John Cannavo – My outsourcing tour in the Philippines

Ep 229 John Cannavo

Outsourcing tour

Today, I am talking to John Cannavo of the Mays Innovation Research Center of Texas University.  John with his work has been involved in Philippine outsourcing since for about the last six years.

Super exciting interview and of course I learned a lot and enjoyed spending the time that I have done with John.  He has now done a tour of outsourcing, spoken to a lot of people in outsourcing and we reflect on the difference in his awareness, and thoughts on outsourcing. 



[email protected]

Mays Business School


John Cannavo My Outsourcing Tour in the Philippines

Mays Innovation Research Center

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Derek Gallimore: Welcome to the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is a short format podcast where we explore business and outsourcing mastery. My name is Derek Gallimore and I am really excited to bring you the leading podcast in outsourcing.

Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode number 229 so today I am talking to John Cannavo of the Mays Innovation Research Center of the Texas University. I interviewed John in the previous episode 228 John had not been to the Philippines in episode 228 and now today in 229 he has been to the Philippines. John with his work, has been involved in Philippine outsourcing since for about the last six years and the Mays Innovation Research Center,  writes a lot on the topic of the future of work and a part of that being outsourcing. So in the previous episode I got John’s insight and understanding of outsourcing. And today we talked to John once. He has now done a tour of outsourcing, spoken to a lot of people in outsourcing and we reflect on the difference in his awareness, and thoughts on outsourcing. So super exciting interview and of course I learned a lot and enjoyed spending the time that I have done with John. So without further ado, we will get on with this podcast. If you want to any of the show notes, of course, go to Enjoy.

Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome back everybody today. I’m joined again by John Cannavo of the Mays Business Innovation Center. Hi John, how are you?

John Cannavo: Well Derek, how are you?

Derek Gallimore: Good, good. And  so this is a really exciting episode because  in between the last recording that we did a and this recording,   due to the magic of podcasting, you have since been over to Manila, Philippines, we have since met in person.   and you’ve experienced some of the, some of the Philippines obviously, but also the outsourcing sector. And we’ve done a few tours around outsourcing providers. So,  just wanted to get your feedback and experience in terms of the, the real life connection that you made over there. yeah. So you’ve been back now about a month, sorry, about a better week or two isn’t it? And,   yeah, I mean, do you want to just, I suppose in your summary, give a brief overview of, of kind of what you did in the Philippines from a business perspective?

John Cannavo: Sure. Yeah. Thank you again for having the me on the podcast. And of course, thanks for all your help. When I was, when I was over there to get to meet you in person. So I,  let’s see, I got over on the 10th, I think, and he started with three days in Manila. I stayed in Makati and got to see that area, Quezon City, BGC and in a few other areas,  when, when you and I were driving around. So the point of that part of the trip is to meet with as many BPOs as possible to get their perspective on outsourcing and, and, developments and outsourcing the history of it. And where they think the,  the industry in the Philippines is going to go. And the next few years, so we had a bunch of meetings. I was able to have the ability with the, whole group of very fascinating companies, [inaudible] Task Us, Deployed, KMC, EMAPTA, and we’ve had with IBPAP too, and you know, a lot of,  a lot of similar impressions, but of course each group had their own take on things as well.

John Cannavo: I think one interesting point that came through on all the meetings,  with some of the anxieties and fears surrounding developments and technologies and how they’re going to affect the outsourcing industry,  namely in the Philippines. I thought that was very interesting and, and we’ll see. We’ll see where things go from there. so then I left,  flew from Manila down the Cebu and, when all over Cebu had number of meetings there as well. on Mactan island and then Cebu city as well with BPOs like our Arcanys and Sophi.   that was very interesting and also quite interesting how different the two, the two areas are from comparing Cebu to, to Manila, then flew to Dumagete for a day. And that was, that was the most different, much more a small town feel. It actually kind of felt like my home town in Massachusetts,  kind of a similar field.

