As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the need for traditional approaches becomes less prevalent. Stories of the rise of artificial intelligence or AI in the workplace have become more and more prevalent. This is both an exciting and cautious time for the offshore outsourcing/Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. We previously predicted that it would be the trend to watch out for, together with the decline of the traditional call center. Though this does mean automating plenty of low, entry level functions, adapting automation puts businesses in the forefront of trends and ahead of their competition.
The Philippines, in particular, has been preparing for this major transition. After all, the BPO industry is poised to become the highest part of the country’s GDP within the next five years. We’re seeing different voices in favor of automation, while others see the future effects on the Filipino workforce. Let’s take a look at some of the insights presented.
The Rise of AI
Even on a surface level, most people are aware of what AI can do for any business. The successful implementation of AI in the BPO industry in particular would mean a massive increase in productivity. Menial and repetitive tasks such as administrative work can become automated, allowing for the allocation of resources in different areas of focus.
The Philippines remains cautiously optimistic with the implementation of AI. Lawmakers understand the concerns brought about the possible loss of jobs and how it will affect the overall business climate. They assure companies that AI would “compliment” current technologies rather than replace them outright. Furthermore, experts encourage further training and upskilling in special areas as these are areas that need to be strengthened. Experts in the Philippines also predict that automation will gain major traction in the next three to five years.
The Drawbacks To Come
Still, skepticism around fully automating functions in the BPO industry still remains. The concerns surrounding it are not unfounded either. The biggest issue being what it would mean for employment. While some see the implementation of AI as an opportunity, others see it as a threat to their livelihood. Despite the assurance from the government, fully automating processes with AI would mean losing over 1.3 million jobs in the Philippine BPO industry alone. If companies are not able to provide alternatives for their livelihood, it becomes detrimental to the industry and the Philippines as a whole.
Additionally, we are already seeing some of the problems that automation has brought to some major companies. YouTube, for instance, caused a stir among its most prolific users with the demonetization of different videos due in part to buggy automation. Facebook’s automation problems are also well documented, with some writers observing it as both a blessing and a curse. Few have observed that AI’s biggest flaw comes with being unable to properly address context with the content being produced. Errors as a result of automation, especially on a major scale, have had unintended consequences.
Finding The Balance
Human interaction is an indispensable asset to any business and in many ways, forms its heart. For all the convenience AI can bring, many people still prefer a “boots on the ground” approach. As Sudhir Agarwal, CEO of Everise, stated “people like talking to people, not machines.”
The BPO industry is never one to shy away from new technology, and AI is no different. If companies are able to take advantage and the quality of work that comes out of the Philippines, they will no doubt have an advantage in the coming years. Part of what makes it such a resilient industry is its ability to stay relevant together with emerging trends. The Philippine workforce has proven again and again it is able to overcome challenges in order to produce quality, world class work. Companies are now seeing both the importance of AI, and the significance of upskilling their workforce. Much like offshoring, the implementation of AI is set to create more jobs rather than decrease them. Slowly but surely, more companies are accepting the next step in a constantly changing business landscape. Those that recognize this are now finding the right balance with new technologies and the people behind it.
Like any business strategy, offshoring is not without its challenges and issues. If applied incorrectly, offshoring can result in a negative experience, with companies not realizing what it can fully do. Many horror stories surrounding offshoring mistakes often come as a result of mismanagement or insufficient knowledge about what it does. Awhile back we looked at some common offshoring mistakes that companies often make. Since then, we’ve seen some improvement in some aspects, while also noticing new concerns that should be addressed.
Avoiding Common Offshoring Mistakes
The offshoring of key functions to reliable providers continues to show itself as a proven business strategy. Companies see the real value of sending functions of all levels to teams that they are wholly responsible for. Getting an idea, therefore, of what offshoring means is also being aware of the limitations it can create. Many of these may sound obvious but even some very established companies have overlooked some of these factors on occasion.
Overlooking Due Diligence
Due diligence is important for any professional collaboration, not just with offshoring. Your grand ideas and visions for a more global presence can certainly be helped with an offshore team. However, without making due diligence checks on potential providers, this can have more negative consequences before you even get started.
