Friday, 13 March 2009

American BPO firm opens 291-seat call center in Philippines

JOSE BIMBO F. SANTOS
BusinessWorld
http://www.bworldonline.com/BW031309/content.php?id=048

CYBERNET-SLASHSUPPORT, a US-based technology support company, opened a 291-seater call center hub at the Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City yesterday, the company’s first business process outsourcing (BPO) facility here.

Raghu Rahman, Cybernet vice-president and head of consumer services, said their initial investment in the facility was around $2 million. Fifty technical support employees will start working today, with 50 more expected to report for work in the next two months.

"The cost of doing business in the Philippines is 5% to 10% more expensive than in India, but its advantages are its talent pool, which requires less training time," Mr. Rahman said.

"The availability of talent is here — people who can scale up very quickly — that’s the biggest asset of the Philippines for us. And also the friendliness, which is inherent here, is really important for us because of our customer support services," he added.

Mr. Rahman said the Taguig facility would focused on technical support. Cybernet, which has 4,300 employees worldwide, may invest an additional $4 million to $5 million in the coming three years, which translates to three more sites, Mr. Rahman said. "We’re looking at three [more] sites in the three-year horizon, which gives about 3,000 [more] jobs. In three years time, we expect about 30% of our revenue to come from the Philippines," he said.

"Government support is really encouraging. What was very interesting for us was the speed of the bureaucracy in accommodating our business. The whole thing really happened very fast," Mr. Rahman said. He added that they were eyeing locations for future facilities that are near universities, so that the firm can tie up with the academe for training.

"Right now, the market is stagnant so there is no substantial growth, but what we are trying to do is to sustain existing volumes," Mr. Rahman said. He said the relationship between the Philippines and India, which remains the dominant country in the global BPO industry, would fuel each other’s growth in the long term.

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