The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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Is the Work-From-Home (WFH) experiment failing? Increasingly, observers are noticing that WFH might not be the utopian dream everyone had thought. A Wall Street Journal article this week reported that after just four months, companies are noticing cracks in the WFH arrangement. Projects are taking longer, training is tougher, and hiring is more complicated. Employers are saying that workers appear less connected, and younger professionals may not be developing at the same rate as they would in offices. Humans have been organising themselves and building businesses from centralised workplaces for the last 300 years, so after just four months, it might be too early to call the remote-work revolution a hands-down success.

Despite the sudden WFH switch and the pandemic’s best efforts, a recent JLL Philippines report showed that Philippine commercial office space pre-commitments stayed strong at 41 per cent in the first quarter of the year.  We can only expect the Q2 results to be a very different picture – and Q3 to be decidedly grim.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday in front of a COVID-capped audience of just 50 key congress and cabinet officials. Duterte only lightly addressed the pandemic but covered a broad range of topics with the Inquirer referring to the speech as “a mix of attack, warning, plea, wish list, promises”.  He highlighted the Philippines’ positive credit ratings, saying that with a strong economic position, the Philippines is in a “better position to weather the crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.” The president also asked lawmakers to pass the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) tax bill to assist the country’s recovery from the pandemic. The CREATE Act aims to reduce corporate income tax and rationalize financial incentives for investors.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is urging the government to allow businesses to resume full operations, warning that many are facing the possibility of permanent closure if lockdowns continue. PCCI, the largest business organization in the country, said that half of its members in Luzon and Mindanao have closed down, while employment among those that continue to operate is down to 25 to 30 per cent. In line with this, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said the government was now not likely to lock down cities or wide areas because doing so would hinder economic recovery. Diokno suggests reopening the economy “to see where we are now”.  One indicator of economic confidence is the net flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) for which the country is seeing a significant decline, with April figures showing a dip to its lowest level in 11 months. BSP’s data revealed that for April, FDI inflows declined by 67.9% to $311 million, from $971 million a year earlier. Despite the concerning trend, Diokno remains “optimistic” that FDI will recover by 2021. Diokno told ANC that FDI could “go down” to $4.2 billion in 2020 from $7.6 billion the previous year, but it would likely recover to $6.6 billion by 2021.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is looking to Qatar and its Middle Eastern neighbors as it explores opportunities for inbound investment and Islamic financing for the country. According to PEZA, they are identifying areas to be developed as halal hubs for potential investors for the Middle East. The agency is also launching a job expo and online skills training today, Wednesday, in efforts to distribute employment opportunities to displaced workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, PEZA said the job expo and online skills training will be launched at the agency’s office in Taguig and via Facebook live, adding that the program is part of the Development Outreach for Labor Livelihood and Advancement Resources or DOLLAR program being implemented with ecozone locators.

Unionbank Philippines is also doing their bit for displaced employees around the country. The journey of digital transformation is far from complete and so they’re helping “tech up” Filipinos. The bank has launched its UBP Xcellerator Program, a one-stop e-learning resource offering a variety of on-demand education programs and pathways that enhance skills and strengthen competencies. The program is designed to boost the chances of getting displaced workers getting employed, especially now as companies are shifting to digital and contactless business models.

In Cebu, the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is proudly announcing the economic recovery of the city, as the business community gets back on its feet. In a virtual press briefing, MCCI President Steven Yu said that businesses have started to reopen, and industries have ramped their capacities now that Mandaue is now under the general community quarantine.

Indian IT giant Wipro has launched its 5G edge services solutions built on IBM technology. Wipro said that the solution is designed to offer customers better data control, reduced costs, faster insights and actions, and more automated, secured operations. Meanwhile, Sitel Group believes they have a solution to the Philippine home-based dog and rooster background soundtrack that the call centers are struggling with. The firm has partnered with Krisp Technologies to deploy Krisp, the first-ever AI-based noise suppression tool that mutes background noise for agents and customers during calls.

“At Sitel Group, we are committed to investing in artificial intelligence… to improve the employee experience and the customer experience for our clients’ customers,” said Ryan Maund, Chief Product and Innovation Officer at Sitel Group.

If its anything like the Zoom customizable backgrounds we’re expecting the roosters to be replaced by calming soundtracks of Peruvian panpipes, humpback whale mating calls, and an audible whiff of sandalwood essential oil. How relaxing!


Wednesday, July 15, 2020



28 July 2020

27 July 2020

24 July 2020

23 July 2020

  • Net FDI plunged to 11-month low in April – read article…
  • Sitel Group partners with Krisp Technologies to deploy noise-canceling software – read article…
  • NEDA-7 sees positive economic recovery for Central Visayas – read article…
  • More businesses will face permanent closure if lockdowns continue – PCCI – read article…

22 July 2020

  • Pre-commitment levels for PH office market ‘still healthy’– read article…
  • India’s IT-BPO industry facing more layoffs – read article…
  • PH headed to deepest economic recession in 35 years – BDO – read article…
  • PH looking at Qatar to accelerate Islamic finance in the country – read article…

Read more Inside Outsourcing Newsletters here:

  1. The Outsourcing Week in Review: July 22, 2020
  2. The Outsourcing Week in Review: August 5, 2020

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