South Africa lures BPO investors

first_img9 January 2007“The BPO sector is not just the flavour of the month, but one which will help to move South Africa further up the value chain and become a knowledge economy,” Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told industry leaders in London as the country launched a bid to market itself as an international destination for business process outsourcing.A high-powered delegation of BPO industry experts from South Africa, led by Mlambo-Ngcuka, presented industry leaders in London with a business case for outsourcing to South Africa at a special seminar at the SA High Commission in London in December.South Africa’s value propositionTrade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, in his keynote address on “South Africa’s value proposition for business process outsourcing,” said that while it took time for a developing country to develop a track record, South Africa had more than risen to the challenge. This article was first published by Reconnect Africa, an online careers and business magazine for professional Africans around the world.“South Africa has the largest economy in Africa, the most industrial development on the continent and the most educational and training institutions,” he said. “We have had 12 years of sound economic management, and we have a growing economy which has yet to realize its full potential.”With mature and established institutions in the banking, insurance and telecommunications sectors, SA has the business foundation needed for high-value outsourcing opportunities.The country already has a vibrant BPO industry, with around 70 operations and 80 000 people employed in contact centres and back offices in the major centres. Centres of excellenceReconnect Africa speaks to Mfanu Mfayela, CEO of the SA Contact Centre Community, about why SA is becoming a BPO destination of choice.Key factors in SA’s favour are its time zone, which falls comfortably within European time zones, as well as its English-language capacity.“South Africa is not necessarily competing with the cheapest, but it is comparable with many operations in the UK and Europe,” Mpahlwa said. “We can combine superior quality with high cost savings.“We have a set of distinctive assets, a first call resolution higher than other lower cost destinations and a large, well-educated labour pool.“We produce 300 000 school leavers and 100 000 graduates a year from world-class universities and we have a low budget deficit, sound infrastructure and the cheapest electricity prices in the world.”The minister also cited the benefits of South Africa’s highly attractive lifestyle, which has encouraged the immigration of diverse nationalities and communities, offering a range of language capabilities to benefit the BPO sector.Government incentivesPromoting business process outsourcing in South Africa fits squarely with the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for SA (Asgi-SA), the goverment’s strategy to raise economic growth to 6% and halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.The government, working closely with the industry, recently developed a five-year plan to strengthen the industry by deepening the talent pool and creating financial incentives for investment. Calling the Cape – Not just a holiday destination, Cape Town sets its sights on call centre investment. Read the full story on Reconnect Africa.“Substantial training assistance, a skills development programme and a learnership scheme will be made available to companies that locate their operations in South Africa,” Mpahlwa told the London seminar. “Companies will get cash grants, tax deductions and the acquisition of work-ready talent.”On the cost of telecommunications in SA, the minister said that deregulation and promotion of competition was the way to achieve lower prices, adding that a five-year, R30-billion investment by state company Telkom as well as a BPO dispensation on pricing were in the pipeline.Also addressing the seminar, Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka emphasized the government’s programme for “removing entry barriers that we, as government, are responsible for.”Constraints had been identified in the areas of infrastructure, transport logistics and telecommunications, Mlambo-Ngcuka said. “We are addressing the costs and ensuring that in three to five years, South Africa will not be the same place as today for these services.”The Deputy President pointed out that while South Africa has a population of 45 million, as a key member of the Southern African Development Community it offers access to a market of 200 million people.“BPO is not just the flavour of the month,” she said, “but a sector which will help South Africa to move further up the value chain and become a knowledge economy.”IBM, Shell case studiesThe seminar also heard case studies on offshoring in South Africa from representatives of IBM and Shell.Shell’s case study highlighted the quality of service provided by its operations in South Africa.“It’s not about cost reduction but about finding good value – although there are also cost benefits,” said Julian Davis, Shell’s programme director for global customer services.Mteto Nyati, director of global technology services for IBM in South Africa, told the seminar that South Africa was “at the centre of IBM’s new strategy,” which involves creating global shared services and centres of excellence in seven strategic locations around the world.The company is moving many of the high-value services it provides to its clients – including household names such as Boots and ABN Amro – to South Africa, where it currently employs over 1 500 staff“South Africa is not a normal call centre location but a highly technical environment where highly skilled people are managing complex IT issues,” Nyati said.This article was first published by Reconnect Africa, an online careers and business magazine for professional Africans around the world.last_img read more

