Industry Commentary

Ascensos Istanbul Deployment a Major BPO Turning Point in Turkey

By July 14, 2020January 10th, 2024No Comments

The shift in mindset around site selection for customer experience delivery is accelerating, owing at least in part to the ongoing changes resulting from COVID19.  One of the more interesting elements of this trend has been the willingness of organizations to consider new delivery points. The decision by UK-based outsourcer Ascensos to choose Turkey for its newest nearshore expansion highlights this current of thought.

Arguably, one of the best value locations for offshoring, Turkey has been relatively under the radar of late.  However, the Ascensos investment, coupled with ongoing activity from existing players already on the ground, place Turkey in a strong competitive position. It also highlights a possible offshore outsourcing comeback of sorts for this country that straddles Asia and Europe.

In communicating its decision to establish operations in Turkey following a strategic decision by executives in late-2019, Ascensos was clear that this was a logical next step in its efforts to grow into Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  This makes sense. Long heralded by contact center stakeholders and investment promotion professionals as a multilingual hub to support West European consumers due to strong multilingualism and scalability, Turkey retains many of the core components needed to rival other offshore giants.  With easily accessible airports from Europe and the rest of the world, coupled with huge infrastructure investments, the picture for Turkey only gets better.

This was not lost on outsourcing investors over the past decade either.  Prior to the Ascensos announcement, Turkey has attracted global names that include Teleperformance, Webhelp and Telus International (via the 2019 acquisition of Competence Call Center).  But, with a population of almost 100 million people, there is clearly room to grow in Turkey for new outsourcing entrants.   Ascensos’ choice of downtown Istanbul adds to the value of its new site, with significant access to multilingual graduates and solid transportation links.

As BPO executives operating there know, Turkey, like all offshore and nearshore delivery destinations, has its challenges.  Among these include worries about the political orientation of the current administration, coupled with concerns about the stifling of free speech.

These factors have impacted Turkey’s favorability rankings. In the 2020 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey published annually by Ryan Strategic Advisory, interest in Turkey was muted among buyers of contact center services.  But, political worries aside, the ability to deliver strong interactions from Turkey is clear, otherwise leading BPOs would not consider outsourcing to this country.

What is also clear is that the offshoring game has changed, and Turkey’s attributes play nicely to the needs of prospective enterprise clients seeking business continuity alternatives.  So too does that the country has one of the most active industry associations in the region, which has been a mainstay for helping the local industry lobby for favorable regulation from various government authorities.  It has also been the BPO sector’s window to the world, a crucial link in working with local economic development bodies to communicate Turkey’s value proposition to potential investors abroad.

Moving into the second half of this year, the Ascensos investment will provide a major shot in the arm to nearshore outsourcing in what has been one of the most intriguing delivery points in EMEA.  Not only does this move offer Ascensos clients an intriguing capacity alternative, it may also prompt many BPOs that are looking to expand to consider Turkey as a new location.