Infra readiness, talent pool seen vital for BPO competitiveness

Aug. 21, 2009

DAVAO CITY — As business process outsourcing (BPO) locators look for more viable investment areas outside Metro Manila, Mindanao should fast track efforts in creating a conducive environment for these investors, zeroing in on infrastructure readiness and tapping its enormous talent pool.

This was disclosed by industry experts during a recent workshop that gathered key stakeholders in the BPO and information and communications technology (ICT) sector to identify issues and concerns and build on strengths that would make the city more attractive to BPO locators.

“Abundant and low-cost real estate is spurring the growth of IT-BPO investments and this boom is fuelled by real demand with many potential investors asking for ready-now spaces at reasonable cost,” said Lizabel Holganza, president of ICT Davao Inc.

She added that Manila and Cebu have abundant IT parks that are registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), which is a main requirement of BPO locators.

Bert Barriga, ICT Davao external vice president said that Davao must be able to increase the number of its PEZA sites and make these sites attractive and viable investment locations.

Barriga reiterated that infrastructure, talent, cost of doing business and risk management are the major criteria the BPO locators are focusing on. He cited that Davao should increase its competitiveness in the major areas of the BPO scorecard because investors cannot all converge in Metro Manila.

Holganza also said that Mindanao needs to capitalize on its large untapped absorptive capacity which can drive the IT-BPO development efforts.

“The fact that Davao and the entire Mindanao has a deep talent pool creates a big pull for potential locators,” she said, adding that the potential of this pool must be clearly understood: Deliver “high-end outsourcing process such as knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and information technology outsourcing ITO).”

Holganza added that ICT Davao has already started efforts in mapping out the 2015 projection for HR demand in the different ICTs as well as continuing collaborations with academe and technical education providers in providing skills enhancement programs that will close HR gaps.

Other workshops also focused on security of infrastructure and transport systems, fiscal incentives and creating an ICT-friendly environment, energy demand, and talent development.

The series of workshops are part of the ICT Summit 2009-Convergence 2009 held in Davao City on August 6 to 7 gathering around 250 participants in the field of ICT from both government and private sectors.

The two day tackled the Philippine Industry Outlook and Davao’s Roadmap 2015 which will showcase medium-term development plan for ICT and IT-BPO industry as well as the various ICT development programs by the Commission on ICT (CICT).

A BPO jobs caravan also conducted career talks, job simulations, jobs fair, career assessment and site tours. (Medco)

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