“Business Process Outsourcing” is relatively a new domain of employment in Bangladesh. It started with a limited number of outsourced call centers for international customers back in early 2000. However, landmark year of BPO industry was 2009 when Telecom industry taken the lead andstarted outsourcing to local BPO service providers. Since then many companies local and multinationalstarted outsourcing their back office operations, which was highly pivotal in the inception of local BPO industry. However predominance of call centers and customer cares in BPO industry do not signal real potential and capacity of Bangladeshi human capital.Bangladesh is a country thatis producing every year nearly half million graduates on business, information technology, engineering, medical and humanities discipline.
|Table 1 Service Readiness of Local BPO Industry|
|Customer Care & Contact Centre|| Market Research & Analysis|
|Data Capture/Management|| Research & Analytics|
|Document Management|| Customer Interaction & Support Services|
|Email Support|| Finance & Accounting|
|Insurance Claim Processing||Engineering and R&D|
|Card/Cheque Processing||HR Processing Services|
|Human Resource Services||Testing Services|
|Payroll Processing||Legal Services/td>|
In fact, the industry is much more ready for non-voice processes for the international customers. There are two reasons for this: (1) Over the last 10 years, BPO industry has gained experiences of delivering services to the companies operating in Bangladesh; (2) The millennial workforce of Bangladesh had invested more on higher education. They are educated on commerce, accounting, finance, information technology, engineering and medical studies. These two trends that happened over the last decade are key elements of BPO industry’s SWOT spectrum.
Abundance of skilled workforce and lowest relative wage rate – these two factors should also be considered by the local and international customers seeking for outsourced service partners in Bangladesh.Graduate unemployment and under employment rate is high in Bangladesh which allows BPO companies to explore varieties and fill vacancies quickly. This also has an impact on the skilled wage rate; making it as low as unskilled wage rate. Even considering a hefty human resource development cost, average hourly cost of employing a graduate would be around 25% less than any other country. Cost growth is also phenomenally low. Therefore engaging knowledge based outsourced center in Bangladesh would not only ensure high quality but also low risk and mammoth cost savings.
The industry and the Government of Bangladesh had captured the current picture and potential of the BPO industry.The industry associations Bangladesh Association of Call Center and Outsourcing (BACCO) is working closely with government to capitalize on the opportunities emerged for the industry. The government had already initiated handfuls of capacity development projects which will open up avenue of IT outsourcing in Bangladesh significantly.
The BPO Summit Bangladesh (2015) was the first BACCO-government partnered initiative that showcased the BPO industry to the international market and voiced the industry needs to policymakers. This was just an inception point; many such events will be required.The future of BPO industry is overwhelmingly bright. The pathway is just paved; now is needed directional guidance, strategy and leaders who can implement.
Wahidur Rahman Sharif
Digicon Technologies Ltd.