BPOs lost P120B due to COVID

    Primed for social distancing. A call center work station in Teleperformance Molino, one of the IT-BPM companies to expand in the Philippines recently.

    The business process-information technology management (IT-BPM) industry has “lost” P120 billion in missed business opportunities and unplanned costs due to the new coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, an industry executive said.

    Rey Untal, president of the Information Technology Business Processing Association (IBPAP) in his remarks at the opening of the International Innovation Summit on Wednesday said while industry players acknowledge the IT-BPM revenues will not grow at 3.5 to 7.5 percent over the next three years as earlier projected due to the impact of the pandemic and the global contraction in demand, IT-BPM companies in the Philippines remain stable.

    Untal added investments continue to pour in as projects registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority jumped 43 percent to P14 billion in the first nine months of the year from P9.9 billion in the same period in 2019.

    But Untal noted: “Over the course of the community quarantine, the sector was also able to increase its productive capacity, while maintaining strict work and health protocols to ensure the safety and welfare of the employees. This expectedly took a huge toll as the industry had to take on extraordinary unplanned costs. During the past 7 to 8 months, the industry has spent a sizable sum on accommodations primarily during the early days of the quarantine continuing provisions of shuttle services, and other work-from-home expenses, as well as missed opportunities arising from lost revenue, due to reduced capacity. “

    Now operating in excess of 95 percent productive capacity through a blended service delivery model from 50 percent in June to 73 percent in May and 90 percent in June, IBPAP sees opportunities within the industry.

    There are over 30,000 job openings across the different sub sectors, a number that can be higher as IBPAP’s job opportunities program a with government alone showed there are 21 companies looking to fill up in excess of 20,000 openings.

    From conversations with industry leaders, Untal said IBPAP has gathered the growth in the sector will be heavily influenced by the following : a higher focus on technology due to accelerated adoption of automation and digital transformation; an uptick in demand from key geographies; investment in higher value services, customer experience beyond traditional contact centers for example; an cloud and cybersecurity as well as a robust eco system comprising of telecoms other infrastructures and enhanced regulations.

    “Despite the less than ideal circumstances, and the different obstacles that we had to hurdle, the industry continues to demonstrate his resilience, tenacity and enduring role as a major economic driver,” said Untal. (I. Isip)