The year 2016 was a tumultuous year to say the least. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the retention of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister (just) are just a few of the notable moments that occurred in 2016.
One thing is for certain, the global business landscape has changed significantly with the continued rise of digital communications knocking down geographical barriers. Businesses are now competing on a global stage, and remaining competitive is becoming more of a challenge.
The question that has to be asked is; are you as competitive as you used to be and have you started to consider utilising the global workforce to remain competitive?
Accessing the global labour market or offshoring as a viable business strategy will continue to grow rapidly in 2017. In the past few years, more and more companies, across a range of sectors, industries and professions, are looking offshore to accommodate their business objectives; it to remain competitive or expand operations globally.
What was once deemed a strategy exclusive only to large corporations can now be utilised and accessed by businesses of all shapes and sizes – from a one-person team through to an entire department of graphic designers.
Offshoring in 2017 is poised to continue the momentum brought about from the previous years. It will not only be a major boon for countries like the Philippines – where the BPO industry is a significant contributor to their GDP – but it will also help boost local industries by opening up more opportunities. While outsourcing may be the quicker and cheaper option, offshoring continues to prioritise the quality of work with a highly engaged and motivated staff.
Let’s take a look at what can be expected from offshoring in 2017.
Offshoring as the way to the future
One of offshoring’s biggest hallmarks is its flexibility, thus redefining what a workplace is. Current technologies and advances in communications have made it easier to stay in touch with people all over the world. The implications of these in a professional setting show us where the future is taking us.
Though often lumped together with outsourcing, there are some major differences that set offshoring apart. It takes time to implement a proper offshoring strategy and some companies may mistakingly try to rush one out quickly. Being aware that offshoring is not a “set and forget process” will be much more beneficial in the end. Some of the benefits you can get from an offshoring strategy are:
Offshoring, at its core, has been about the reduction of cost with overhead growth. The savings that your business can get from offshoring will give you the chance to expand to other business opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have had. It will also allow for further professional development of your staff as they are able to explore different career paths you can provide to them.
Access to a talented staff
Countries like the Philippines and Malaysia are home to vast talent pools that can aid you in your business objectives. The Philippines in particular is one of the largest foreign countries with highly educated and skilled English speakers. The language barrier often present when offshoring will be easily dealt with, and the varying skillsets that Filipinos possess will no doubt take your business to new heights. Strong offshore teams also compliment well with the existing staff you have.
With facilities running 24/7, you are able to support your clients whenever they need it regardless of the timezones between countries. Today’s fast paced business environment is constantly changing and working with a team that operates at nearly identical hours as your own. This results in a better customer experience that strengthens your competitive edge in your industry.
Full Management and Control
Understandably, there are businesses that may not want to relinquish control of their operations to an external party, citing probable security risks that may arise. Through offshoring however, you will be able to have a dedicated staff that works exclusively under you. With full managerial control, you not only train your staff on the objectives you want accomplished but you also provide potential career paths for them. You maintain a balance of both accountability and opportunity when you work with an offshore team.
The Philippines as your offshoring destination
We’ve seen how offshoring has grown over the years through its accessibility for other businesses. For the longest time, countries like India and China have been considered pillars of the outsourcing industry that many major companies have flocked to. In recent years however, more developing countries have emerged as suitable locations for both offshoring and outsourcing. The Philippines is often touted as a prime location for an offshoring team, and was recently called a “jurisdiction to watch” due to it being one of the “fast-growing economies” of Asia.
The challenges to follow
With the advantages also come the challenges and obstacles that offshoring present. No business strategy is perfect and it is understandable if companies feel hesitant to implement something new that would, from the outset, bring in more problems than solve them. Offshoring is certainly no stranger to this and there have been a handful of criticisms of its problems levied at it over the years.
Whether in a personal or professional setting, change can always bring about anxiety. Within your company, it is essential you communicate with local staff about your overall strategy and how offshoring factors in it. This is not just for good management; you can also engage employees and keep them in the loop on the future direction of the company.
Australia and particularly the Philippines are actually not so different culturally, especially when it comes to the use of the English language. Despite the similarities however, it’s the small subtleties that everyone should be aware of. In order to prevent any misunderstandings between your offshore team and local staff, induction programs are encouraged so that both teams start on the same footing and foster a strong initial understanding of each other. In turn, your local team can also get a glimpse of other unique aspects of Filipino culture and vice versa.
Data security and intellectual property
With communication technology getting much more sophisticated, data security has become more of a concern for businesses. This not only applies to those working with offshore teams as well. As we’ve seen with trends in 2016, security should always a priority. This means developing a plan that covers data storage, security measures, contractual agreements and the levels of access. Both the local staff and offshore team should be briefed on not only the consequences of data theft but most also sign a Deed of Confidentiality.
Temper your expectations
So you’ve hired the best people to form your offshore team. These are people you’ve personally selected from a vast talent pool after a very rigorous process that you also oversaw. It certainly sounds tempting to let them handle the bulk of your operations so that more local opportunities open up. However, raising your expectations too high may result in a blow to the quality of work that you want. It’s easy to set aside how managing expectations isn’t an important task but overlooking it can lead to more problems that you’ll need to face eventually. Properly managed expectations are a twofold benefit as it not only benefits your company in the long run but the relationship with your offshore team is developed even further.
More than these, however, would be the biggest obstacle to be faced in 2017. The impending presidency of Donald Trump in America has made the BPO industry in the Philippines understandably jittery. Although there is still much uncertainty on what Trump’s policies may bring, the Philippines remains a strong developing market in Asia that can no doubt face the challenges to come in 2017.
Bring on 2017
Earlier, it was said that offshoring in 2017 would continue to grow from last year thanks in part to the momentum in growth it has experienced in the last few years. This growth has come in the face of new developments and different obstacles that it was able to overcome to become what it is today.
As we look ahead to the next 12 months, 2017 promises to bring not only a new set of challenges but also opportunities for businesses to expand globally. The unpredictability of what a Donald Trump presidency could mean for the future of BPOs does certainly make it feel like the industry has gotten off to a shaky start to the new year. It remains to be seen if what he has said was purely campaign rhetoric that will not reflect his enactment of policies, and why there is a “wait and see” attitude within the industry.
Still, offshoring has long been forecasted to experience an upward trend in the coming year. Although there is no clear indication which country will have the dominant position, Diversify stands firm in its belief that the Philippines is the best location that you can choose to setup an offshoring team. With its deep talent pool, unique culture and prime location within Southeast Asia, it has all the tools in place that you will need for a team to help with your business objectives at lower cost than you would locally.
Looking at it as a whole, offshoring lends itself to plenty of current trends. Not limiting itself to traditional definitions of doing business, it continues to adapt to the times and stay at the forefront of change. In a constantly changing business environment coupled with the speed and efficiency of new communication technologies, offshoring is sometimes touted as being “the way of the future.”
Ready to start the new year on a high note? Feel free to contact us today and we’ll help you get started on your journey with offshoring in 2017.