Cisco Says Its “Internet of Everything” Is Worth $14.4 Trillion. Really?

first_imgNetworking giant Cisco predicted Wednesday that as we move into a “fundamentally mobile and video” world, the “Internet of Everything” — which combines the so-called Internet of Things with the Internet used by people and their mobile devices — will create $14.4 trillion in value and boost overall corporate profits by 21%. All by 2022.Those are some pretty big numbers, shared by Cisco executives at a press event in San Jose on Wednesday. But while the vision makes sense, quantifying the changes to be wrought by growth of the Internet of Everything seems, well, fairly abitrary. To say the least. What Goes Into $14.4 Trillion?Rob Lloyd, Cisco President, Sales and Development, broke down the $14.4 trillion figure this way:$2.5 trillion in better asset utilization$2.5 trillion in employee productivity$2.7 in supply chain logistics$3.7 trillion in better customer experience.$3 trillion in enabling new innovations. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Perhaps we can start by seeing which industries benefit first and most dramatically. According to Lloyd, the top candidates include manufacturing, the public sector, energy and utlities, healthcare, finance/insurance, transportation and wholesale/distribution.The Internet of Everything combines several trends, including the growth of connected devices, the increasing use of video, cloud computing, Big Data and the increasing importance of mobile apps compared to traditional computing applications. Lloyd did lay out numbers to support the importance of the trends. But though these are also all giant numbers, connecting them to the $14.4 trillion figure still requires a leap of faith.In terms of connected devices, he said, we’ve gone from 200 million in 2000 to 10 billion devices today, to a predicted 50 billion by 2020. On the mobile side, Lloyd said, 20 billion mobile apps were downloaded last year alone. By 2017, he added, two-thirds of mobile traffic will be video.New Levels Of Complexity To Support New UsesThat complexity will make today’s issues “look very, very minor,” and pose historic challenges to manage, Lloyd said. That statement, at least, is easy to grasp. “We’ve been warming up for this for the last five years.” The company already has a number of projects in the works demonstrating key elements of the trend, including installing smart meters and pole-top routers for BC Hydro in Canada, and a single auto plant with 50,000 IP devices. Cisco’s Sean Curtis demo’d live data from San Carlos, Calif., showing a heat map for mobile connections using “dwell time” metrics to track how efficiently pedestrian traffic was moving through the suburb’s commuter train station. Curtis said similar information mashups have been applied to San Carlos’ farmers market, offering insights into how many shoppers showed up, how long they stayed and which stalls they visited — information that would be of great use to both retailers and city planners.The next step, Curtis said, is to link that kind of data with store data as well as parking and traffic information to help shoppers optimize their experience. The idea is that eventually shoppers could see the best route to the least crowded store with the best prices on the items they were looking for.As apps like that come online, the Internet of Everything should indeed spur growth. Maybe even trillions of dollars worth of growth. Exactly how much and when, though, seems a Big Data question of the highest order. Rising Expectations, Bigger Security Issues The rise of the Internet of Everything is already changing corporate expectations, Lloyd said, not to mention who pays for technology advances. “The Internet of Everything will be driven by business funding, not just IT funding,” Lloyd said.What about security for all this connected information? Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer, said “the data will be collected whether we want it to be or not. How will it be used? That is the security question.”Photos by Fredric Paul Tags:#Cisco#innovation#Interent of Things#networking Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowcenter_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair fredric paul Those may seem easier to grasp, but when you’re talking in trillions over decade-long time frames, it’s very hard to put much credence in calculations like these.  Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more