing business. Murali and five friends kicked off the business in 2008 with a seed capital of ₹1 crore. The first centre started functioning in February 2009 from Bagepalli, about 100 km from Bangalore.

The idea, according to Murali, was to have 500 centres, one in each rural district in the country. Each centre would employ about 200 people. The 500 centres were to come up in 10-15 years; now, RuralShores will achieve this goal by 2025, five years later than envisaged. Today, it has 19 centres in 10 States, employing over 2,000 people and delivering over 45 processes to more than 30 blue chip clients. RuralShores has centres in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab. By March 2015, it will have 27 centres and almost 4,000 employees, with probably Kerala and Meghalaya added to the list.

Murali acknowledges that the initial years were difficult as the market was sceptical of outsourcing their business process work to rural areas, even though the promoters of RuralShores had a credible track record. “When you go to the market, they have their own doubts about the quality of work, the data confidentiality and technology, availability of power. It took us almost three-and-a-half years to convince the market that this is possible.” RuralShores’ first client was Payback, which runs a loyalty card programme, and the first process it handled for it was e-mail correspondence.

Expanding clients list
Murali admits that getting the first few clients was difficult, but that is where his standing in the industry and that of his co-founders as well as the network all of them had built came in handy.

“In any business, the first few clients will come only based on trust, the trust they have in you and the confidence in your ability to deliver. Same thing happened here,” he says. Today, RuralShores has banks, telcos, retail players and insurance players as its clients. The work it handles includes internal processes that covers financial and accounting, like accounts payable, accounts receivable, vendor payment, invoice indexing and HR-related processes; insurance claims processing or new policy enrolment; new account enrolment or loan origination processing for banks; sales tracking process and customer help desk for retail players.”

It has raised ₹40 crore so far from HDFC Ltd and Lok Capital, an impact investment venture capital firm. It may raise more money depending on growth plans.


BPO sector in PH yields modern-day heroes

August 25th, 2014

A hero is a person who can make a positive difference in the lives of his or her loved ones, co-workers, customers and the community at large. In the Philippines, there are thousands of such heroes—and they don’t even need to leave the cououtsourcing10ntry, according to the country’s largest private employer, Convergys.

The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry continues to grow. As a result, a million Filipinos now enjoy rewarding jobs and rising careers within the country while they contribute to the nation’s economy and help in improving quality of life.

As we celebrate National Heroes’ Day, we find examples of five modern-day Filipino heroes—diverse BPO employees who inspire with their exemplary stories of bringing positive change to others’ lives as well as their own.

Family hero

Mikee Malig, 25, was a sophomore at UP Diliman when his studies were disrupted by family and livelihood misfortune.

With their finances in disarray and his mother’s health worsening, he was the only one left to support the family. Mikee quit school, but found work as a call center agent.

“As the eldest, I took responsibility. When Mama got sick, I knew I had to step up,” he explained.
His earnings, first as an agent and then as team leader, enabled Mikee to care for his mother’s treatment while putting his brother through school. Thankfully, his mother’s health improved, and his brother earned a scholarship, also in UP Diliman.

Mikee also resumed his studies, benefiting from Convergys’ educational assistance program and now just 18 units shy of graduating—all the while excelling in his work.
Successfully managing his own team and delivering outstanding performance since he joined the company, Mikee for several times was named top team leader in the Convergys MDC 100 site in Quezon City, becoming one of the “Best of the Best” in his program.

“I couldn’t have accomplished this on my own. My family inspires me and my supervisors and colleagues have always been supportive and understanding,” he shared.
Mikee always sees the silver lining in every dark cloud. “Your situation might not be what you wanted, but it is what you have now. Just turn the equation around.”

Starting over

Maria Theresa “Peachy” Ong Sichon was a registered nurse working in a US hospital when the US financial crisis struck in 2007. As opportunities declined, she found herself on a plane back to Bacolod, wondering how she would provide for her two daughters.

This was yet another one of life’s U-turns for Peachy, who had recovered from a failed marriage and tried her hand at entrepreneurship before taking up nursing which, in the early 2000s, seemed like the key to a better future.

“I was considering what to do next when I heard that Convergys was opening here in Bacolod,” Peachy recalled. “So, I gave it a try, and the rest is history.”
From starting out as an agent in 2008, Peachy consistently grew in leadership. She is now an operations manager and program head of an almost 150-member team.

“I believe the drive to succeed is greater when your inspiration is your children. It’s important that I set a good example,” Peachy shared. “I’m proud of how responsible my children have become and the efforts they make to help out in their own way. My eldest daughter was a scholar throughout her college life in the University of St. La Salle. She also joined the Convergys recruitment team so she is now helping share the job opportunities to others.”

Peachy and her daughters indeed found greener pastures and are touching lives in the process, right at home in Bacolod.
An indomitable spirit

Commuters taking the Sta. Rosa, Laguna-Alabang route every day might have encountered a bespectacled lady, usually with a ponytail and a sunny smile. She would carry herself with a dignified bearing, helped along by a walking cane in her hand. She is Mildred dela Cruz, a mother, widow, and top-performing agent at Convergys Alabang.
Mildred was only about a year old when she was stricken with polio.

“As a little girl, I felt a pinch in my heart when people looked at me with pity or curiosity. But my parents told me not to mind it. They told me, ‘Mildred, when they get to know you, they would appreciate what you can do,’” she shared.

Indeed, she has shown the world what she can do. In the late 1980s to 1990s, Mildred was in the civilian staff of the Armed Forces where her work included writing speeches for the chief of staff.

