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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is Philippine business process outsourcing a smart move? Here are the tough nine questions to replicate information technology outsourcing, especially in the third world country

Outsourcing firms in the third world country like the Philippines formally set out a few years ago and at present gradually make a boom. In fact, there are pros and cons of outsourcing, but one thing to make it sure that here in Cebu, it soars high on top of the others. Outsourcing is being done in roughly 2/3rds of organizations for three principal “information technology” reasons: cost savings, efficiency and business value--and to cushion the impact on global IT dissemination and at the same time to level the playing field for small organizations. 

Presently, outsourcing takes many forms. Organizations hire service providers to handle distinct business processes, such as benefits management. But some organizations outsource whole operations. The most common forms are information technology outsourcing and business process outsourcing.

A few questions had been preliminarily asked for us to respond to the IT needs in the third world country. The type of job is highly recommended and it is the chosen company to work with among the Cebuanos as Filipinos in general. Here are the prerequisite questions and the rest will ensue with, based on the contents of the article to be used for further IT clarity, IT emphasis and IT coherence.

1. So, what is outsourcing?

2.  Is Philippine business process outsourcing a smart move?

3.  Is outsourcing becoming a common development among specific industries and services?

4.  In the area of call centers, is end-user-experience deemed to be of lower quality when a service is outsourced?

5.  Is this exacerbated when outsourcing is combined with off shoring to regions where the first language and culture are different?

6.  Is the questionable quality particularly evident when call centers that service the public are outsourced and off shored?

7.  Does business process outsourcing encompass call center outsourcing, human resources outsourcing, finance and accounting outsourcing, and claims processing outsourcing?

8.  Does outsourcing take many forms with regard to organizations that still hire service providers to handle distinct business processes, such as benefits management?

9.  What are the knowledge and skills required and needed by call center agents?

All of these questions can be answered categorically based on the knowledge and skills which are absolutely required and needed by the call center agents, among others. Based on the experiences, knowledge, skills, customary ways and practices here in Cebu, Philippines, a lot of things, being involved in outsourcing industry, will take into account and will greatly ease the tension of a call center agent himself. It is inevitable to have engaged in telecommunications and sometimes, a call center agent makes experience something awful and something odd.

Everything is part of the job once you are paid to do business in outsourcing company. Your main job is to have the telephone with you because this is mainly connected with your daily task as a call center agent. You have to possess the knowledge and skills in order for you not to put behind others because telecommunication business is a competition so you have to prepare for it and be knowledgeable of everything in outsourcing business.

As far as the telephones are concerned, they are used as an everyday part of business and often aided in your customers a first impression of your company that you are connected with. You have to possess and identify telephone skills needed to be successful and more professional. It provides strategies to enable you to give your callers the quality service they deserve. You have to influence your customers with great pride and perception of the company. Once you are hired, you have to look after the knowledge and skills that you have possessed yourself. You may use them in day-to-day activities in the outsourcing company. What is the call center? Why is it connected to the outsourcing industry? The call center is a dynamic and fast-paced department.

 It is a highly-structured operating environment where constant change is the norm. Having said that, a typical call center agent should possess and must have the  profile that includes himself if the following skills set requirements:

1) Excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills;

2) Professional and courteous demeanor; 

3)  Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, high-volume environment; 

4) Excellent problem-resolution skills; 

5) Strong systems skills;

6) Ability to meet established productivity, effectiveness, training, sales  and quality goals; 

7) Ability to work in a highly-structured environment; and the ability to accept and learn whatever tasks are given to him without complaints for personal advantage and promotion.

To dig deeper into the importance of outsourcing, what is outsourcing success all about? Here in the Philippines, we have a large pool of information technology – a call center to do business with. We can communicate well with other country in terms of telecommunication because of this outsourcing business. 

English is the universal language, that is the main reason why the Filipinos are adept at speaking in English. English uttered by the Cebuanos is based on American and British accents. Like all the companies that hired skilled workers in IT, English is the main source of outsourcing industry that provides us with greater advantage over the other country as far as telecommunication is concerned.

We have fixed and variable costs as well as targets to make a daily profit. Our country and its outsourcing industry are rapidly emerging when they are being talked about. The first thing that comes into people’s mind is call center outsourcing business. Information Technology (IT)  is in the field of outsourcing, and it is paving the way for success. This is considered as the newest one in business today. One’s success in outsourcing industry will rely on the knowledge and skills; besides, information will follow after gaining momentum in the field of information and technology in the Philippines.

Outsourcing firms in Cebu, Philippines, started a few years and tremendously make a boom up to now. In fact, there are pros and cons of outsourcing, but one thing to make it sure that here in Cebu, it soars high on top of the others.  Outsourcing is being done in roughly 2/3rds of organizations for three principal “information technology” reasons: cost savings, efficiency and business value– and to cushion the impact on global IT dissemination and at the same time to level the playing field for small organizations. 

