International Firm Optimistic Of A Bright Future Locally
While the name Xerox is synonymous with copying and printing globally, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ursula Burns says resting on their laurels is not a part of their forte as its main priority is to maintain pole position in the industry.
“Our strategy is simple … we want to be the leading provider of diversified BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), ITO (information technology outsourcing) and document outsourcing in our servicing line of business,” said Burns, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner.
“We want to continue to be the premier providers of technology solution in the print copy space so our technology business has to continue to be strong,” added Burns.
In addition to maintaining its strong brand identity worldwide, Burns is also championing prudent management of the company’s cost and expenses, while seeking to provide adequate returns to shareholders.
Burns, who became the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company in 2009 when she became Xerox’s CEO, was on her first visit to Jamaica, which has the third largest Xerox BPO outside of the United States (US).
Jamaica, which is behind India and the Philippines in BPO, has some 5,600 Xerox employees spread out across seven operations – one in Kingston and one in Portmore, St Catherine, with the remainder in Montego Bay, St James, where the company is focusing on customer care for clients, mainly in the telecommunications, health care and technology industries.
At present, services account for 52 per cent of the firm’s total revenue that amounted to more than US$22 billion in 2011.
At the helm of Xerox, Burns has consistently demonstrated that she is not afraid to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions to ensure the company’s viability.
Her astute and decisive leadership was demonstrated in areas such as dismantling the manufacturing unit that shaped her career; cutting back or getting rid of products that once defined the Xerox brand; and branching out into uncertain or perceived risky new areas of business in an effort to reposition the company as competition increased.
“The potential of BPO is very high,” said Burns. “Jamaica has the following benefits: it’s a service economy, it has a fairly educated population that we can draw (from) and it’s culturally an operation that works hard.”
While Jamaica remains one the most attractive destinations for the BPO industry, with other nations breathing down the neck of the sector leaders, the Xerox boss, renowned for her no-nonsense, outspoken personality, is of the view that greater emphasis must be placed on improving Jamaica’s competitiveness in a heated industry.
She argued that Jamaica could find itself struggling to attract or even maintain investments if there is not constant improvement of its information and communication technology (ICT) business environment, including infrastructure and education.
“What Jamaica and every BPO site has to understand is that, unlike a technology business, where the barriers to entry are generally large, BPO’s initial barriers to entry can be low and it’s really important, therefore, that the people who have footprints today continue to reinvent themselves,” noted Burns.
“It’s really important that Jamaica continues to focus on the fact that they have a good base in this service-type area and that base will continue to be attacked by competitors so they have to keep making it better.”
Xerox’s ambitious agenda basically suits the projection of the Jamaican Government, which has announced plans to double the nation’s 11,000 ICT jobs over the next three years.
This forms part of an overall initiative to take advantage of the country’s emergence as a premier strategic destination for outsourcing services to North American firms.
While the call from local industry leaders in Jamaica to create additional space is considered critical to the expansion of the ICT sector, Xerox does not require any additional space as further expansion will only take place if there is additional business in similar BPO accounts already being handled here.
“As we continue to expand, yes, we would have to find more space, but I don’t want anybody to believe that we are limited by space,” said Burns.
“If we have to fit the clients in, and here is the best place to do it, space will not be my limiter … we don’t plan by region, we have plans by lines of business and customer.”
According to Burns, instead of any space consideration, she is more concerned with challenges with the unpredictability of the world economy.
“There is not a place in the world that is not unsettled now economically and that is just a business challenge that we have to deal with,” said Burns.
She singled out the United States ‘fiscal cliff’, which would see huge tax increases and spending cuts at the start of 2013, which would invariably throw that economy and, by extension, the world’s economy into recession.
Burns is hopeful that a deal can be struck between the parties to prevent the US economy from plunging into another recession.
“In terms of global business, it would be an extremely detrimental event,” said Burns, who was among several high-profile CEOs in the US to meet with President Barack Obama on the issue recently.
Earlier this year, the Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) brand, which was acquired for about US$5.75 billion in cash and stock in September 2009 was retired, a move that Burns argued worked amazingly well.
The deal was struck just six months after ACS forked out about US$85 million for E-Services group, which was then principally owned by Jamaican Patrick Casserly.
