The American Nearshore BPO success story continues to evolve, with two major events taking place this week. In the case of the Northern Nearshore, the 2018 Sourcing Decisions conference in Toronto will showcase the best and brightest Canada’s outsourcing sector has to offer. Further south in Montego Bay, the island of Jamaica puts its best and brightest on show in Outsource2Jamaica, which will highlight that country’s third-party service record to date. However, in order to be truly successful, this event will need to chart the course for a new era, both in terms of where Jamaica’s outsourcing industry is headed, and how each stakeholder can play a part. The progress to date has been pronounced, but fresh thinking is needed to move to the next level, Jamaican BPO 2.0.
Unquestionably, Jamaican outsourcing has experienced a rocket-like ascent over the past decade. The community of global operations that have set up delivery points in the Caribbean country of three-million people expanded significantly, with the aim of leveraging a highly-reputed workforce that is only a stone’s throw from North America. Equally important is the local pool of players that are continuing to push their way into contention for contracts from North American enterprises. This domestic outsourcer confidence was most notable with the itelbpo acquisition earlier this year of Granada Corporation, a deal that provides the Jamaican upstart with expanded capacity in the US and Mexico, a team of virtual agents, as well as a multilingual platform. Going into Outsource2Jamaica, the country’s outsourcers have every reason to feel optimistic about the future.
But, potential challenges should not be taken lightly.
One thing that Jamaica’s BPO leaders need to consider is the significant competitors they are vying against for North American investment. Traditional and emerging front-office BPO delivery points in the rest of the Americas, as well as overseas locales like South Africa, are making strong pushes into the US and Canada. This means that Jamaica needs to continually sharpen its value proposition. Its outsourcers and investment promotional professionals also need to combat lingering concerns around public security, and worries over susceptibility to natural disasters. That said, these are not challenges unique to Jamaica and should not be seen as insurmountable obstacles coming out of this week’s conference.
Probably the most important result from Outsource2Jamaica will be for the event’s line up of speakers (made up of analysts, journalists, site selectors and thought-leaders) to drive home the need to think beyond the traditional way of running third-party delivery. Providers based in Jamaica should strike out beyond North America to new demand markets in the Anglosphere (such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK), delivering front-line services that are of higher-value, but less labor intensive. Digitally-driven functions, as well as managing analytics, should be at the top of this list. This formula will be essential in maximizing the potential of a country with an excellent stock of skills, but with smaller workforce numbers. If Outsource2Jamaica can act as such a beacon, the country’s BPO stakeholders will come out ahead.