Shared services, health care fuel growth of BPO industry

by Roderick L. Abad, BusinessMirror

Posted at Feb 14 2014 09:45 AM | Updated as of Feb 14 2014 05:45 PM

MANILA -- The story of the Philippines as the preferred shared service location globally tends to repeat itself every year, according to the Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (Ibpap).

Ibpap Chairman Benedict C. Hernandez told reporters it has been a “continuing successful growth year after year” for the services sector “despite the size and the scale” achieved by the information technology and business-process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry as a whole.

“And now, we’re talking about anytime soon hitting a million directly employed by the entire sector. We still talk about hyper-growth numbers closer to the 20-percent level year after year, which is really difficult to imagine,” he said. “[So] how do you keep growing when it’s about a million mark directly employed?”

Alongside the continued expansion of IT-BPO, Hernandez cited the fast growing businesses of the shared-service centers—otherwise known as the global in-house hubs—over the last couple of years as one of the industry trends that have been apparent to date.

He cited, for instance, a study by IBM a few years ago indicating the Philippines as “the best location for shared services.”

The other trend that has been observed over time is the phenomenal success of the health-care shared services arena, whether outsource or insource, according to him.

“That’s actually been the fastest growth sector of the entire IT and business process diversity of services that we provide. After actually establishing a global differentiated story for contact center services or voice, the next big opportunity for the Philippines is in the health-care space,” Hernandez said.

“So we’re excited about shared services, as well as the health-care services being the high growth areas for the Philippines,” he added.

To date, diagnostic-based healthcare solutions firm Alere Inc. is among the multinationals that have set up their insourcing centers locally, employing around 1,000 local talents.

Alere Philippines is currently engaged in transitioning health-care services, such as cost posting and application, data entry and verification processes from the United States to the country.