Romulo Reyes – Bridging Gaps and Breaking Borders
In this episode, Derek is joined by Romulo Reyes of Elite Global Sourcing for the third time Elite Global Sourcing is specifically a gaming BPO. Derek speaks more broadly on Romulo’s engagement in the tech community and outsourcing.
- Romulo is the Managing Director of Elite Global Sourcing. He handles the business, operations, marketing and sales, B2B, B2C for the company.
- He took up Development Communication at the University of the Philippines.
- He shares that in terms of developing education, he strongly encourages everyone not just to go out and learn on their own but also look at the learning institutions and then learn from those people.
- Romulo thinks that technology and the way that people work has advanced a certain degree wherein video conferencing is already bridging so many of those gaps. However, what’s really lacking right now is the soft touch, the human element.
- He also thinks that the secret sauce in making all of these things work whether you’re in the same office or you’re a thousand miles away would really be the culture, mindset, and attitude.
- Through the internet, the world is becoming a smaller place and geographical borders are becoming less relevant.
- There’s a huge opportunity in outsourcing but it’s not a magic bullet and it’s not all happy days. For instance, there are differences in the culture and expectations.
- The most simple thing can have the biggest impact.
- Clients come with a lot of question marks in their heads. If your company can come in with your own expertise and experience and try to provide solutions, not just for the business but for the entire business, then the value chain becomes much more stronger between your organizations.
Derek: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast my name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode number 114. So today I am joined again by Romulo Reyes. We spoke earlier to Romulo in episode 102 and 108 where he introduced himself and we discussed at the gaming industry and his Elite Global Solutions outsourcing firm that offers very specialized gaming and development services. So today we speak more broadly to Romulo he’s very engaged in the tech community but also just genuinely the outsourcing and commerce community of the Philippines so I wanted to tap into his insight there and you know we’re discussing of course from the perspective of how the west can and should leverage the opportunities here in the Philippines so I am sure you’ll enjoy it and there’s a lot to learn certainly I learned a lot from Romulo so if you want any of the show notes or to get in touch with Romulo then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/114. Enjoy.
Derek: Okay, so I’m excited to be joined by Romulo Reyes again of Elite global sourcing, Elite is a I’ll let Romulo introduce himself but we have spoken previously to Romulo we’ve heard about his journey and we’ve heard about Elite and what they offer so you can go back and listen to those episodes but I want to bring Romulo back to hack his mind about where the Philippines is going and the opportunity here so welcome back Romulo.
Romulo: Thanks for having me, Derek
Derek: And do you want to just give people a quick background as to who you are and what you do?
Romulo: Yup I’m Romulo Reyes, I’m the Managing Director for Elite Global Sourcing. I handle the business, operations, marketing and sales, B2B, B2C for the company.
Derek: Fantastic and you’re Filipino obviously for those who aren’t aware I mean because of the accent is so neutral but actually, it’s quite the US but you educated in the US?
Romulo: No I actually took up Development Communication here in the Philippines, University of the Philippines
Derek: And I just want to explore the opportunities of outsourcing and you know one of my biggest argument is that the world is becoming through technology through the internet is becoming a smaller and smaller place and geographical borders are becoming less relevant but also with that not wanting to get too philosophical but institutional education is becoming less relevant you know especially in a sort of higher technological spaces but if you are starting at it again Romulo if you were like a 17 years old and you had an interest in gaming in days world how would you go back educating yourself would you go to university would you just go online to a forum and figure out how to code how to do people do it these days?
Romulo: I think there is no easy way to answer that question but for the most part personally myself first thing I’d still go to University why I wanna be well rounded. It’s not so much that I cannot research and then learn on my own but also i’d rather from an earlier age talk to a lot of subject matter experts a lot of these influencers within you know these different industries and then just absorb everything be have to say inside and outside of the classroom but if I had a choice and you know if I can have this 20/20 vision of where I would have been doing for the next you know remaining days of my life I’d go back and study data engineering.
