Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is arguably one of the most prolific industries you can join once you enter the Philippine workforce.
The Philippine Information Technology (IT)-BPO industry recently unseated India as the call center capital of the world – a sign of bigger things to come in the next few years. Experts project industry revenue to reach \$25 billion by next year and it might even reach \$55 billion by 2020. Around 1 million people are currently employed by IT-BPO companies and the figures continue to grow.
These figures are astounding for an industry that only began its rise over the last two decades or so. For all the economic success that outsourcing companies have brought, we don’t really know what transpired to bring the Philippines a strong IT-BPO industry.
So just how did the IT-BPO industry in the Philippines begin and who are the people who made it the economic stalwart that it currently is?
8list.ph’s Cattleya Mariano rounded up the 8 people who helped build the Philippine BPO industry that we have today. Kalibrr shares them with you.
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Former President Fidel V. Ramos
Former President Ramos’ establishment of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) paved the way for foreign IT-BPO firms to set up operations here in the Philippines. Under PEZA’s Special Economic Zone Act, listed Economic Zone’s such as IT Parks, under which IT-BPOs are classified, are to receive adequate support for infrastructure and tax holidays making the Philippines a very attractive IT-BPO hub for foreign investors.
Frank Holz became one of the key figures that helped foster the local IT-BPO industry when he developed the Accenture Global Resource Center in Manila in 1992. Accenture has since become a pioneer in the IT and service outsourcing industry. Holz has also worked with the Philippine government to work on public policy supporting the industry.
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Not a lot of people know that "Mr. Palengke" is also another local political figure that set the stage for the country’s dominance in the outsourcing industry. During his stint as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary, he established the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), which aims to promote the Philippines as a global leader in the IT-BPO industry. While the outsourcing industry in 2000 was nowhere as developed as it is today, Roxas already saw its potential as a go-to destination for foreign firms.
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From her humble beginnings as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Hong Kong, Myrna Padilla went on to set up her own BPO company in Davao. Mynd Consulting outsources web design development, social media management, mobile and web application development and virtual staffing to clients all over the world. Because of her background and her penchant for technology, she became an advisor for OWWA’s Microsoft Tulay, a livelihood training program for OFWs as well as Telecentre.org’s first global ambassador for its digital literacy campaign.
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You’re probably familiar with Megaworld’s McKinley Hill and Eastwood City’s lifestyle and leisure hubs. What you may not know is that Megaworld Chairman and CEO Andrew Tan developed these properties with Silicon Valley in mind. He pioneered live-work-play real estate developments where residents can live and work in the same area. This was appealing to foreign outsourcing companies and Tan encouraged them to invest in the country and set up shop in his developments, where several IT-BPO companies operate.
Jim Franke and Derek Holley
Former McKinsey and Company employees, Jim Franke and Derek Holley established eTelecare in 1999. It was one of the largest IT-BPO companies in the Philippines until it was acquired by Stream Global Services in 2009. Stream Global Services went on to merge with Convergys in 2014.
If you grew up in the 90s, you probably remember watching cartoons like Ren and Stimpy and Captain Planet. But did you know that some of the animators of those cartoons were Filipinos? Established in 1988, it was a subsidiary of Hanna-Barbera and produced many well-known cartoons watched by children (and adults!) all over the world. In 2007, it produced The Flintstones Christmas Carol which was nominated for an Emmy award.
1,000,000 BPO employees
The Philippine IT-BPO industry would never be a success without its 1,000,000 talented employees. Known for their excellent English-speaking skills, work ethic, and patience when it comes to handling customers, Filipinos were bound for success in the IT-BPO industry. The sector is still growing and with various companies’ strategies for talent acquisition and retention, such as wellness programs and higher salaries, the future of the industry looks positive.
With all of the good that the IT-BPO industry has brought to our economy, it’s valuable to know the people and the entities that have molded it to be the success that it is now. And with the rate of growth that the industry is enjoying, this list will probably keep on growing.