“When we bought ACS, we knew it was a company that had an amazing reputation but if you were not a client of ACS, nobody knew what ACS meant,” said Burns. “It did not have a global brand but Xerox is a brand that everybody knows.”
Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Through a partnership with The University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica they will establish a global delivery center (GDC) to employ mostly students.
Sutherland Global Services, one of the world’s largest independent business process outsourcing companies, is in the process of establishing a Global Delivery Centre (GDC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus.
Expected to generate up to 3,000 jobs, including critical leadership positions for Program Management, Training and Client Engagement, Sutherland will be opening the facility in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., Sutherland employs over 30,000 professionals globally and has been the number one job creator in Inc 5000 for the last 3 years. The company plans to make its UWI-based Business Process Outsourcing and Technology Management Center the premier provider of integrated business services in Jamaica. Initial plans for staffing the GDC include recruiting the majority of its Consultants from the UWI student population. Additional non-Consultant positions, including roles in Leadership, Information Technology, and Human Resources will be open to the public.
Sutherland’s commitment to the community is grounded in its goal to be the Employer of Choice in the countries from which they operate. Sutherland’s partnership with The University of the West Indies provides qualified students with significant employment opportunities.
“We are pleased to bring our global strengths and capabilities to Jamaica and creating significant job opportunities and helping drive economic growth,” said Mr. Dilip Vellodi, Chairman and CEO of Sutherland Global Services.
JAMPRO, the national investment and trade promotion agency, has been working very closely with Sutherland from the outset to facilitate the company’s investment in the island. JAMPRO strengthened its engagement with Sutherland after several meetings with executives at key global industry events and forums, culminating with the Jamaica Investment Forum held in Montego Bay in March 2012.
In July, a high level delegation from Sutherland completed and exhausted a capabilities assessment and concluded the review in a meeting with the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, who commended the company for taking the innovative approach of recruiting the highly motivated and skilled students from the University’ population.
“We are extremely pleased that a multi-national company of Sutherland’s stature has chosen to invest in Jamaica. Given Sutherland’s track-record of consistent business growth in all major global markets, I am sure the company will rapidly expand its operations in Jamaica and make a significant contribution to our economy with the provision of hundreds of jobs to students and a mix of other professionals “said Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, “The Government of Jamaica is committed to provide all reasonable support to ensure the success of this great partnership. Once again my best wishes to Sutherland Global Services and I welcome them most warmly to our beautiful country.”
Recognised as a top leader in technology and innovation, Sutherland Global Services is the latest high-profile company to invest in Jamaica’s fast-growing BPO/information and communications technology (ICT) sector, which has been identified as an area of growth by the government.
Source: JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions Corporation)
BPO and ICT companies in Jamaica have teamed up to form an industry association, saying they will lobby the government tohelp the country make full use of its potential as a nearshoring hub.
Jamaica’s BPO/ICT sector is currently valued at $20 million and its outsourcing sector employes about 12,000 people. Global industry giants such as ACS/Xerox and Teleperformance have already set up shop on the island, and Indian BPO firms – like Hinduja Global Solutions and Sutherland Global – are gearing up to begin operations this quarter.
Jamaica’s advantage is that its first language is English, and this island is just a short flight away from the United States, the world’s major source of outsourcing contracts. Jamaica’s bustling cities, such as Kingston & Montego Bay, have strong telecom infrastructure and rising pools of skilled labor.
But in Jamaica, it seems, call centers make up larger portion of the outsourcing industry because of the easy availability of English-speaking people. Epstein asserts that his country has the potential to excel in all areas of outsourcing sector. “We do have the talent pool to attack the higher end of the value chain”, he says.
“I would say that Kingston has the ability to achieve greater (success) in the categories of LPO, KPO, FAO, while Montego Bay continues to grow with traditional BPO, HRO, ITO and contact centers,” Epstein noted.
The BPIAJ is hoping to see the industry double in size and revenue over the next five years. To achieve this target, the industry association seems to be counting on its skilled workforce. “You can replicate most things, but you cannot replicate the Jamaican workforce. As Jamaicans we like to lead in everything we do and the recent success in London Olympics a case in point” says Epstein.
Continue reading more here……..http://nearshoreamericas.com/jamaica-sets-potential-nearshore-outsourcing-hub/