Derek: Because you see that as a foundational king ping to everything of the future yeah?
Romulo: Correct data engineering I mean it’s not hugely popular right now but it can be applied to nearly every aspect not just of gaming but everything in life, finance, banking, healthcare, security even the military and you know I think that’s a very good foundation in terms of developing your education and strongly encouraging everyone not just to go out and learn on their own but also look at these institutions learning institutions you know it doesn’t have to be University it can be a small college you know if they can afford to go to these small training centers I mean the government practically giving free training right now just go there and then learn from these people absorb it like a sponge.
Derek: You know I preach to people out there in the west there’s a huge opportunity at the end of the day save a ton of money by outsourcing to the Philippines. Salaries can be 90% cheaper you were saying in the previous episode that salaries for high-end developers can be up to 60% cheaper kind of thing the savings are massive but it’s not just about saving you need a good product you need a good result and you don’t want to be pulling your hair out when you are going through the process of delivering that so there’s a lot of other factors but also there’s with outsourcing a huge opportunity for innovation and growth when you have access to a big pool of cheaper resources so you know I see a huge opportunity with outsourcing but it’s not a magic bullet and it’s not all happy days like there are differences in the culture there are differences in expectations it can be difficult to manage a remote team but do you see those things as converging and any issue of sort of outsourcing of the past is now getting removed and soon there is no difference in outsourcing insourcing?
Romulo: Let me go back I think back at 2006 well feels like yesterday well actually 11 years ago so I was working for a major BPO here in the Philippines and video conferencing wasn’t really a big thing you know I mean the technology was there but for some reason we just did come close, you know so we didn’t really see each other that’s a small portion of how communication affects outsourcing. We’re trying to blur the lines between the geographic location of both offices even culture even language because the moment that you see this person right now everyone is doing videocon and google hangouts viber skype you name it I mean for Elite global sourcing as an example we are servicing Korean, a South Korean, company’s Chinese company’s, North American company’s, European companies and we in fact probably a little less than half of the clients that we have we’ve never met face to face and they’ve been with us for 3 or 4 years so my point is right now, technology and the way that people work has advanced the certain degree wherein video conferencing is already bridging so many of that gaps but what’s really lacking right now is the soft touch the human element I think that’s what a lot of this smaller and medium size BPO’s need to understand. It’s not really how much you invest that would really drive the customer or the client satisfaction but it’s also how much sincerity and integrity that you pin into your work because people feel that. that is the human touch that I’m talking about and if people respond more in a certain way then that really eliminates probably 90% of this misconception about offshoring and its limitations.
Derek: Yeah that billing community isn’t it with your game as well it’s about building a community and a common purpose and then actually anything else can be symathical really when I was managing a team I had a team in London and a team here in the Philippines and there was a little bit of catching between teams because the teams were geographically separated but I find that even in any company if you are spread across five floors of the same building, you’ll get 1 floor differentiating themselves to the floor above because it kind of a like a tribalism that your kind of aligned to and you know I back in the days 3,4,5 years ago is my mission to try and get big monitors on the wall where they would just be a continual skype connection sort of it almost be a window from office to office and so would create a sense of community it never really happened there was claim sort of as 1 party trying to watch another party but I think eventually technology will overcome this geographical distance.
Romulo: Correct but I also like to add using gaming as an example that’s true I mean u have these blue chips companies right? they’ve got this multiple floors multiple separate buildings and they’re trying to make everyone work together I mean quite recently Microsoft just recalled people who work at home they want to bring everyone back to the offices make things more efficient but I’d like to make a case an example. I was playing this game this was back in early 2000 I was running this game called Everquest and it runs in a 56kbps modem on my phone line and I was part of this guild and our guild was comprised of literally a 175 people across the world I mean I’ve played with a group of people who didn’t even know that the Philippines have internet so mind boggling but anyway I mean you’ve got these people from around the world never seen each other well of course except their character there was no voice only chat and we were fighting against a guild of 200 so the coordination aspect the teamwork that you need I mean from my more than 25 years in running companies is nearly the same as having this what we call a player vs player battle and you’re not just against a spreadsheet or a board or let’s say time table you’re against other people with the same mindset which is to defeat you very competitive.
