Publication: ComputerWorld USA
State of BPO in Philippines
Richard Mills, Chairman
Reyes, the head of Sitel Corp.'s fast-growing business process
outsourcing (BPO) operations in the Philippines, is easily one of the most
senior and experienced managers in the country’s booming industry. He has
also played a prominent role in establishing the Philippines as one of the
world’s premier offshore destinations. Among other things, he is a founder
and former president of the Business Processing Association Philippines, the
country’s main umbrella organization for the BPO sector.
are your thoughts about the new marriage of Sitel and ClientLogic? I
think it is quite exciting that Sitel combined with ClientLogic. The focus
of our expansion is still the Philippines, which I appreciate, and it is
exciting to be the largest call center organization in the world.
How many people does the "bigger and better" Sitel have? Today,
we are arguably the largest pure-play call center organization in the world,
with 67,000 employees. In the
Philippines with me are about 6,500 people and growing quickly. Our worthy
Convergys also has a lot of people, but many of them are doing non call
center work, so it is considered smaller in voice.
Do you think all this consolidation will continue in the BPO industry? Like
other industries, it all depends on the success of the mergers that happen.
I think it is a trend. Sitel is now the largest, but others will probably
take advantage of this opportunity also. If you don’t, you risk being a
niche player rather than in the big boys’ club. Smaller players will be
disadvantaged, since large clients only invite large providers to bid.
does Sitel have in store in the Philippines? We want to double our
size. We are not simply shifting jobs from higher-cost locations, unlike
others. These are new jobs, making the pie larger. We have 26 sites in the
U.S. alone and are committed to remaining a strong player there. We like to
think we are a "best shore" provider. Many clients don’t yet
want offshore, while others only want some near-shore. Most are comfortable
with a blended approach that includes offshore.
does the Philippines compare to other offshore destinations? It seems
to me that higher growth is occurring in the Philippines than elsewhere. We
don’t see much growth in other countries at this time except for India.
Some people are talking about South America, but English is not available
there in large supply. Africa is still a cautious environment, although it
will be interesting down the road. Malaysia cannot compare with scale and
cost. Only the Philippines can offer both quality and quantity of skilled
How is the Philippines perceived compared to India these days? The
Philippines is considered the No. 1 option. Before, we were the backup
solution or an alternative to India. Now this has changed in a big way.
What are your company’s plans for offering back-office services? This
is certainly a focus of ours, and we have a COO in charge just of that. We
already have an existing
division in the Philippines. Our strategy is to provide end-to-end services,
front end to back end across a range of functional areas -- finance, HR. As
you can imagine, our call center services are already spread across
industries such as health, travel, financial services, ISPs and tech
Can we address the growth requirements of companies who want to set up
operations here in the Philippines? We are trying to develop new regions
outside metro Manila to grow. We are also focusing more on training. Supply
of people is the biggest concern.
Is the softening of the U.S. dollar a concern for you? Right now,
we are spreading ourselves to other markets. Australia and the U.K. are
examples where we see strong
Do you still hear silly remarks about the Philippines as a BPO
destination? I have not gotten dumb questions lately. Word of mouth
about the positives is getting around. The Philippines has a rare
opportunity to take advantage and has put itself on the map for quality.
There are still some concerns about government stability. My CEO tells me
the only thing stable about politics in the Philippines is instability.
While I don’t always agree, I understand the feelings behind the concerns.
Do you have any final words? Sure: Bring your business to the
Philippines, and we‘ll take care of your customers.
Mills is chairman of Chalre Associates, a executive search and
consulting firm working in the emerging economies of Asia.
the article above
PDF format by clicking below.
& Management Consulting:
Associates provides its Executive Search & Management
Consulting services throughout the Asia Pacific region. We are
proactive and well known in our sectors of focus. Regional
Managers use us to help bridge the gap between local environments and
the world-class requirements of multinational corporations.