Thursday, March 15, 2007

Start of Business Process Outsourcing In The Philippines

Manila - I believe that as early as the year 2000 when the Y2k IT computer failure (millenium bug ) started and was dreaded by most businesses here in the Philippines and all over the world, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has already began its new era of globalization.
Since the widespread news of effects of the dreaded Y2k IT computer failure way before the year 2000 which was believed to have the capabilities to shut down many businesses around the world, Philippines have anticipated it’s might. In fact, our country is one of the first one to look for the possible antidotes and cure to the said failure which can only be felt if you have IT industries supported by computers and businesses relying in the said technology. It is also the time we started seeing posts in major industries and businesses as saying “Y2K READY”. Remember?
Now has anyone ever wondered why? It is, i guess, simply because the Philippines during that time is already engaged in the cyber battle on related technologies in businesses, though not as up to date as the more industrialized countries like the United States of America. Still we can assume on this basis that globalization has taken its toll and reached an initial effect in our country. This occurrence is the best sign to consider on this matter.
Therefore we can proudly say that during those times, the boom in the industry of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) already hit the human resources reserve here in the Philippines. This serves as a clue that we have come to a point where the major role players in the said industry is already tapping the advantages of cost-related and cost-efficient services due to cheaper labor in outsourcing venues. This is not including the high manageability of human resources especially in the Philippines where English proficiency and professional inclination is not as hard to learn and not a problem at any instance being the third most efficient English-speaking country in the world.
This year, a significant increase in the need for human resources for the Outsourcing Industry alone has emerged to be both high and in demand. Take for example the many call centers that has nested by the numbers like mushrooms in the past 3 or 4 years. Most call center companies i heard even offer incentives for their employees just by finding and referring new recruits. I myself had been a referred applicant in the field. This is in that specific field alone which any investor can choose from in the many other relates in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
Years before as we all know, the IT - related industry, specially outsourcing, is only and exclusively being handled by either low or middle-income earning Americans as what we most see in many offices and businesses. This is because of the trend in business both by foreign and local that they are far even better as IT workers than we are. Now the tide is starting to turn around since those so-called industrialized countries like the U.S. and Europe is greatly relying and dependent on outsourcing services from India, Philippines, China, and other Asian countries. They have become more trusting to locals also and a few are lucky to fill up spaces of jobs that are occupied only by them before. In line to this, many big companies in the U.S. had declared that they cannot live without outsourcing because a significant part of their income comes from the savings they get through outsourcing services.
The executive director of Business Processing Association of the Philippines Mr. Mitchell Locsin said that the IT industry is currently employing some 245,000 people where 68% of which is involved in call center related work (this is one field of outsourcing only). That last 2005 alone, the industry’s total revenues reached a high of US$ 2.4 billion, almost doubling the 2004 data which is at US$ 1.5 billion (data from an article in Asia Times Online Copyright 2006).
To this date, shortage in availablity of fluent English speakers are being monitored due to the different rising speculations that English proficiency has greatly declined in the Philippines. Some of the causes of such shortages are pointing to factors like the excessive use of slang words learned through television which most of the youth are incorporating in original Tagalog dialect, the use of abbreviated words in cell phones which is very popular in almost all age levels and mostly in students who unconsciously divert true intellectual English learning into nonsense.
Luckily, the government has optimistically anticipated these alarming problems and has immediately invested in throwing bigger budgets for outsourcing industry trainings. One relevantly good example here is the existent offers by local municipalities to train students interested in IT related jobs and offering free trainings for medical transcriptioning, basic programming, computer secretarial (with excel word and power point), call center related jobs and pooling them out through on-the-job trainings. My wife is actually enrolled in one of these schemes by the government.
As the availability of outsourcing contracts and jobs pour out in the Philippines this coming year, expect the fast growth to be anticipated by the government and turn the table to be the number one dollar-earning industry to invest in. For the government to prosper in terms of human resources and revenues.
The tremendous growth in outsourcing in the Philippines truly has emerged so powerful to change the present status of our country from unemployment to shortage of human resources for Business Process Outsourcing - related jobs.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Business Process Outsourcing Pros and Cons

