The financial turmoil of 2009 led a number of companies to increase their focus on BPO services. This is due to the significant savings they offered, as a means to control spending.
Frost & Sullivan believes that this heightened interest in BPO will continue into the coming year. Specifically, South Africa is in a position to capitalise on its expertise within the call centre market and to develop high-end knowledge intensive call centres.
“South Africa, as the host nation of the FIFA World Cup, is in a good position to communicate its BPO capabilities to the World,” says Frost & Sullivan ICT analyst Mpho Moyo. “Emphasis should be put on South Africa’s superior infrastructure and its ability to deliver high quality services by showcasing the successful services provided to both international and domestic clients.”
South Africa has built a world class International Broadcast Centre for the 2010 World Cup and Moyo believes that the excess capacity that will exist after the event can be used to provide high-end, high quality call centre services. Government education initiatives will however be imperative in order to increase the country’s skills base in these areas.
“The slow development of specialised skills sets has limited South Africa’s ability to take advantage of the accelerated global growth in financial & accounting outsourcing, human resources outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing and outsourcing of other vertical specific services,” she says. “Another challenge relates to creating a unified national BPO marketing strategy in order to attract international clients.”
The South African government has however increasingly focused on BPO as a key driver for growth and employment creation. This has resulted in the growth in the number of players in the BPO market, especially in offshore outsourcing, which has increased the revenue potential of the industry.
“In addition, the landing of the undersea cable and availability of redundant bandwidth is expected to significantly reduce telecommunications costs,” Moyo adds. “This will remove a major barrier to foreign investment within South Africa.”