Opinion

Caribbean BPO must define itself at Montego Bay conference

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Currently, there is no shortage of prospective delivery points that are positioning themselves as logical spots for offshoring. This must be top of mind for investment promotion professionals and outsourcers who aim to showcase the Caribbean as an option to firms not already implanted in that region.  However, industry watchers will be waiting to see how the Caribbean’s various industry stakeholders differentiate themselves relative to the other established and emerging global BPO locations.

There is little doubt that over the past fifteen years, providers and their clients have been able to choose from some of the best offshoring delivery points.  What was once a play between only a few countries – predominantly Mexico, India, South Africa and the Philippines – has morphed into a plentiful buffet of choice in practically every region of the globe.  This is the environment that the Caribbean’s outsourcing stakeholders face going into 2018. Taking the opportunity to determine, as well as communicate, the region’s key selling points is essential.

There are a number of facets that Caribbean outsourcing stakeholders should highlight to delegates at the Outsource to the Caribbean conference that takes place this week in Montego Bay.  One of the most obvious advantages relates to its multilingualism.  That BPO providers can access large volumes of talent that speak Spanish, French and English (in that order of magnitude) is relatively unique in the offshore community.  This is notwithstanding the Caribbean’s Dutch-speaking community, which provides an interesting niche play.  Combined, this region has the potential to be an obvious alternative for not only servicing consumers in US and Canada, but also for countries in Europe and Australia / New Zealand.

Equally important in the context of offshoring from the Caribbean is this region’s legacy in BPO delivery, where providers have found solid levels of stability and value.  Given the importance that so many enterprises and their outsourcing partners place on quality, the fact that some of the world’s largest and most successful third-party providers can be found across the Caribbean is extremely reassuring.  This is reinforced by the growing number of emerging local Caribbean players that are aggressively positioning their services to overseas clients.

But despite these points of strength, the Caribbean’s outsourcing community needs to remember that its front office BPO sector will only succeed if it is positioned to meet the evolving needs of enterprises in key demand markets.  Thus, combining its language skills and outsourcing legacy alongside growing capabilities in digital services, non-voice delivery, and back-end support, will be crucial in helping carve its place in the global offshore market.  Simply put, the Caribbean is not able to compete on volume against low-cost locations with large agent volumes.  Therefore, a focus on higher-margin work needs be at the forefront of any long-term, sustainable Caribbean BPO strategy.

There is a lot of competition among global offshore locations at the moment, and the outsourcing stakeholders in the Caribbean deserve credit for proactively positioning that region to prospective investors.  In order to be successful at the conference and over the long term, every effort needs to be made in order to show the high quality, premium value potential that the Caribbean offers.

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