- It’s time for Africa
By Sourin Buragohain
Let’s start this editorial with a story from far away India. Over the last 20 years, India has become the world’s favoured market for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies, among other competitors, such as, Philippines, Brazil, Hungary, Canada, Australia, Ireland etc. The A T Kearney’s 2016 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) study rated India as number one out of the total 55 countries in the list.
According to study, Offshoring to India remains a highly attractive proposition for many global companies.
As per Gartner, the cost advantages of outsourcing from India are noteworthy as it costs less than US$ 7,500 per annum for a call center agent in India (cost to company) as compared to $ 19,000 in the US and US$ 17,000 in Australia. That is well over a massive 50% costs reduction for the customers outsourcing their business processes to India.
The Indian BPO sector employs over 3.5 million people directly and provides indirect employment to another million or more – through ancillary industries dependent on the IT-BPO sector. The BPOs in India handle 55% of the global outsourcing market.
The annual revenue of the Indian BPO market is more than $26 Billion and contributes around 1% of the GDP.
Africa – The sleeping giant out of its slumber…
Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. It is so huge that it covers almost a quarter of the total land mass of the world.
With 1.1 billion people as of 2014, it accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population. Africa’s population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19 years, when the worldwide median age was 30 years.
So, it is a great, positive irony that Africa, widely accepted as the place of origin of humans in the world, is also the youngest continent in the globe, in terms of population. It is this power of youth and exuberance that will shape the future of Africa. It really is time for Africa in truest sense of the term!
Lessons for Africa from India success story
- Making skilled resource readily available in the country – more spending on education and skill development programs for the African youth by the Govts.
- Low operating costs – cut down on taxes, have a liberalized tax regime – Tax breaks and sops offered by the government
- Development of special economic zones (SEZs) which also help IT/BPO companies get tax benefits
It is in this context that it is worthwhile to share the success of a company, which is very much an African entity, with registered office in Mauritius and corporate HQ in Lagos, Nigeria.
The iSON Group comprises of two main division – the leader in technology services and consulting, helps clients in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East to create digital transformation strategies.
From application development to business process management to AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics it helps clients to solve the problems effectively and efficiently.Additionally, iSON offers BPO services through iSON BPO, its data analytics driven BPO arm. The robust BPO services infrastructure is built on global delivery framework to deliver voice, non-voice and other knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) services through local presence and on-shore/remote support, leading to superior customer experience, highly satisfied customers and growth in business.
iSON Group has been doing business in the IT-ITeSspace in Africa since the last 8 years, with its inception in 2010. In its own humble ways, iSON Group has been the pioneer of the BPO industry with an un-matched multi country presence across Africa. iSON BPO employs close to 12,000 people across its Africa operations and 99% of its staff are local – Africans, serving African clients and customers.
Having started with 6 countries in Africa, with a large Telecom operator, managing 50% share of the business, iSON BPO has grown to approx 10 countries for them handling 70% share of the business – A testimony of the client’s on iSON’s proven capability and service delivery.
The Top telecom company in Africa has also awarded contract to iSON BPO for 7 countries to handle their 100 million subscribers end to end with technology. With this, iSON BPO now handles over 150 million customer base in Africa itself. Besides Telecom sector, iSON BPO also has presence in Retail, Airlines, BFSI and Technology sectors, across Africa.
iSON BPO, by virtue of the business impact it has created for its clients across Africa, has become the largest partner for most of its clients.
Thus it can been inferred, the iSON Group is completely dedicated to the cause of the African dream and has laid out for itself ambitious plans to grow organically within Africa, thereby creating more employment opportunities for the deserving and hardworking African youth. iSON takes lot of pride in promoting local talent and this is an essential aspect of its HR / People development delivery.
Thus, the emerging Africa BPO story, a story of endless opportunities, has already begun and iSON BPO has been a flag bearer cum leader in the journey so far, in its own humble ways, doing its bit to fuel this dream for Africa. Africa will need hundreds and hundreds of such#iSONs to propel its dream.
The government and the private sector companies, agencies should encourage, recognize such companies which in turn will inspire a whole new generation of African youth to see and live the African dream.
Yes, the time has come for the world to listen to the roar of the sleeping giant, out of its slumber – it’s time for Africa!!!
Sourin Buragohain is the Head of Pre Sales, iSON BPO.