Controversial as it is, we owe a lot to the growing BPO, more commonly known as the call center, industry in the country. Business process outsourcing, if most of you are unaware, contributed $11.7 billion in revenues just last year, and is projected to make as much as $15 billion by next year. With a hand in customer service, technical support, health care management, administrative support, computer animation, and information technology, the BPO industry has evolved into a force to be reckoned with.
Here are 8 people who have helped it become what it is today:
Thanks in part to years of colonialization and a highly Westernized culture, Filipinos have good English and hospitality skills, which means almost anyone can become successful in the BPO industry. From your neighbor, your college classmate, the passenger next to you, to the guy you met in line at a restaurant while you were on vacation, the 1 million IT-BPO employees in the country today represent a diverse demographic. With the rate of employment in this sector predicted to rise even higher in the next few years, there’s no limit to the inspiration success stories.
While Fil-Cartoons isn’t a person, it’s a company that brought a lesser known segment of the IT-BPO industry on the world map, animation. In 2007, the company produced “The Flintstones Christmas Carol,” which earned an Emmy nomination. With that, the company showed the world that Filipinos do not only speak English well, but also have exemplary skills in art and technology.
The country’s IT-BPO industry took off on high gear when Frank Holz developed the first contact center in the Philippines in 1992. Under the Accenture group, Holz made history.
Inspired by the live-work-play concept of Silicon Valley, Megaworld Corporation, under Tan’s leadership, began to develop real estate projects that allowed people to live in self-sustaining towns. This appealed to the outsourcing companies abroad and encouraged them to invest in the country by putting up their offices here . Most of the country’s major IT-BPO hubs are developed by Tan, such as McKinley Hill and Eastwood City.
Before he was a legislator, Roxas was the Secretary of Trade and Industry (remember Mr. Palengke?). As DTI Secretary under President Joseph Estrada’s term, he saw the potential of the IT-BPO industry and established the Contact Center Association of the Philippines, an umbrella group which promotes the country as a destination for IT-BPO companies. Roxas established CCAP in early 2000, when very few people believed that the industry would succeed.
Franke and Holley established eTelecare in 1999, which has, over the last 15 years, become one of the largest Filipino owned BPO companies in the country. It is known as the first Filipino call center.
Padilla’s is one of the fairy tale stories in the IT-BPO industry – not only did she change her life but she also changed the way IT-BPO companies are set up in the country. She was a domestic helper in Hong Kong when she started learning about computers. It wasn’t long before she packed her bags and went home to Davao City to establish Mynd Consulting, a consulting firm that develops mobile and web apps for clients in Europe, North America, and Australia.
Under his administration, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority law was passed, promoting areas of development that were infrastructure-ready and business-friendly with tax holidays. This enticed IT-BPO firms to locate in the Philippines and start their operations here.