Is India’s position at the top of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry under threat?
South East Asian neighbour The Philippines is exploiting BPO opportunity in a big way and could dent India’s presence, says Pramod Bhasin, president and CEO of Genpact, the corporate reincarnation of GE Capital’s back-office unit that started the call centre revolution in India.
“We already have lost close to 1 lakh jobs to the Philippines which could have come to India,” Bhasin, told Hindustan Times. He added that in the next five years India could lose many more jobs to the island nation.
Outsourcing is driven by ease of doing business, apart from lower costs and quality of services, he said, adding it is easier to set up an outsourcing unit and operate in the Philippines than in India.
“A company operating in the Philippines need not bother about power, security other related infrastructure issues,” he said. “It is taken care of by the government. In India, however, the onus lies on the company to address these issues.”
In the Philippines, a company gets the desired level of services and still saves on costs, Bhasin added.
The last couple of quarters have seen a major shift of voice-based outsourcing jobs to Philippines from India. “Outflow of voice-based services is just the beginning and if trends continue India might loose on other kinds of outsourcing services as well,” he said.
Outsourcing is not just about call centres, Bhasin said: “At our company we employ MBAs, supply chain & auto experts and PhDs in mathematics and science with good career prospects. Voice-based jobs are just one aspect of outsourcing.”
Post economic slowdowns IT and outsourcing companies are increasingly shifting towards output-based pricing models where clients pay per transaction rather than per hour.
A recent Nasscom study says India’s IT-BPO sector revenues could touch $50 billion figure in the next financial year, with increased focus on vertical-specific outsourcing services.