Derek: So this game didn’t have a graphic interface it was just a text interface?
Romulo: This had graphic but it had no voice it’s just purely chat and doing a lot of things and then chatting with 175 people trying to destroy other people who’d like to do the same you know well my point is I think the secret sauce in making all of these things work whether you’re in the same office or your a thousand of mile away would be really the culture and the mindset and the attitude and that’s what the best guild and the most strongest guilds in whatever you game that you play whether you are playing everquest world of warcraft ,ultima online you’d see that the strongest guild is always gold driven and have this very strong sense of culture and you know well being a versus guilds who have really been defeated and they just disband it I mean i’ve yet to see a study even if there is in terms of the organization development based on a study guilds in online games
Derek: There’s an interesting metaphor there because often is the most simple thing that can have the biggest impact because in that gaming environment you had a huge amount of friction you know you had very small bandwidth, you couldn’t get a lot of information from you were just kind of texting chat and you had a 175 people imagine that was a lot of crosses messaging and what I talk about in outsourcing other points of friction you know you’re not in the same room which introduces friction you might have a different time zone which is friction there’s cultural and sometimes friction and but there is friction in everything it’s seemed that one of the straight for success within your game is that there was very clear common goal in that u had to defeat the other team and everyone was aware of that and then it almost made the points of friction or irrelevant because you just put up with those and then you knew your common goal and you are all working towards that, and you know this is a management so what I don’t want to preach it but what I say in outsourcing is commonly sure you’ve got to train your team you’ve got the get the best out of them but when people start outsourcing commonly is the business owner or the team the foreign guy that need the training because you know they need to learn how to manage you for a remote teams and how to be culturally aware to get best out of their team it’s fascinating do you find when you have new clients that sometimes it is actually the client that needs educating about how to get the best out of their team?
Romulo: Exactly you know just to give a specific example we have a client in when they approach us they didn’t have any information about the South East Asian market so they didn’t know had a I don’t want to say it properly but how they effectively engage the users and there were a lot of questions like, how do you answer customer service tickets that is multicultural you have multi religious background diversity and they didn’t have any knowledge base standard operating procedure even mind map to address that because mostly their market was North America and Europe which is you know pretty much I don’t want to say this sam I don’t want to generalize in that degree but more western more homogenize and you’ve got Southeast Asian so many things happening so we came in and then we worked with their Product Manager drafted a framework for customer service, social network and E sports and we’ve agreed on a of course some back and forth but we agreed on specific strategies and how to approach that so I think what other companies can learn would be sometimes clients come to with a lot of question marks in their head and if you can come in with your own expertise and experience and try to provide solutions not just for the business but not just for department but for the entire business then the value chain becomes much more stronger between you know your organizations.
Derek: And it becomes a true partnership isn’t it? You’re not just a staff lessee your actually a rolling in your sleeves getting to the degree of their business and they’re then I suppose absorbing your business expertise and your 10 years experience.
Romulo: And we’re more than happy to assure that with everyone
Derek: Thank you for your time Romulo and if of course people want to get in touch with you for any reason at all how can they do that?
Romulo: They can go to our website it’s Elitegsl.com you can send us an email here or you can chat with us we’re available 24/7.
Derek: thank you so much and all of that will be in the show notes of course.
Romulo: Thanks, Derek.
Derek: Thanks, Romulo.
Derek: That was Romulo Reyes, that was the 3rd time we have spoken to him if you want to check out the other episodes or if you want to get in touch Romulo then go to our show notes we’ll put all of the links in there you can find these notes at outsourceaccelerator.com/114 and if you want to ask us anything then just drop us an email at [email protected] See you next time.