Contact Islands '21: Re-igniting Growith in the new Business Environment

Monday, September 27, 2021

Just got off the CCAP Contact Islands '21 virtual conference supported by PLDT Entertprise and I've learned a lot of things. The theme this year is "Re-igniting Growith in the new Business Environment. The first day discusses Customer Service in the time of COVID. True enough, we're all stuck at home covering this but things are pushing through.

Bea Lim, Managing Director for TeamAsia stood as host. During the opening remarks, Jojo Uligan the President of Contact Center Association of the Philippines says "We're excited to have the Contact Islands 2021 event this year. From the CCAP members, government members, and our allies, welcome to the event. Last year, 6-700 people attende this event last year despite conditions, but this year we're going to have almost 1000 people to join us. We are celebrating our 20th year, our founding annivesary. We started in 2001, and we promise to celebrate in a big way. When we started, employee accounts to about 2000 people, but now we're close to a million employees in this industry. Now we have 20+ members, so please join us by celebrating this in 2021, we will invite all of you before the year ends. The volcanic eruption, earthquake, typhoon and the pandemic has challenged us, we're inviting industry leaders so we could learn how to navigate the business in this session. This is a whole week of exciting topics and discussions on how we could grow this industry and get through all these challenges. You can visit the sessions, look at our lobbies, talk to one another in our networking sessions, you can take advantage of who our partners are. We hope to be more interactive in Airmeet, this will also allow you to engage with other delegates and do networking. We have companies sharing their stories, best practices, showcase what they have in their company and our exhibitors to show you what they have that could help us. In behalf of CCAP, we thank you!"

Benedict Hernandez, Chairman of the Board of Contact Center Association of the Philippines says "We had a really successful conference last year and we want to take advantage of that now. The last 18 months have been challenging, it's been a period of uncertainty, confusion, frustration, but still have determination. We keep moving forward, we embody resiliency, we want to have a rebound in the contact center industry, we see growth, the Philippines is still growing faster, our ability to expand is our secret, we outpace others, we have had incredible cooperation with the government. We are an essential part of growth and continue to lead in creating more jobs and helping the Philippines to have uninterrupted year on year growth despite the things that are happening today. We are a durable sector, the global IT BPM services market has rebounded in 2021, and this is just a tipping point that we need a digital ICT industry to induce growth. We continue to have growth in the global market forecast, while others struggle. There's no one better than us. If you think about the impact of 20 years of employment growth is huge, that's 1.3 Million, in highly skilled and highly paid careers. We have size, scale, we have the ability to grow. The pandemic has devastated other industries, but we continue to lead in job generation and economic recovery. We continue to prioritize the health of our employees, coordinate with government agencies for vaccination so we get herd immunity. Our capacity to layout fiber in homes were ramped up, there's a lot more to catch up still. This enables our people to be productive at popup sites, even at home. This pandemic made customers realize the need to digitize, to do work from home. We're still learning, in a sustained manner, as a hybrid model. We have discussions on the business environment in the future sessions (on Friday) and we look forward to see that, hope you get inspired how to do a rebound, to help the Philippines get back on its feet."


Customer Service Management at the time of COVID


The IT BPM industry has bounced back from reduced productivity levels. To get you a picture of what has happened in the CXM services, data was presented by Shirley Hung of the Everest Group.

Shirley Hung, Business Process Services for the Everest Group says "We are a global market research firm focused on global trends. The global economy has shrunk 4% but the CXM Global Market has continued to grow at 4.8%, recovering by late last year. This is eyed to continue in the next few years. It shows a great bounce back, growth has been seen even this year in Contact Center Services showing resiliency in these hard times without any major incidents. They worked on AI based customer inquiries while they prepare agents for remote work. Banking, Health Care, were all set in home environments without compromising security. Companies prioritized customer experience, set changes in business models. This is called new generation services. Outsourcing are low, but gorwing fast for service providers. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, in our last report we had 40 services providers, some winners, some are losers. Some grew and expand during these times, did growth by expanding, successfully leveraging digital work at home solutions. Revenues are grown faster, enablers, growing dependents for their CXM services. Some are hit the hardest during the pandemics, losing clients, laying off agents, now they are re-calibrating for their growth in the future. There is still a long line of providers that are also losing market shares. These are being set conservatively to 3-5% on growth rather than previous 5%. Fast paced adoption from specific industries along with digital CXM and WAHA models are driving CXM market growth. The final driver has to do with streaming, gaming, fintech, CXM including vaccination and health drives. In addition there is exponential growth in the retail sector because of online sales. As the economy recovers, we will be sharing market trends in detail in the future. Over the next 3-4 years, the WAHA model would be normalized and some industries are still going to be very strict in security especially for banking and health sectors. In the coming years, there will be some who will return in offices. The number of organizations doing AI, digital transformation has doubled during this year. We are seeing fantastic cases marrying digital and personal CXM plans, to hopefully inspire you and include it in your business plans next year."

How is the business world doing?

Rakesh Agarwal, Partner and head of Supply Chain and Enterprise Transformation KPMG Singapore and Indonesia says "Disruption is going to be a new reality. The financial crisis, terrorist attach, market crash, they happen every two years and businesses should be more agile. COVID happened affected businesses late 2020, organizations looked at finances and see how they could conserve revenue, what they need to do in order to keep their investments. Lights should be on, customers should be served, it was challenging and CEO's have tons of stories that are interesting especially in the supply chain and how they were able to keep their production on despite challenges. They were confused, have less morale, organizations faced a lot of issues. Leadership challenges was significant. How could one manage a company remotely, but later realized it could be done. Now they need to adapt into a new business model. With the support of digital tools and collaborations, it was done. Organizations encountered management disruptions during the first few months of COVID. Working capital, workforce, loss of revenue, they also needed to understand how they would continue their operations. Companies regained balance within 6-12 months after, demand then has come back and supply chains have been ready. They might not have seen multiple waves of COVID, but they evaluate things how critical supply should be not in a distribution risk by talking to worker unions and organizations in the industry. Today they need to ensure to continue to be productive, talk about planning, results, but need to talk about supply chain risks, how they could be apt for digital transformation. Working at home posed a lot of security risk, there's also a need to reduce cost, and supply chain delays has been also an issue. Deliveries are struggling, but have since then settled. Despite that, consumer spending has normalized quite fast as what was expected. Reasons for this are fiscal assistance, working normally, supported job losses, technology also played a big role so a lot of people can work at home. There's a lot of ways businesses can leverage from. Business model and operations will have permanent changes. Growth prospects are keen in the next three years. "

Consumers want more sustainable, more climate friendly products. There's a huge demand for it. It's important to bring this when consulting organizations, on how they would be aligning with it in the next few years. Digitalization though is highly critical, businesses should go more into this. It's not about "being" but "doing". Forecast the demand, and plan ahead but talking to stakeholders ahead of time.

As organizations become more comfortable in outsourcing, companies are going to leverage that even more. Growth is seen beyond next year, and hopefully, we'll all become normal (of what is normal). What's vital in the Philippines is building resliency, having business continuity despite political, health, or other disruptions that may come up. This is key. Thank you to CCAP and PLDT Enterprise for having us in the event, I learned a lot and I hope I got to share the important things these experts shared during the first day of Contact Islands 2021.


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