Philippines/ Manila - If you are looking for a partner to outsource services for the business you have, what would you consider as the first basis of choosing your partner? Would it be english proficiency? Would it be for the cost? Would it be for the security of the venue? Would it be because you want to save your business from near bankruptcy? Would it be for data security? Or would it be because outsourcing simply has most of its aspect contributing to a total business growth and convenience?

image from the webpage

I say all of the above plus my own set of guidelines, aspects and standard ways to follow in growing my business through outsourcing। Of course doing a market research is the best and the first step to do any business. Shifting from one venue to another by offshoring services leaves you to first consider before anything else the basics and elements you need to know about outsourcing a business. Include all possibilities of your research from venues, policies, company track records, type of clients, do’s and don’ts , communication aspects, human resources, etc and mostly about the service provider you are planning to outsource your services to.

English Proficiency:

Choosing your partner offshore especially in outsourcing services for your business, must first comply through a test if communication aspect in terms of English proficiency is at a considerable status.This is because in any business, communication is the most important in improving relations with human resources (workforce) and clients plus proper management of company liabilities. It is also a common knowledge that for any business to grow, communication rate through a common medium is both a necessity and a basic need at the same time.


By cost here i mean is not just to save on company expenses but also of providing your business the best service through a cost-efficient choice in offshoring the outsourcing needs for your company. Take note that going for a cost-efficient service is very different from cutting company expenditures per se. There is no need to actually cut expenditures and make your other resources suffer in the long run, instead you can resort for the newest cutting edge trend in the IT business community - “outsourcing” or “offshore outsourcing“.
This the most critical part in the Outsourcing Industry today because lately, many outsourcing venues have suffered different degrees of backlashes like India for example in ” The HSBC Outsourcing Center Fraud “. Although these happenings have greatly affected the industry, many would still prefer to outsource services because of the great pressures in cutting costs of their business. Since security is the most talk of the town topic of debates in most businesses, as saying that it poses a great threat to let endo-resources or third party handle company data which makes it very vulnerable security wise. Others say that the same thing happens elsewhere in the world after all. That includes the United States (where a vast source of outsourcing clients come from), so there is really no big deal in coping up with security problems when it comes to ” offshore outsourcing “. Everybody knows the risks, so all they can do is to put up measures to prevent such occurrences, be prepared and that’s it.

Direct Communication with Client:

Direct communication with the client is eliminated in outsourcing, therefore, you should provide yourself some measures to maintain and maximize efforts to monitor the transactions and data of your consumers through your own unique process. Whatever you resort to is all up to you. After all, through outsourcing, you get the advantage of drawing large amounts of your resources and attention for the use of the more important issues within your company to avoid dissatisfaction on both sides and build solid relationships with your customers or clients.
Aside from the deletion of direct communication, a delay in such aspect is mostly to be resolved also. This could lead to delays in project implementation and the growth and extension progress of your company may suffer as well. This causes you to be very dependent on your outsource service provider which you would not like because of possible drawbacks. This is in cases where the outsource service provider backs out its service to you and leaves you to wander in the abyss leading to an even bigger problem of finding another in a rush.

Level of Performance:

Outsourcing is based on fundamental principles like any other ways and means in any business and if these principles are correctly and smoothly applied in building a relationship along the process, the two parties involved will most likely have a harmonious, effective and successful duo. This is one of the keys for a contract in outsourcing to materialize, otherwise, dissatisfaction may result to an early termination of any agreement.
Scope of service - The outsourcing party should determine and make a clear set of guidelines that they expect to be performed by the third party or by the outsource service provider. This is the only way for the first to achieve a comfortable level in the process of turning over the specifics, materials, documents, data, records, goods, informations and the like and at the same time for the other party to make a clear vision of the scope of work expected of them and make sure that the first gets whatever he pays for. This will also be a reference point, accountability wise in the part of the service provider and take note should be done up-front prior to signing any contract or agreement.
It has been a common mistake for most business owners to compromise and let the outsource service provider dictate the tempo of which way their business is going including the level of performance and specific service rendered or needed by their company. This leads to the formulation of service limitations.

