To some Business Process Services may sound like yet another convoluted and ostentatious label applied by self-important people who may not otherwise be defined due to lack of substance, product or identity. Quite the contrary. https://www.ourgreenleaf.com/
Business Process Services or Outsourcing, when it delivers, has the potential to genuinely lower administrative and operating costs, more quickly provide new services, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance focus on core business activities. Very simply, these are the people that allow business people to focus on their core business whilst the likes of human resources, finance, accounting, contact centres. Document Management Services, Healthcare are taken care of by outsourcing to a third party
Without getting bogged down in detail, it’s sufficient to say that there are many divisions of BPS: there’s the back-office, like human resources; front-office, like call centres, there’s offshore and onshore BPS and even further breakdowns including IT based ITES-BPO (Information Technology Enabled Service) and LPO – legal process outsourcing.
Looking at the big picture: the global industry is said to be growing by 40% per annum. India is the world’s biggest player in the industry with revenue of US$10.9 billion from offshore BPS. It has a 6% share of the BPS industry in general but a 63% share of offshore BPS. On the other hand the South African call centre industry has grown by approximately 8% per year since 2003 and it directly employs about 54 000 people, contributing 0.92% to South Africa’s gross domestic product. Dwarf size compared to India but the potential is huge.
The South African Government’s upscaled Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP 2) has identified Business Process Services (BPS) as a key sector for investment attraction and job creation. The South African Government implemented a BPS or Business Process Outsourcing and Offshoring (BPO&O) incentive programme from July 2007. It is claimed that during the period July 2007 to March 2010, the incentive resulted in the creation of at least 6 000 new jobs and attracted R303 million in direct investment.
Since then, after negotiation with the private sector a further proposition has been made with the Monyetla Work-Readiness Programme, a dedicated investor friendly set-up process, and a programme to improve industry service standards, in order to position South Africa as a preferred location for BPS operations.
Monyetla, which means ‘opportunities’, was launched in 2008 by the Business Trust, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and BPeSA as a pilot project to provide the unemployed youth of South Africa with employment through the BPO industry. The pilot project was a success story, over 1,000 learners registered. Due to its success the second phase was launched in July 2010, with 3,400 learners joining. Further phases continue to date. To become a certified employer of choice on the project there are two criteria: Take on a minimum of 60 learners; and offer employment to 70% of them upon their successful completion of the programme. For every six learners employed, one team leader must be trained. So there’s a very specific outcome pursued here.
BPS leaders BPeSA, Western Cape CEO Gareth Pritchard is reported to have said “With South Africa rapidly growing as a BPO provider both locally and abroad, it is imperative that we build our employee base, allowing South Africa to move from a reactive talent development strategy to a proactive one,” In the last decade, SA has built up a reputation as a world-class customer service destination that is able to deliver results for a number of the UK’s biggest brands, including ASDA, Virgin Mobile and TalkTalk.
South Africa has also attracted many top international call-centre outsourcers, including Aegis BPO, Fusion, Genpact, Stream, Sykes and Teleperformance, as well as IBM and Deloitte, which provide a variety of services in English, Dutch and Flemish for customers worldwide. Most recently, the Economics spokesman at the SA High Commission in London, Yusuf Timol, forecasted that there would be huge opportunities looming for capturing India-based BPO work in 2012 and beyond.
To emphasise whether South Africa has a future in this industry Frost & Sullivan’s business unit leader, ICT Africa, Birgitta Cederstrom says “Africa is increasingly popular as a preferred destination of contact centres; South Africa specifically has been a natural choice for contact centres due to its large and articulate English-speaking population and service-oriented business culture. Another strength is its expanding broadband connectivity, thus ensuring that the latest unified communications and collaboration tools will run efficiently.”
During Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’s Budget Vote in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Parliament he said “To date, 23 applications for the BPS incentive scheme have been approved, potentially leveraging R4.1 billion worth of investment and 15 149 jobs over three years,”