The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

A Silicon Valley tech company has created an accent conversion technology that is set to revolutionise millions of Filipino and Indian call center jobs.

The software, built by Sanas, requires no complex installation or hardware, can turn heavy Indian or Filpino accents into a neutral, or American accent, and is activated with a simple on-off button. The technology works in real-time with zero audible lag and is compliant with all data security standards. This means that BPOs can now have American-sounding offshore agents with the click of a button.

The founders of Sanas recently spun the company out of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and is funded by Village Global, which itself is backed by technology luminaries such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates. Andrés Pérez Soderi, Sanas co-founder, said that the technology “will add enormous value to call centers where accent matching can effortlessly reduce communication friction and increase customer satisfaction”.

Outsource Accelerator has convinced Sanas to offer two BPOs (1x India, 1x Philippines) the opportunity to use their product now – for free. They are giving away 2 x 12-month licenses – with zero tie-ins.  They will be working in partnership with the successful call centers and Outsource Accelerator to publish co-branded case studies and white papers.  If interested, reach out to Outsource Accelerator now to see if you qualify.

According to Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) president Jojo Uligan, the sector is set to hire up to 100,000 employees this year to keep up with the rising demands for support services in different industries. In line with this hiring boom, Philippine BPOs are considering around 40,000 recently repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) for work across the industry.

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The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has recommended shifting the entire country’s quarantine restriction down to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) – the laxest quarantine status – starting March to help alleviate commercial issues caused by the prolonged lockdowns. Adding uncertainty to the Philippines COVID recovery, the much-anticipated vaccine rollout has hit further bureaucratic delays.  The expected delivery of Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines have been halted due to the unmet indemnification agreements that need to be signed before the start of delivery. Inside Outsourcing previously reported that the government’s target to start the vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers was February 15 – which has not happened.

The unending pandemic has also brought the country’s creative economy to a halt. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) admits the struggles of the creative industries sector, which at the time “has been gaining growth momentum.” The Creative Economy Council of the Philippines also reported a 90 per cent decrease in revenue in 2020 compared to the prior year.

Despite these setbacks, recent projections conducted by macroeconomic research organization Capital Economics sees the Philippines becoming the world’s 18th biggest economy by 2050, as long as it improves its “dreadful” infrastructure. To help with this, the Embassy of India in Manila, in cooperation with the Confederation of Industry (CII) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) organized a virtual business conference to invite Indian companies to engage with the expanding infrastructure sector in the Philippines. The event was attended by over 200 representatives of companies located across both countries.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is continuing to find ways to keep investments on the up. In a statement, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said the agency aims to turn idle public lands in Mindanao into special economic zones to promote rural development. For its existing ecozone partners, PEZA plans to partner with the central bank, as well as local and foreign banks, to create credit facilities for ecozone developments. The agency is looking to explore export-driven enterprises and ecozone developers from both the public and private sectors.

Outsourcing, remote staffing, and freelancing were expected to really pop this year. Due to this, the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Joey Salceda authored a substitute bill of the proposed Freelancers Protection Act, which will give freelance workers a chance to settle tax liabilities to be able to begin anew with better legal protections. Salceda said, “As the economy becomes more digital, there will be more freelancing… Without legal protections, we will also see more labor exploitation.”

Recently, the American aerospace giant, Boeing, announced its next big move: outsourcing. The company is set to outsource around 600 IT jobs to Dell Technologies, which will reduce around 10 per cent of the firm’s internal IT staff.  In other Dell announcements, their research has revealed that 81 per cent of its 7,000 surveyed employees in the Asia-Pacific & Japan (APJ) feel like they’re ready for long-term remote work. However, the surveyed professionals are concerned with blurring the line between work and home.

IBM Philippines, on the other hand, is entering private and public partnerships to boost its global education efforts. The IT juggernaut has pledged to help the country to close the digital skills gap and enhance socio-economic development.

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In other BPO news, global firm Sitel Group welcomed Pamela Donato as its new vice president for human resources for the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Donato is an HR veteran with over 20 years of HR experience – and is currently an officer of the HR Council of CCAP.  In addition, call center services provider Qualfon was recognized as a leader on the 2021 Global Outsourcing 100® list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP®). Qualfon Chief Sales and Solutions Officer Dave Drayton said that “moments like these that validate the worth behind our devotion not only to our clients and their customers, but to our own employees as well.”

>>> Got any burning news? Share your industry hot scoops and company press releases with Inside Outsourcing – the world’s leading outsourcing news hub.

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

23 February 2021

22 February 2021

19 February 2021

  • Qualfon recognized as a 2021 Global Outsourcing 100® list outsourcing leader – read article…
  • PEZA seeks partnerships to create credit lines for ecozone firms – read article…
  • COVID vaccine deliveries in PH face more delays – read article…
  • Boeing to outsource around 600 IT roles to Dell – read article…

18 February 2021

  • 81% of Asia Pacific and Japan workers ready for long term remote work – read article…
  • IBM Philippines enters partnerships to boost IT education efforts – read article…
  • Bill filed to provide legal protection for freelancers – read article…

17 February 2021

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