Companies that want to offshore need to maintain a level of diligence when they consider their provider. No matter how confident companies might be in the integrity and output of their chosen provider, they still need to conduct due diligence to see if they are indeed up to the standards they have set for themselves. From the quality of talent to their chosen location’s infrastructure, due diligence is an indispensable part of the offshoring process. Once in place, companies can begin to look at other factors that could affect their offshoring experience.
Impatience with Implementation
Offshoring’s unique cost saving approach is what many businesses consider its greatest benefit. So much so that some companies want their strategies to get off the ground as soon as possible. However, doing so many increase risks and could become a very costly endeavor in the longer term.
The reality is that offshoring is not something that can happen overnight. We’ve talked about how businesses need to be patient with the offshoring process. It will require a deep commitment that will cover the professional and personal development of your offshore team. In fact, we believe that it takes companies at least a year to see what offshoring can truly do.
Before any company undertakes an offshoring strategy, they need to ask themselves if they are ready for the long haul.
Not Prioritizing Visibility
One of the clear differences offshoring has from something like outsourcing and freelance work is in collaboration. Your offshore team acts as an extension of your local team and is as vital to your success as they are.
Unfortunately, this is still something that is overlooked. Offshore teams are sometimes seen as a group of people working abroad at a lowered cost. They are not closely involved in the company’s strategies and are only engaged with when needed.
This is why it is important that all teams – local and offshore – are kept in the loop on daily operations. Doing so develops team engagement, which is important if you want to achieve success on a global platform. Leaving your offshore team in the dark may cause a drop in production, affecting your company’s overall morale.
Unclear Roles and Responsibilities
It’s often challenging for businesses that offshore for the first time to make a seamless transition into it. What offshoring covers can lead to confusion from people not knowing what their future roles will be. You may have an idea of what roles you are looking to offshore, but your team may not fully grasp the scale of their new responsibilities.
This doesn’t just mean your offshore team. Your local team will also be affected by the transition period. If they are not aware of their new responsibilities and collaborations, something as simple as time zones could lead to some initial problems. Good offshoring providers stress the importance of clearly defining roles and working with a set timetable to make sure everyone operates on the same wavelength.
A Lack of Proper Strategy
We’ve made it clear that offshoring is a major business decision that needs to be seriously considered. Given this, a lack of strategy or proper management will result in major consequences. Companies that adapt offshoring without looking at its lasting effects can have a negative on the objectives and responsibilities it set for itself. When properly adapted, a good offshoring strategy will give everyone ample time to prepare for changes, whether major or minor, that are about to happen.
This leads back also to proper management. Even if they are not present locally, you will not get the most out of your offshore team without ongoing management. Sure, it might feel that the work itself might be out of your hands locally, which can lead to some concern. Through proper and consistent management however, companies not only can rely on their offshoring provider, but they also help build stronger working relationships between teams. As we stated earlier, the work that offshore teams do should not be seen as less important in spite of being located in another country.
Collaborating with the right provider
Whatever the size of your business is, there’s an offshoring strategy that’s ready for you. Committing to a major decision like offshoring can seem difficult, but the right providers know how to make it a seamless transition for everyone involved. By being aware of the common mistakes surrounding offshoring’s implementation, you also get an idea of how to ensure you are getting the most out of your teams. As one of the leading offshoring providers in the Philippines, Diversify is committed to ensuring that all current and future clients avoid making common offshoring mistakes that have plagued others.
When your business finally decides to offshore, the next thing you need to consider is the offshore team that will help you. It’s your responsibility to form a team that will address your company’s best interests and optimize their skillsets.
Best Practices For Offshore Team Management
This can be achieved by teaming up with a reputable offshoring company in the Philippines. The right provider knows what its responsibilities are when it comes to generating success that your business seeks. They know the need of proper training and management, as well as management structure to oversee offshore teams.
We’ve made clear that one of offshoring’s biggest assets is its hands-on approach. Adapting an offshoring strategy means you cannot just let your provider do all the legwork. With proper managerial methods in place, you can maximize your offshore team’s output and increase their value in the long run.
