Outsourcers should think big in the second half of 2021. itel certainly is, by embarking on a significant expansion plan that positions it optimally for clients. But, what is key in the itel story is its embrace of the American nearshore as its base of CX delivery. This strategy has served this growing firm well through its first 9 years, and the fact that it is doubling down on the nearshore in 2021 speaks to the value of this region.
A glance at the itel story over the past decade, and the extent to which this firm has used the nearshore as the core to its success is evident. Starting as a provider based exclusively in Jamaica, it launched operations in the Bahamas during 2013. Then, it acquired Granada Corporation in 2017, helping itel expand into the US and Mexico. It was during 2017 that itel established a state-of-the-art campus in the Montego Bay Free Zone, before setting up a contact center operation in Saint Lucia at the start of 2020. Now, itel makes its boldest move to date, one that remains anchored in the American nearshore.
From a demand perspective, the deepening of itel’s nearshore presence makes sense. Consider that in the 2021 Front Office Omnibus Survey by Ryan Strategic Advisory that sounded the views of 628 enterprise contact center decision-makers, having a nearshore delivery footprint was highlighted by respondents as a top-3 competitive advantage for BPO operators. With itel’s existing presence in Mexico and the Caribbean set to be augmented in several important nearshore destinations as announced in the past week, its position appears solid in this regard.
Consider first the entry into Guyana – this English-language CX destination has emerged in recent years as one of the most popular, especially among North American buyers. In fact, the 2021 Front Office Omnibus Survey indicated that this country on the northern tip of South America was among the top 10 most favored delivery points in the USA and Canada. Much of this has been driven by an awareness of Guyana’s native English skills, and a growing reputation for driving strong interactions with consumers.
Not to be outdone, itel’s move into Honduras also makes a great deal of CX sense. The Central American upstart has proven to be among the most practical in terms of quality bilingual skills and affordability. Equally, the emphasis that successive Honduran administrations have placed on working with the BPO space to enable the needed regulation and infrastructure for a world-class outsourcing sector has been invaluable to attracting some of the biggest brands in CX services.
However, the decision to set up a technology development center of excellence in Colombia is something for which itel deserves credit, in terms of foresight. Unlike many operators that have chosen to exclusively house front-line operations in that South American BPO powerhouse, the emphasis that itel places on Colombia is that of a value-add, solutions-based part of its network, in clear recognition of the CX potential that this country brings to the table. The Colombian CX sector has focused ever more intently on higher-value technology development of late. That itel has chosen to avail itself of the potential offered from Colombia in this regard speaks to the value of the talent found in that location.
More broadly, the fact that itel has been able to expand exclusively in the American nearshore attests to the strategic importance that clients in the US and Canada place on service delivery from destinations closer to home. It is also proof that a growing, progressive operator does not need to establish overseas operations to remain relevant to its buyers.