What South Africa BPO can learn from Indian BPO?

South Africa is a culturally rich, beautiful country having excellent infrastructure and a young vibrant population, majority of who are well educated.  Although SA has all the right mix to overtake its neighboring counterparts in the BPO market, the country is still lagging behind in resources, cost competitiveness and operating environment.

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Many BPO companies are setting up shop in SA to take advantage of its high-quality telecommunications infrastructure and cheaper labour costs. Inspite of this, the BPO market in SA has not progressed enough when compared with the Indian industry.

The expertise found in Indian services and technology simplifies the outsourced business processes to increase efficiency and add value.  As reported by ITWeb, one of SA’s technology news websites, the Indian BPO market and IT industry have generated a total revenue crossing $100 billion with exports alone close to $69 billion.  These figures as given by Nasscom, an Indian-based organization in the BPO sector, further imply that India has scaled up its market share up to 58% in 2011 which is 7% higher than what it had just 2 years prior to that!

Mediahouse recently held an interview with vice-chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies, Ganesh Natarajan.  Zensar is an Indian- based BPO with operations in USA, Asia-Pacific and Middle-East regions, Africa and Europe.

In excerpts from the interview, Natarajan stated that India is the leader in outsourcing mainly because of its market-oriented scalability and skills.  These are India’s advantages over its counterparts in the BPO market in Philippines, Ireland and China which have technological skills.

When asked what has stunted the SA’s BPO industry, Natarajan stated that there are a lot of positive changes in the BPO market in SA and it can accomplish what India managed to achieve over a span of 2 decades. He further stated that there is nothing preventing the BPO market in SA from scaling great heights especially with its English-speaking young population.

ITWeb also questioned the CEO of Zensar what their area of focus is.  He replied that one of their primary goals would be to help the government boost the BPO market by working hand in hand with government agencies as well as academic institutions.  SA needs to tap its potential in the outsourcing market.  Highlighting the example of Philippines, Natarajan stated that they are currently leading the call center industry, which is being emulated by SA.  He also stated that although the Philippines are the major players there, India is much more advanced when it comes to back office IT operations even topping China.

The regional business head and VP of Zensar Technologies also spoke to ITWeb stating the lack of expert IT skills posed a great hindrance in the SA outsourcing sector.  He further revealed that, Zensar has invested in developing the skills of local resources having set up a training center in Rivonia.  Here graduates from SA are put through development programs to support the business concerns.  The company went on to state that they aim to spread out into the neighboring regions  in Africa with a view to use Rivonia as an offshore center for those regions and in time create their own centers there.

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