Here are the three best tips companies can do to ensure their offshore team is managed perfectly.
The Importance of Regular Engagement
Offshoring is all about regular engagement with your team. By keeping tabs with offshore team, you get a firsthand look at their daily outputs and routines. By being more familiar with what your offshore team is doing, you develop an understanding of their greatest assets and areas for improvement.
We discussed previously that engagement is one of the hallmarks of developing positive company culture. With the changing definition of what a global “office” or “company” is, adapting to modern trends is a must. Remember that you may have the best and brightest people on your offshore team. But you will not see or recognize their potential if you do not stay engaged.
Ensuring Stable Communication
Communication with your offshore team in the Philippines is a twofold idea. The technologies available to companies to interact with teams in real time should certainly be used as much as they can. However, there is another aspect of communication to consider.
When you think of the Philippines, English proficiency may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However last year, the Philippines ranked third in English proficiency in Asia. With a literacy rate of 94% and influences from western culture, Filipinos are easy to talk to and get along with, making them a perfect addition to any offshore team.
This also presents some challenges, especially cultural ones. Filipinos may approach particular situations much differently from how Canadians or Australians would. Being unfamiliar with these cultural differences can inevitably lead to miscommunication. By getting a good grasp of Filipino culture, interactions with your offshore team in the Philippines can be smooth and without incident.
An Extension of your Local Team
One of the more crucial mistakes made with offshore teams is when you treat them like outsiders. When you create a segregated work environment, people start feeling disconnected with the company’s overall direction and morale will suffer. It’s important, therefore, for your offshore team to understand the big picture and overall direction of the company. By showing how each of their roles fit into the overall company objectives, the more driven they become.
This is how offshoring greatly differs from outsourcing. It is not something that you can just set and forget in order to yield results. Your offshore team is as vital to your success as your local team is. Therefore, they should be treated as an extension of them. This is not limited to being aligned with business objectives and staying in the loop with company news. You are also responsible for their personal and professional development. Companies help plan career paths for their offshore team members as they shape them into becoming invaluable employees of any company.
Finding the Right Offshore Team
As more businesses become global, it becomes more prevalent to adapt an offshoring strategy. Managing your offshore team will present its own sets of challenges. But ensuring that they are properly engaged with will bring about major advantages. Staying connected with your offshore team also puts everyone on the same wavelength. Your team will work towards the goals set out for them by sharing information, objectives and strategies. It’s important that you do not keep your offshore team in the dark with your daily activities.
Finding a team that suits your needs in the Philippines need not be difficult as well. We at Diversify can help you get started on your offshoring journey as we assess your current objectives, and determine the right offshoring approach for you.
Take a look at some great photos from Diversify’s 2018 summer outing. You can also read about how we made a big Splash that weekend here.
Diversify has always made it a point to be a fun and exciting place to work in. If you’ve seen what goes on into the planning and presentation of our monthly huddles, Diversify works and plays hard. The efforts that Diversify put into their daily tasks is matched by their enthusiasm and creativity outside of the office.
As the company continues to grow, then so must the scale of its events. Last April 28th, employees across all our sites were determined to make this year’s Diversify summer outing a very memorable event. One could even say that they were ready to make a huge Splash this summer season.
A Grand Entrance
From the moment Diversify employees arrived at the venue, the festivities were already in full swing. The 20 piece school band burst into life as they greeted first group of Diversify staff arrived at the Whiterock Beach Resort in Subic Bay. The sun was out, the weather was hot and a gentle offshore breeze was helping to keep conditions comfortable. Indeed, Diversify was ready to make a Splash as their annual beach outing had commenced!
This year’s event was held at a beautiful protected natural bay approximately 150 klms Northwest of Manila. Once known as the home for the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, this idealistic location is now one of the destinations of choice for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of busy Manila life. Whiterock itself had different facilities on offer, including two wave pools, an indoor bowling avenue, zip lines, climbing walls and a floating inflatable ocean adventure park.
Once the staff had arrived it quickly became obvious how much our numbers had swelled. Since the last beach outing, there were now nearly 300 people attending the event. After the formal welcome, everyone was separated into teams based on the offices where the staff were located: RSC (Makati), BGC and Cyber Sigma.
