Kenyan business process outsourcing firm Ken-Tech Data has signed a Sh22.5 million deal with an American company.
The, deal brokered by Samasource Inc, a non-profit organisation, will see Ken-Tech handle non-core functions of the US company for six months.
“We are delighted with this new deal, being one of the largest deals clinched by a business process outsourcing firm in recent times. It shows positive steps the relatively new industry is making on the international front,” said Munjal Shah, Ken-Tech Data director.
The contract will involve data entry and web information verification before being entered onto the client’s website, with industry experts saying that it will give Ken Tech exposure and build the company’s credibility among clients who would like to outsource their services to local BPO operators.
Ken-Tech is among the top three BPO operators in the country in terms of the amount of work they can handle.
The company has started the process on recruiting 80 new employees who will join its current workforce of 110.
While attributing the milestone to improved infrastructure, Mr Shah said that local BPOs stand a good chance of outshining established destinations in Asia and South America.
“We expect more growth in the industry immediately the government moves forward in effecting data protection law and impressing on internet service providers the need to lower prices,” he said. “Internet costs need to be lower than what is being offered now,” he added.
The price of internet connectivity is between $400 and $600 from the previous satellite charges of $4,500 per month per megabyte.
A study conducted by international consulting firm McKinsey and Company a year ago indicated the sector has the potential to generate Sh45 billion ($600 million) and 20,000 direct jobs by 2014.
Compared to other destinations, analysts said Kenya’s offer in terms of knowledgeable work force in both software development and data entry services keeps her above the competition.
Seal big contracts
Gilda Odera, the chairperson BPO, said the deal proves that it is easier for local firms to seal big contracts by collaborating with established firms abroad than to go it alone abroad.
“Collaborating with established organisations is the way to go. It’s all about credibility and once the client has been convinced by a company they are familiar with it breaks all the walls,” said Ms Odera.
Noah Bradach, Samasource vice president of sales, said the deal was as a result of remarkable improvements in Kenya’s telecommunication infrastructure and outsourcing industry.
“This announcement marks a major turning point in the BPO industry in East Africa and points to the success of the microwork model that Samasource is pioneering together with partners like Ken-Tech,” he said.
Ken Tech, a 400-seater company, caters for multiple projects for its international and domestic clients including knowledge process outsourcing, to information and technology enabled services, and voice and data operations.
The company is among other BPO firms, including Adept/Daproim, Flytech, and Intrepid that are local Samasource partners.
The organisation broker’s jobs such as data entry to its partners to enable marginalised people benefit from the opportunities via the internet.
Over the last year, the firm has brokered $300,000 worth of contracts for its partners.
“With a strong focus on alleviating poverty among marginalised communities, we have trained 16 Somali and Sudanese refugees to use the Web at a computer centre run by CARE International in the North part of Kenya,” said Mr Bradach in a Skype interview.
US firms then hire the recruits to perform simple online tasks such as compiling lists of corporate Web sites and tagging roads on maps.
The jobs, too menial for Americans, can pay $2 an hour.
Samasource hopes to train 60 more refugees in Kenya this year to do BPO related work.