In the days following PROESA’s 2017 Investment Summit held in San Salvador, there is a feeling of optimism among El Salvadorian BPO stakeholders. Indeed, the event was well planned and served to showcase an industry that has been flourishing for the past decade. Local, regional and global vendors had the chance to highlight their success stories, which was crucial for the prospective investors who traveled in for the event. However, going forward overcoming challenges that could limit outsourcing growth needs to be a priority for the industry and government.
That the PROESA 2017 Investment Summit could attract the significant mindshare it did speaks to the quality of the country’s outsourcing value proposition. Notably, the event featured panel discussions by BPO industry captains such as Chuck Sykes, CEO of one of the world’s largest contact center services providers. It also included high caliber thought–leaders Mark Hillary and Stephen Loynd, both of whom were frank in their assessment of where El Salvador sits in the scope of American nearshore BPO delivery, and where it needs to position itself in going forward. This counsel was well received by those attendees committed to growing the contact center services industry.
Equally impressive were analyst contact center site visits that took place during the event. Global provider Telus International provided a well-rounded view of its multifunctional deployments in their rapidly expanding San Salvador operations that service North American consumers. Latin America operator One Link BPO’s site tour was notable for its innovative multilingual, cross-vertical approach to contact center services. These are but two vendors that have been successful in making El Salvador a beachhead for their nearshore operations. However, there is work to be done to sustain the country’s evident momentum.
Off the top, there needs to be a clear effort on the part of industry and government to further the skills needed for a technologically-savvy labor force that will be comfortable operating in the digital communication environment that typifies how consumers interact with enterprises. Equally, differentiating El Salvador in the context of Central America will be essential, given the aggressive BPO marketing happening in other countries within the region such as Honduras; simply put, El Salvador cannot get lost in the nearshore mix. Government agencies must also work to sustain a competitive commercial environment, which means efforts at dealing with street crime and corruption.
As a location, El Salvador boasts some superb outsourcing references. One Link BPO, Sykes and Telus International are but a few examples. But, to win new investors, the efforts that the industry’s players and government make in the coming months will be imperative. By focusing on a sustainable business climate, training and a vision for higher-value services, the right foundation will be in place.