Derek Gallimore: They’re incredibly friendly people, very   very block main at the Sophi office in Dumagete in fact continued,   those BPO beings were similar to the ones in Manila. But then I also had the opportunity to be with some people who do freelance a outsourcing work. And of course their perspective is,  quite a bit different. I think there’s a, it’s kind of simulator to two ways to go for outsourcing. You can do the traditional route of being a full time employee at one of these big BPOs or you can work from home. And I think,  each side, promoted its pros and and said that the other side has, has too many things working against the people that were from home, don’t deal with traffic. And people that work at a full time job at the benefits of, job security and, and actual benefits.   so that was pretty interesting too. You can to compare those. And it’s been nice to have this last week to reflect on, to reflect on this trip.

Derek Gallimore: Yeah. And so, you know, we spoke prior to you coming over of course, and you know, during that time you have obviously   being connected and involved in outsourcing for the last kind of six years throughout with your platform. and, and aware of this outsourcing movement in terms of its economic impact and, and the future of employment. In the last episode we spoke about things such as traffic and jetlag, the time zones,   but also things like political instability, and the potential for the Philippines to be the back end of the world. what, what is it on reflection, do you see the sort of stockist learnings or stockist kind of, reflections in terms of, you know, what you maybe weren’t aware of in terms of outsourcing or, or,  you know, sort of the opportunities and outsourcing or some of the detractors and outsourcing, between, you know, sort of an intellectual awareness of it versus actually just getting over and seeing the country?

John Cannavo: Yeah, I think,  I think the trip was, was very eyeopening well in a number of ways of course, but as it pertains to outsourcing,  I am even more, maybe more positive about the future of outsourcing. And that was before I took the trip. I think there are so many more opportunities than I had than I had previously thought. It seems like a lot of,   a lot of the economy is, is based around the idea about source and when people are fairly committed to finding jobs and outsourcing. And, I don’t think that that was my impression going in that, people are, are really shooting for BPO jobs and, and kind of setting the country of the pet, like you said, becoming the, the back office,   forward the world. I didn’t, I didn’t know that that was truly as developed as a, as it really it. So that was, that was great to see. That was a big, big revelation. But I think a lot of, companies here in the United States would be interested to know that the country is well equipped to, to handle, a number of things, but really to, to kind of live up to that title of being the back office of the world, if more companies started outsourcing over there.

Derek Gallimore: And we, you know, this is a slightly loaded a loaded question, but what did you feel in terms of the sophistication of the suppliers?   you know, were you surprised in terms of, you know, it’s not just call centers financially now. It is, it is kind of any function. were you, was that, was that a quite a contrast to what you initially envision?

John Cannavo: Yeah, like you said, in terms of being loaded, I think, I think you definitely know that.  it’s, it is a, it’s incredible, you know, it’s not just call centers and the places are incredibly sophisticated where,  were Filipinos work, the offices, a lot of them have a kind of Silicon Valley feel. but there are, of course not in Silicon Valley. I don’t know if I’m ever going to have the opportunity myself to work in,   to work in a space that’s as amazing as some of the, some of the BPOs that we got to see. Just all of the resources that are available to the workers there are amazing. I really seems like a place that I wouldn’t enjoy working.   so that’s, that’s pretty awesome if they’re able to take advantage of that. Then of course the other side don’t just that they’re were in a cool workspace that they get to do cool work.

John Cannavo: You know, some people think that I’m sourcing needs to just the call centers, but of course it’s developed over the last couple of decades and it’s really much more developed than that.  it really is anything that does not to be that, that does not need to be done in person, can be outsourced and a can be outsource to Philippines. So that was, that was pretty amazing to, to see a life, you know, to see in action and watch people in their workspaces,   doing, doing pretty cool thing. It’s one thing to know is a, pretty cool. For me it was a, I’ve got a wedding coming up and there’s a service called the Black Tux where, you can set up your groomsmen with the suits that are going to where and when we went to a duplicate to and toured their office there, we were in the back office for this company to black tux and they were on the phone with people like me and a setting up there and Tuxedo orders. And,  I thought that was pretty cool just to see that, see that happen life.