Leading the Battlecry
To get the ball rolling, all teams were asked to get the crowd going with their own version of a battlecry. True to Diversify form, the participating groups were not just satisfied with putting together their own war cries and dances. Teams went above and beyond as they dressed in costumes, made use of elaborate props and did their best to demonstrate what they believed the essence of a Hakka to be. The dances and music were rehearsed and well thought through, with all of the teams putting on very impressive and motivational performances. This helped to excite and prepare the onlooking crowd for what was to come next.
Race for your life!
Up next was the Amazing Race. Much like the TV show, teams competed to complete a series of 10 tasks spread across the resorts facilities. These tasks ranged from solving puzzles, withstanding the waters of a giant wave pool and walking around blindfolded just to name a few.
The games and chosen tasks had a twofold purpose. With 10 different stations scattered across the resort, it gave teams the chance to explore the entire resort and enjoy its many attractions. In addition, it also allowed the team members to get to know each other in a different environment allowing them to strengthen their bonds of camaraderie. They solved problems as a team and overcame their challenges, whilst all the while having fun in the process. Sure, people were exhausted by the time they reached the 10th station, but the energy and atmosphere of the afternoon gave everyone that final push to complete their objectives.
Enjoying the Diversify Summer Outing
For the rest of the afternoon, Diversify employees had time to leisurely enjoy Whiterock at their own pace. Those who participated in The Amazing Race went back to revisit some of their favourite activities while others explored new parts of the resort. Some ate, some drank but everyone enjoyed the company of their fellow employees throughout the day.
Our summer outings have always been one of the high points of any Diversify employee’s year. Even if they were tired on the trip back, many could not stop talking about what had transpired during the day. The following day back in the office, conversations continued around the fun that had been had and how everyone performed during the day’s events. Many were even generous enough to share the photos they had taken during the event!
Summer outings like Splash are a favourite in Diversify, not just because they mean a day off at the beach but more because they are an opportunity for the staff to develop new friendships and build on existing relationships in an exciting new environment away from the office. Our teams also get to see first-hand the effort and enthusiasm the Diversify management team puts into these events to ensure they are fun, exciting and different to years prior. This all helps continue to build our excellent culture and ensure that staff feel like they belong to a company that genuinely appreciates and values their efforts.
Diversify believes in the simple philosophy of putting its people first and events like Splash make this very tangible to the staff.
If your company has not considered offshoring key roles yet, there’s no better time to start than now. As technologies become more developed, so does the ease of communicating with others around the world. Business experts have consistently touted its benefits, especially in today’s globalized community.
Often cited as a modern business, offshoring helps businesses stay future proof amidst constantly changing ideas and technology. Companies that have adapted it are able to create their own brand of success through its cost saving, engaging approach and how it is able to take them to the next level globally.
The True Definition of Offshoring
With both offshoring and outsourcing under the BPO umbrella, some tend to lump both services together as having only minor differences. On the contrary, it is important for companies to know the major differences between offshoring and outsourcing. What a business could need may require more offshored functions rather than outsourced ones, and vice versa. In effect, this saves them time and valuable resources in attaining their business objectives.
With outsourcing, companies work with a third party provider that will supply the people needed for their particular functions. The outsourcing provider is responsible for much of the legwork while companies can focus on other objectives. Though not a very hands-on approach, outsourcing is able to bring what businesses need at a schedule set for them. On the other hand, offshoring requires more input and closer collaboration from businesses. With a more hands on approach, companies can intensively screen those who will be part of their team and what functions they will handle. Companies achieve this through constant engagement coupled with the plotting of future career paths for their team members. It is often considered a “smart, strategic decision” because of this.
Simply put, one is more process intensive while the other is more managerial intensive.
Given this, offshoring is also often mistaken as a less effective approach than freelancing. While they may also look similar on paper, freelancing has fundamental differences from offshoring. For instance, offshoring is a more cost effective approach even if it is pricier than freelancing. You also have access to much more dedicated team that has gone through rigorous company standards that you have set. It’s through these differences that show why offshoring is preferred by businesses than freelancing.