Presently, outsourcing takes many forms. Organizations hire service providers to handle distinct business processes, such as benefits management. But some organizations outsource whole operations. The most common forms are information technology outsourcing and business process outsourcing.

Outsourcing has the potential to deliver ongoing budget savings as well as business benefits, depending on the outsourced function. It got a bad rap in the past with a lot of major firms that were taking advantage of the worldwide economic difference, but in the process took precedence and advantage of their overseas staff and were paying them below minimum wage. Other countries can still catch up as far as outsourcing industry is concerned.  

Outsourcing can be a good or bad business—depending on the gravity of workloads/assignments. It is a thing for the economy, whether it gives a moral or not. But it can also be a bad thing, sometimes.  Companies today both large and small organizations do not have the capacity to display and manufacture every component of an end product they are getting ready for sale.  This is a good thing as this creates the need for additional jobs provided the market is good for the product being manufactured and assembled.  The key to outsourcing is choosing the resource that can provide the quality product or service in completing an end product. 

There are a lot of advantages to wield over the outsourcing industry, particularly in Cebu areas. How to single out the best outsourcing companies? People, particularly clients may opt to look at the possibilities by knowing the vision and mission as regards industry’s operations and expansions. Outsourcing industry should cater to the entire populace and to the entire clientele when it comes to good services. In fact, people ought to be aware of the companies that can offer a great deal of options for the benefits not only for the company itself but also for the clientele in general.

In Cebu, we have the leading outsourcing companies like ExcelAsia which is geared towards expanding its operations in Cebu, citing the increased demand for its training services from call centers, such as Wipro. Another outsourcing company is Convergys which is geared towards continuing to expand its Philippine operations, with the opening of another call center, aside from the original outsourcing hubs situated at the UP-Ayala Technohub in Quezon City, and other places in Cebu and Manila areas. 

Besides, according to the press release, Manila-based business process outsourcing company eTelecare will soon open a delivery center in Managua, Nicaragua to serve as a near-shore site addressing United States customers.

The new call centers located in Cebu City, aside from Quezon City, Sta Rosa, Laguna and The Fort this year, are expected to create more new jobs for Cebuanos. Convergys inaugurates more centers in Cebu Asiatown in Cebu City and others. Two more will be opened this year with a total of five call centers that will create 7,000 employment opportunities for Filipinos.

Here in Cebu, the people, especially the applicants for employment will take part in this kind of industry once they got hired to work as call center agents. Convergys has 12 operational contact center facilities. Cebu City was picked as one of the two city locations for the back-end financial operations of multinational transport company abroad. Cebu City bested 62 other cities around the world, including outsourcing and off-shore destinations. It was stated in the press release that Bombardier Transportation has formally commenced its Global Finance Shared Service Center for Accounting and Reporting at the 14th floor of the new TGU Tower in Asiatown IT Park with 20 employees that is expected to grow by 150 in 2014. It is good, perhaps, for the Cebuanos!

ExcelAsia officially opened its business in Cebu in the year 2005 with Convergys as its first client. It has since expanded in Metro Manila and has trained the so-called “newly-hired applicants” who also received scholarships subsidized by the government. On the average, the company’s Cebu office trains 200 to 300 people every month. ExcelAsia president expects this to increase to at least 400 per month. We have Western WATS as the one source destination that everybody can bank fully on as regards data collection needs. It offers a variety of comprehensive solutions and works with its client partners to determine which services are best for each research project.

Over the years, the company has successfully conducted every type of survey such as client behavior and character-tracking, ad/concept testing, client contentment and integrity measurement, new product development, and business or market scenarios. Western WATS Philippines Inc., an American outsourcing company conducting a market research located at Mactan Economic Zone II. Cebu, the dominant player in outsourcing touted as the “back office of the country,” would soon have to contend with Manila-based counterparts in outsourcing industry. They said “Cebu is the best option,” a highly skilled English-speaking labor force, a reliable telecommunication infrastructure with low cost of qualified personnel. That is why these are the important reasons for choosing Cebu companies in outsourcing support.

THE IT OUTSOURCING IN INDIA. It is a former colony of the British Empire for almost two centuries, has the second-largest IT talent pool in the world, a result of its Britain-influenced education system that places great emphasis on science and mathematics. With 120,000 trained IT professionals added to the Indian workforce yearly, India is gearing to be an IT giant in the third world and is ranked as the first choice of U.S. companies for software outsourcing. According to Nasscomm, a conglomerate of India-based software and services companies, Indian companies are software solution provider to more than half the Fortune 500 companies.

The launch of India’s first private undersea cable has tremendously improved the international bandwidth situation. In addition, considerable bandwidth is available with the state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, partially owned by India’s largest business conglomerate. The privatization of telecom industry has also resulted in a significant drop in telecom rates. Observers predict that the entry of newer industry players will see a further drop in telecom prices. In the last ten years, telecom costs in India have dropped by 85 percent.