Derek Gallimore: Yeah, it is amazing how, I mean we, you know, we kind of,  briefly went around the back office of thumb tech as well. And when you actually see these organizations,  working as they do there, they’re kind of, no man logos, brands, services in the west, but then when you actually see them being executed at a very high level in the Philippines, it’s kind of cool, Huh?

John Cannavo: It is. It’s very cool.  and yeah, I wish more people in the opportunity to, to see the, all the benefits that, that this changing global business,   can bring to really everybody involved in women’s scenario for all parties.

Derek Gallimore: And in terms of, you know, the cultural alignment and English and you know, very commonly I think people are concerned about the, the cultural barriers,  the friction between sort of language and communication. and that is, that is very true. I, I myself get frustrated on when I’m front of the bank and you get a call centers and things like that. But in reality, had it, how did you see the communication levels of, of people in the Philippines and the cultural alignment?


John Cannavo: A very strong cultural,  I took pictures of each time that I saw something that was a,   a little piece of the United States somewhere around Philippines. I thought those were,  were interesting. You, you couldn’t drive more than a hundred yards without saying, don’t work for Netflix, which I thought was really funny.   and of course all the fast food locations are over there as well. But then just having conversations with, the people that worked at the BPOs or at the hotels that I stayed at, or the,   the grab rides that I took, the cultures seem very aligned. Of course, the United States has had a relationship in the Philippines for quite some time, so it wasn’t, it wasn’t very surprising, but,   I was surprised to see just how proficient so many people were in English. I, you know, I understood that, people speak English in the Philippines, but I didn’t think that it going to be a so strong. And you know, there are a few differences in dialects, but of course that’s the case with any English speaking country and    yeah, very, very advanced skills in communication and, it was, it was easy to be comfortable.

Derek Gallimore: And then finally, and I’ll, I’ll let you off the hook now, but then, you know, how do you, if there are businesses, you know, in, in Texas where you are and you know, there’s a lot of app ranch and there’s a lot of unknowns about different country, different culture,   and it’s really just getting people comfortable and, and kind of familiar or I suppose at ease with the fact that it’s a different country, but things kind of work the same. Do you have any advice on that or any sort of way that you can kind of, confirmed that with people without them necessarily needing to, to get over there?

John Cannavo: Yeah, I’d say you just got to give it a shot and you have no idea how incredible the, the upside is of, of finding some,  some back office support or an admin assistant or a call center work or financial modeling or anything that you can imagine.  you don’t really know how, how huge the upset isn’t so that you give it a try. And then of course it seems like it really is a gateway that once you,  a source from the first time and you get, you, you add one person to your team from the Philippines, then you just get more and more into it and you want to add a five, 10, 15 more. So I’d say,  I’d say contact Derek and have him help you figure out a way to add some people to your routine because there are huge, huge advantages of it.

Derek Gallimore: Amazing. I love that vibe. Thank you so much. It was really amazing to meet you and  yeah, it’s great how these different streams of, I suppose activity and interest in academia all mixed towards,  you know, the same kind of ideas and processes.

John Cannavo: Yes, yes.

Derek Gallimore: So it’s been a been a great process and  look forward to keeping in touch.

John Cannavo: I look forward to that as well.

Derek Gallimore: Right. Thanks. And if anyone wants to know any more about the Mays Innovation business center, like how, how, how should they find out about that?

John Cannavo: Yeah, you can,  you can send me an email if you’d like it at [email protected] or you can go to, you can just Google Texas A&M and find the Mays business school and you’ll find us right on the university website.

John Cannavo: Amazing. Thanks.

Derek Gallimore: All right, thank you.

Derek Gallimore: Cool. Thank you. Yeah, that was great.

Derek Gallimore: Okay. That was John Cannavo of the Mays Innovation Research Center as a part of the Texas A & M University. Really enjoyed talking to John. If you want to get in touch with John or see any of the show notes, go to And as always, if you want to ask us anything and just drop us an email to [email protected] See you next time.


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