The Time for Total BPO

Manila Bulletin, September 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Time for Total BPO


The potential of Filipino talent-it's the one phrase that automatically triggers an animated torrent of words from Benedict Hernandez, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service delivery operations lead in Accenture Philippines, the largest and most diversified IT-BPO firm in the country that conducts diverse services, including systems integration, application development, enterprise solutions, voice customer contact support , finance and accounting, health administration, and care BPO, among others.

One of the youngest industry leaders at the age of 39, Hernandez bel ieves that the Phi l ippines is on the brink of exploring and excelling in another growth area, namely BPO services that do work aside from those found in contact centers. Global organizations and research studies have already recognized the Philippines as the premier outsourcing destination for voice-related customer service, even surpassing perennial favorite India, thanks to the unbeatable combination of English-language skills, friendliness, warmth and extreme patience generally exhibited by the typical Pinoy call center agent.

He cites the mid-year forecast of industry association Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) saying that the call center sector is poised for a robust 24 percent growth for 2010. The voice sector already accounts for 2/3 of the entire Philippine BPO industry.

The remaining 1 / 3 , which accounts for back-end services such as animation, game development, medical transcription, human r e s our c e s , and f inanc e and accounting, may be smaller but is growing rapidly. And Hernandez is more than willing to play a part in its inevitable explosion. It was part of the attraction that drew him to Accenture a year ago after almost a decade as the general manager of contact center eTelecare.

Best of Both Worlds

"The 2009 BPAP study says that of the 440,000 employees in the overall BPO sector, 280,000 belong to the contact centers and the rest to the capability to look at the bigger picture at all times that made Hernandez a constant pioneering figure in sectors that belied their humble beginnings to grow into giants. At the age of 19, he was the youngest officer who rose to manager rank in Smart Telecommunications during its startup years. His next four years as a VP for the customer service division in another start-up, Nextel, prepared him for the customer-centric culture of the contact center industry. He mo v e d t o eTelecare at the age of 29 as its general manager , and then a year ago joined Accenture.

Hernandez elaborates on his work philosophy, "It's been about asking the 'why's' so I can look into the 'why nots?' You can easily get lost in the sea of data and reports, e-mails, and non-stop meetings so you have to really force yourself to step back and ask yourself, 'What's really going on here?'"

He credits his "rigor in thinking" to his UP stint as a teacher in statistics, which he calls a study of "cause and effect." Back then, after his graduation from the same university with a degree in Psychology, he thrived on challenges like figuring out "what are the boring subjects and how I can make them relevant to my students. I taught weekly nine hours of statistics, variance analysis, multiple regression, and research methods," he ends the recollection with a chuckle. …

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