Over the years, India has built strong brand equity as an attractive destination for software development and support. India is host to established IT companies such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Sun, HP, and Alcatel.

OFFSHORE DESTINATION LIKE THE PHILIPPINES.  According to IT outsourcing press release as locally  circulated last year, the Philippines is one of the world’s second-largest English-speaking populations, and it  is fast catching up with India. With a literacy rate of 94%, the Philippines has a large pool of information technology professionals and a cost-competitive telecoms infrastructure. The country ranks third in Knowledge and Information-based jobs in the 2002 Global Technology Index research done by the META Group. Three million college graduates join the workforce each year, providing a tremendous source of talent. An American colony for close to 50 years, the Philippines has a Western-influenced culture, a unique trait that clearly distinguishes the country from other offshore destinations. Although Asian in orientation, Filipinos watch American TV and are thus able to communicate effectively in American English.

PHILIPPINES IS A CALL CENTER HUB. The press release made another booming comeback of the IT outsourcing based on the gross productions. It said, “In recent years, the Philippines has become the offshore destination of choice for call center outsourcing, specializing in customer support services.” Because of the Filipinos’ high level of English proficiency and strong customer orientation, many leading multinationals have used the Philippines as a global center for customer service. American OnLine, the largest U.S. Internet service provider, maintains a staff of 600 at its call center in Clark, Pampanga. Caltex, Procter & Gamble, Barnes and Noble, among others, have built large-scale service centers in the Philippines.

The press release finally added that one very promising industry that has sought outsourcing support in the Philippines is the medical transcription business. The Philippines boasts a large talent pool of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and medical technologists. The demand for medical transcription has risen as U.S. hospitals are now required by federal regulations to convert medical records into data format. Seventeen medical transcription companies are now in operation, employing 1,200 Filipinos.

DepEd-Region VII supports SPFL-French and adopts new programs offered by DepEd-NCR starting this school year

“It has always been a marvel to me -- that French language; it has always been a puzzle to me. How beautiful that language is! How expressive it seems to be! How full of grace it is! And when it comes from lips like those [of Sarah Bernhardt], how eloquent and how limpid it is! And, oh, I am always deceived--I always think I am going to understand it.” - Mark Twain, a Biography

In Cebu Province Division 2 science high schools, namely, Minglanilla National Science High School and Medellin Science High School officially started to teach French under the tutelage of native French teachers from Alliance Francaise de Cebu and Alliance Francaise de Manille. Teaching said language is spearheaded by the French Embassy and DepEd-NCR.

In the Philippines it is not only enough to have taught foreign languages but also to have propagated cultural diversities. According to FrancoPhil organizers, a new, fresh and exciting French cultural season in the Philippines, otherwise known as FrancoPhil, the 2011 French cultural season is a play on the word “Francophile,” meaning a lover of French culture, and is a celebration of the ties that bind French and Filipino culture. 

The word also signals the expansion of the cultural season to other major cities such as Cebu, as well as highlights the collaboration between French and Filipino artists in many of the events. The FrancoPhil program, spread throughout the year, is a sustained mission to bring French culture to the greater Filipino public, which usually sees French events as “too highbrow” or too distant from their everyday lives. 

Meanwhile, in a press release of the Department of Education, more foreign languages will be introduced aside from French, Spanish, Japanese and German. 

It said that priming Filipino students for the global arena, DepEd is set to introduce more foreign languages in pilot schools as the department aims to produce more internationally competitive graduates.

Aside from English which is the first foreign language to be mastered by selected secondary students, other foreign languages being taught among third and fourth year students are Spanish, French Japanese and German.
Mandarin, which is widely used in world economic power China and Arabic which is spoken in the vast Middle East market, are set to debut this school year, DepEd said.

Deped’s Bureau of Secondary Education chief Director Lolita Andrada said the Special Program in Foreign Language is designed for schools whose students have demonstrated competence first in English before they start to learn another foreign language.

“Studies have shown that facility in just one foreign language is now perceived as a disadvantage in a global market that is culturally and linguistically diverse,” added Andrada.

She explained that while English is a major language, it only accounts for around 30% of the world gross domestic product and is likely to account for less in the future.

DepEd piloted foreign languages in selected high schools starting with Spanish, Japanese and French in school year 2009-2010. The following year, German was introduced. Mandarin and Arabic are set to be introduced beginning school year 2011-2012.

Currently, Spanish is being taught in 54 high schools across the country, Japanese in 13 high schools, French in 12 high schools and German in 9 high schools. The program is piloted in public secondary schools (preferably with speech laboratory) for students who are in the last two year levels of high school where they are allotted four hours weekly to learn the language.

“We believe the last two years of high school is the most appropriate time to learn a second foreign language because that is the time they are most ready,” Andrada explained.

To prepare the teachers in teaching the foreign languages, DepEd has made an arrangement with the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching of Spanish, with the Japan Foundation Manila for Japanese, the Alliance Francais for French and Goethe Institute for German.

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