The Real Impact on the Local Workforce
Because offshoring deals with sending functions to other countries, there’s certainly going to be pushback to it. Some believe that it negatively impacts local employment and causes job loss. Over the years, we’ve seen that this is simply not true.
The truth is that while it does mean lesser roles available, it also means more opportunities open up locally. By sending administrative, low level functions to be offshored, local companies can shift focus on bigger, revenue generating priorities. This shift in objectives benefits both the company and the offshore team working with them.
The Range of Offshored Roles
When the BPO Industry first started out, only large, established companies were able to take advantage of this. Most of them did so by sending their customer service roles to other countries at a fraction of the price. It’s through this that services like offshoring are wrongly seen as being part of “the call center industry.”
Today, thanks to continuing evolving technologies, the roles that can be offshored have greatly expanded. On paper, the range of offshored roles may seem unusual, even impossible. Consider for a moment the role of an accountant in a company. They deal with your finances, thus needing extra discretion and security in their work. Sending such a vital role offshore does sound absurd. Some companies are even considering full teams because they see they see what proper offshoring does for them. Forward thinking companies today see the importance of offshoring and chances are, your competitors might already be doing the same thing.
Setting Proper Expectations
In recent years, more and more businesses around the world are seeing the positive effects of offshoring. It has greatly benefited the Australian economy, and it is slowly being recognized by more Canadian businesses. The need to be and stay globalized in today’s business environment is more important than ever.
So if your business has strongly considered it, your expectations also need to be tempered. Despite hearing about all the positives it can bring, offshoring is not something you can just implement on the fly. In fact, to truly see what it can do, business should stay committed to it for at least a year. Consider also some of the myths that you may have heard surrounding offshoring. You may be hesitant to consider adapting it because of stories about its cost, time and effectiveness. That’s why it is important to temper expectations with offshoring before making a major decision to use it.
Beginning Your Offshoring Journey
The time is ripe for businesses to offshore. For those that already are, it is also the perfect time for them to further enhance their offshoring potential. Though sharing similarities to outsourcing, it is consistently defining itself as a more cost effective and long term approach. Businesses have been benefiting from offshore teams for a long time now. When companies see that their competitors are offshoring before them, there’s a chance they will fall behind. With the right provider however, offshoring can be a positive experience for any business.
Diversify is fully equipped to help businesses begin their offshoring journey. Contact us today to learn more.
In recent weeks, we’ve talked about what makes outsourcing the most viable way your company can grow. With the ever changing environment, outsourcing has helped businesses experience cost savings while maintaining quality work.
It’s no secret what has made outsourcing successful. By collaborating with a good provider, companies can expand their services and put more focus on priorities. An outsourcing provider can handle administrative tasks while your company can work on core objectives it has set for itself. This is also why the outsourcing of back office processes has remained viable.
The Importance of a Back Office
You can look at the role of a company’s back office like you would a ship’s engine room. Though not as seen or known, its functions behind the curtain are what keep an entire operation running. Through outsourcing, back office roles have extended to functions in finance, human resources, accounting, and IT. If a company’s back office is not handled properly, the rest of the business is likely to falter.
Here are some of the core reasons companies outsource their back office.
Let’s get this out of the way. If you need your back office to operate at a very high level, doing so locally will be costly. When companies collaborate with an outsourcing provider in another country, they see cost savings in office space, equipment used, and employees that will take on these tasks. Depending on the provider, businesses can outsource a wide range of support functions at a lower rate than they would in-house.
Priority on Core Activities
As noted earlier, outsourcing back office functions lets companies shift their priorities. They no longer need to spend time and local resources on addressing administrative tasks. By outsourcing some key back office functions, companies will be given more opportunities and energy to prioritize long-term processes. They can also formulate new strategies that will make room for growth while also staying ahead of any competition.
Collaboration with Professionals
By teaming with the right outsourcing provider, companies get access to some very talented employees. Their outsourced team can accomplish all the tasks given to them at the highest level needed of them.
Whether administrative or high level functions, working with a qualified and educated outsourced workforce means proficiency and quality. Businesses that recognize this have a definite edge in completing the tasks they have set out for themselves.
