Outsource to the Caribbean Conference held in Montego Bay

Key influencers from the global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, as well as regional government representatives
and leaders in the Caribbean BPO sector converged in Montego Bay on Wednesday, December 6th to attend the first Outsource to the Caribbean Conference.

Under the theme, “Leveraging the Nearshore Caribbean for Outsourcing Services,” the aim of the conference was to further position the Caribbean in the global BPO space and connect overseas investors to the region.

The Caribbean’s BPO sector currently employs nearly 100,000 and there is an aggressive push to expand this further.

Caribbean Export, Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and JAMPRO organised the two-day conference — presented by itelbpo, Jamaica’s largest indigenous customer contact centre — at the Iberostar Hotel.

The itinerary included key presentations and panel discussions, and highlighted key success stories in the industry. One such success story was that of itelbpo. Since the company’s launch in 2012, they have grown from a local team of seven to a global team of 1,000.

“Outsourcing the itelbpo way,” declared the company’s Founder & CEO, Yoni Epstein, “is about the Power of People. We have successfully grown into a global contact centre because of our team. That’s why we’ve nurtured a culture and a working environment focused on staff wellness and happiness. We wanted to create a Silicon-valley style office on the waterfront with a strong technological backbone and a skilled workforce, and we’ve achieved this.”

The region’s human capital was lauded as a major reason why it’s being seen as a strategic Nearshore destination. A skilled and young labour force with strong English and multi-lingual communication skills, as well as high labour retention compared to
other BPO regions are just some of the reasons for this strong differentiator.

Other key factors that give the Caribbean a competitive edge include,

1) Nearshore location — time zone alignment with North America, short flight times and cultural affinity;

2) Modern Infrastructure;

3) High quality of life; and

4) Supportive business environment.

Another major takeaway of the conference was the importance of technology and diversifying the sector into more value-added services. This includes providing tech and software solutions for clients, in particular cloud computing services, such as chat bots and Artificial Intelligence.

Digital conversations that create great customer experiences are a high value-added area with immediate potential. This requires a
workforce with sophisticated skillsets that local BPO’s are eager to curate. Jamaica’s KnightFox App Design is one of the region’s fastest growing IT outsourcers.

KnightFox’s CEO, Egbert von Frankenberg, has been a leading advocate for up-skilling the sector.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from CEOs in Silicon Valley, there is a growing interest in looking at the Caribbean as a software outsourcing destination. We’re working with NCU on enhancing their Cloud computing curriculum for this purpose, and we want to see more industry leaders getting involved in upgrading and expanding Computer Science education.”

The BPO sector is currently Jamaica’s second largest. A strong, happy and highly-skilled workforce will play a key part in capturing a greater share of the U$2 billion global market and moving the sector forward.

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