She moved on to corporate work afterwards and found the love of her life—Levy—with whom she shared many similarities. They were both left-handed, born only a month apart, and he, too, had been stricken with polio as a child. In 1996, the couple was blessed with a healthy baby boy.

Joining Convergys was actually her husband’s idea. He told Mildred about a great place for her to work that was closer to home.

“He even picked my outfit for my job interview and drove me there, making sure I was early,” Mildred reminisced.

Five months after she started work at Convergys, she got a phone call at the office. Her husband succumbed to a heart attack.

“Needless to say, I was devastated.”

Slowly she picked up the pieces, all the while continuing work and transitioning to the life of a single mother. Her son, now 18 years old, keeps her going.
“He’s the living memento of my husband. I tell him that ‘even if I have to crawl on the ground to support you, I would do it.’”

“It helps a lot that at work, it feels like you’re part of a family,” she said. “This is what’s good about the company. We don’t discriminate against physical abilities, age, appearance or orientation. What we see is your ability to do the job well.”

Mildred diligently comes to work each day and is a high-performing agent. Her advice to those facing life’s challenges—“never give up.”


Employment in BPO sector hits 1-M mark

August 22nd, 2014

Employment in the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry has already hit the one million mark, or 1 percent of the population, as more and more foreign firms outsource work in the Philippines.Outsourcing4

Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and chief executive Jose Mari P. Mercado told the Inquirer that this year’s target of 1.04 million jobs would likely be attained by end-September.

“The employment figure from the first quarter was 930,000. We would have already met one million. And I won’t be sur prised if by the end of the third quarter we will already meet [the 2014 goal],” Mercado said.

The IT-BPM industry (also referred to as business process outsourcing or BPO) was also on track to cap 2014 with revenues worth $18 billion, he said. “I am confident that we will meet our targets at the rate we’re going now.”

Mercado cited the expansion of a number of companies as well as the tight office space vacancy rate as among the indicators that the industry was “maintaining the growth we achieved in the previous years.”

Last year, the sector generated $15 billion in revenues, up 17 percent from $13.2 in 2012. Employment stood at 900,000 as of end-2013.


Why RPA Serves as a Lifeline to the BPO Industry

August 22nd, 2014

Businesses demand that business process outsourcers (BPOs) increase their productivity while reducing costs. However, as BPOs Outsourcing2realize the limitations of labor arbitrage, they must seek innovative ways to gain competitive advantages by completing core operations quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. Robotic process automation (RPA) addresses this challenge by presenting a third alternative to onshoring and offshoring; serving as a completely new way for BPOs to manage processes across global industries.

BPOs that implement RPA can achieve drastically improved productivity levels since software robots (unlike humans who require breaks) can work around the clock, analyzing and extrapolating data efficiently. Not only that, but software robots are unsusceptible to human error – thereby boosting the accuracy of operations. As a result, BPOs can experience financial gains by quickly identifying the right opportunities to reduce debt and avoid unnecessary costs.

In addition to being able to complete core functions efficiently and accurately, outsourcers who leverage RPA also experience better security, audit, analytics and governance. Because most regulated industries need to demonstrate completely transparent and audited processing, RPA is helpful to BPOs since it offers powerful analytics capabilities and records of rules fired and transactions executed. Additionally, RPA allows BPOs to run in local jurisdictions. Because many types of data cannot leave host countries, this capability is revolutionary – enabling BPOs to execute locally while being controlled remotely.

While RPA may seem like a no-brainer, up to this point, many outsourcers have struggled to find a way to implement software robots into existing systems. The problem that many BPOs face is determining how to shed or reallocate human capital. To overcome this challenge and reap the benefits of RPA, BPOs must first identify processes that can be seamlessly automated. Routine, rules-based and high-volume processes that are susceptible to high-error rates are ideal for RPA. Any process that requires data transfer across multiple systems of record (which are often customer specific) can be achieved through software robots, since they can help drive customer systems of record without the expense of technical integration. By incorporating RPA into operations, BPOs can also develop one master process that the robots can translate to clients’ specific systems.

Once BPOs identify tasks that can be taken on by software robots, the next step is to run pilots that test technological challenges and evaluate how much time, and at what cost, the RPA solution completes the job(s) at hand. By assessing quantifiable data, BPOs can then determine the value of implementing RPA and its potential to drive business operations and savings.

Already, BPOs are seeing results through RPA implementation – experiencing better customer service and quality, dramatic process improvements, cost savings, and redeployment of resources to more strategic, revenue generating functions. As RPA becomes increasingly accepted as a better way to do work, BPOs will find that it is no longer a competitive advantage, but a must in order to stay relevant.

Just last year, BPOs started to explore RPA with pilots, investment reviews and works projects. Today, these projects have dramatically matured and are being deployed throughout the enterprise. We’re seeing outsourcers build distinct practices and centers of excellence around RPA, and investing in new technologies, methods and frameworks to harness the advantages of software robots. According to a Gartner report, eight out of the 15 largest service providers the analyst firm interviewed stated that they have either signed deals (or are in the process of signing deals) to incorporate autonomic and cognitive platforms into business processes, applications and infrastructure offerings.

In order to stay current and relevant, then, BPOs – if they’re not already – must consider how to work RPA into their operational processes. Not only will they find that it boosts efficiency and accuracy while cutting costs, but, according to Charles Sutherland, an analyst at Horses for Sources Research – the leading authority on the global services industry – RPA could even change “the way that we empower business advisors, knowledge workers, and judgment based role staff by removing the mundane and allowing them to truly spend their time on the remaining parts of the business process which can’t be broken down entirely into business rules.”


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