Service Limitations:

Boundaries with respect to specific components of service are to be set solely and determined by the outsourcing party or business owner to avoid unnecessary charges not agreed upon by the two parties involved. Take for example accounting matters which involves a certain aspect of service including payroll, expenditures, overhead expenses, numerical values etc. “Remember to be specific at all times to avoid miscommunication lapses”.

Deals and Contracts:

Long term relationships are only achieved if both parties are able to present each other in full effort a flexible deal with which to lessen the risks if not to eliminate on having to assert automatic reserves regarding small differences in terms of service of the third party and in terms of payment on the other.
These terms of payment is all about putting up extra considerations like incentives to encourage the outsource service provider to renew an agreement. According to researches by InfoServer - “There is a remarkable tendency for companies to start to chafe at their outsourcing relationships at about the second year; this is often when contract adjustments are needed. This “two-year itch” phenomenon is another reason why a three-year contract makes sense. An adjustment process can take three to six months and, if the supplier isn’t willing to work with the buyer, they’re not far from being able to go out to market. That implied threat of going out to the market puts the buyer in a strong position to make sure that there will be fair and equitable negotiations”.

Flexibility vs. Long-term Relationship:

Since by its very nature, outsourcing has two parties involved, therefore, expect two colliding forces to cope up with unexpected changes on both side and hopefully take the same path through considerate measures to integrate and go the same direction in the long run to promote each others interests either way in harmony. This is of course by way of developing harmoniously compatible relationship for a long period of time and in return flourishing in each other’s field without having to compromise the flexibility of their formed agreement or contract.
Although a long term relationship is inherently inflexible in the outsourcing industry, for the reason that we all don’t have the ability to exactly predict the future, it will be flexibility itself that will have to deal with the unexpected changes.

Develop Long-term Relationships but Short-term Contracts:

Long-term relationships are never out of date in the outsourcing industry, but short term contracts are looked up to being developed. Why? Simply because in the IT outsourcing industry for example, we all know that the status of computers where the rate of development and change in terms of speed is incredibly very fast. It would therefore be very ridiculous to develop a long term contract ( say, a ten-year ) outsourcing services for the sale of such product if no one knows what the desktop may look like in a year or two. The outsourcing party therefore needs to structure and forge a contract that would be very virtually possible and realistic in nature. A long term master contract for a relationship ranging up to ten years if possible must therefore be achieved to attain flexibility ( in the supplier’s interest ) but open to adjustments to the short-term service agreements underneath it as necessary ( in the outsourcer’s interest ) and lastly, put added incentives along the line ( for both party’s interests ).

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Business Process Outsourcing and Getting Links of Love

Getting links of love as i call it bound to your business in the internet is not really as hard to get these days. First you got to have link baiting techniques to list in your notepad or word document so that you have a clear vision and plan as to what exact steps you could possibly take to be able to achieve the links that you are planning to get or provide for your on-line business. If you have already prepared a long list of steps to take, then, the next step is to go look for sites that you can link with or exchange links with and enlist them also on your file together with the list of steps to take. Of course, these sites have to be as relevant as possible to your business site for optimization purposes and getting the relevance and importance you seek from search engines.

In order to get those links you have to at least build a reputation to your business site in a manner that you have to submit it to directories and possibly make some opening articles or press releases and some forum posts to make your importance in the web more distinct from the point of view of the search engines, bots, spiders and crawlers. This could be a good start for opening up a site that you can possibly make the most of in terms of income and revenue.

After having links to your site, then the most important takes over which is to have a webmaster's account to handle the marketing analysis with respect to traffic, return of investment and optimization of pages for a maximum handling of your outsourcing business and the relative needs to increase your revenue or income. After having a webmaster's account, writing a few press releases and doing or outsourcing your continuous directory submissions, then i believe that you are good to ge in maintaining the outsourcing business that you have and maybe for the time being, you could just go look for forums that could possibly help you out with the necessary things and musts that you might just need to roll the business down and get it going for quite a long time.