The speed in which businesses are growing today is unprecedented. A company can double, even triple its growth almost right away and most are not fully equipped to handle this adjustment. With a strong, outsourced back office in place, your company will find more flexibility when it needs to scale. From team management to overseeing any required training, companies can breathe a little easier with their outsourcing provider in place.
Access To Technology And Infrastructure
Access to all the latest technology and infrastructure is a must for any company looking to be profitable. They help a business perform the necessary processes at an optimal level. This, however, can be a costly endeavor when done locally. Through an outsourcing provider, companies can make use of new software and hardware without the need to invest a large sum of money.
The right provider should also be ready to address any problems during your business’ peak season and ready to phase out any outdated processes.
The Need To Adopt Outsourcing
The beauty of outsourcing is that it can be adopted by just about any business size in any industry. Companies need to realize that there is no better time to consider outsourcing than now, whether it’s an entire back office or specific functions.
When deciding to outsource back office functions, companies need to clearly define tasks that will move to their provider from their in-house environment. This ensures a seamless transition of tasks while also keeping everyone involved in the loop of any changes made.
When you think of outsourcing functions, those related to IT usually first spring to mind. Some would even say that the BPO industry overall gained traction because of the breadth of outsourced IT functions. In recent years, it has gone beyond just providing in-office support to companies they collaborate with.
Properly fitting your business for IT functions is not an easy task. It is something that must be done regularly, resulting in a costly endeavor. This is often why businesses turn to outsourcing. If no one in locally has the IT expertise a business needs, they are likely to get results through outsourcing. They save money while also meeting their different IT-related needs.
Essential IT Functions to Outsource
Indeed, the IT industry has the biggest range of functions companies can send to outsource. It is also true that the business climate has continued to evolve. What were once perceived as simple tasks can now be called challenging. At the rapid rate businesses work today, it is inevitable for certain functions to be outsourced.
Here are five IT functions that your business should consider sending to an outsourcing provider.
Perhaps the most common IT function outsourced is software development. Not only is it a more cost and time saving approach for companies, it allows them to work with experienced professionals while mitigating risks. There may be a lack of local or in-house experience, but outsourcing software development allows flexibility and a focused strategy.
Web Design and Development
We’ve discussed at length before the importance of web development to companies today. In an increasingly online environment, it’s important that companies stand out with their online presence. Companies that do not have a defined presence online and just rely on social media reach are at a major disadvantage. An outsourced web designer not only makes sure you stand out, but
However, while a website’s presentation is important, so is the overall functionality. A business’ website may have all the content and branding it needs to win people over. If it is constantly plagued by errors or does not properly display on mobile devices, potential customers and clients will react negatively.
Managing an entire email account may not be the first role you consider when outsourcing IT functions. As stated earlier however, the rapid rate of operations means a high volume stream of emails daily.
By outsourcing your email management, you not only address this but a well-equipped outsourced IT team offers protection common digital attacks. They can organize cluttered inboxes and can also provide regular reporting of messages that are of high priority.
Experienced outsourcing providers are able to scale any IT infrastructure required of them. For businesses on the cusp of growing, they may need dedicated servers beyond their local office. As their business grows, so should the IT infrastructure that scales along with them.
You can also access and use a shared server in order to exclusively use a protected server of your own. By outsourcing managed hosting functions, your providers can adjust their infrastructure based on particular conditions at any time. You anticipate when massive influxes are coming in to your website, then scaling back to a more manageable approach.
Data center outsourcing
Most third-party outsourcing providers offer data processing and resources for companies. This is often the case when the company’s own IT department is not equipped for it. From data collection to data storage and backup, maintenance and updates, having a trained staff on-hand can help ease the processes that come with data center outsourcing.
Keeping Your Business Competitive
The track record of outsourced IT functions continues to develop as technology gets better. As a cost saving approach, outsourcing is second to none, especially when it comes to IT functions. More than that, companies that outsourced will be collaborating with an experienced provider that can meet their goals.
Diversify is fully equipped to handle IT functions ready to be outsourced with teams that can take on these responsibilities. Contact us today to get started.