21 Feb, 2019
Organizers of the second Outsource to the Caribbean Conference scheduled for May 6-10 in Curaçao expect a bumper attendance, and for good reason. The Caribbean is the hottest location for major US firms outsourcing operations to grow revenue. And we’re not talking about the weather.
Interest this year promises to be higher than at the inaugural OCC 2017 event in Jamaica. Registration already suggests a robust return rate of participants. The OCC target markets this time include more than 300 business process outsourcing (BPO) industry leaders from the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia, the USA, the Netherlands and Canada. The first OCC saw 160 industry specific participants from more than 20 countries.
“OCC’s purpose is to pull the Caribbean BPO sector together to plan and execute a strategy to enhance our presence in the global BPO market,” says Suzette Hudson, Senior Advisor in Investment Promotion at Caribbean Export, a regional trade and investment promotion agency mandated to enhance the competitiveness of CARIFORUM SMEs, promote trade and attract investment. Its partners for the event are the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion agencies (CAIPA), the Curaçao Investment Promotion Agency, CINEX, and fDi-Intelligence (a Financial Times arm).
Caribbean Export’s optimism for a successful conference is well placed. As Caribbean infrastructure improves and costs elsewhere escalate, the region has become as valuable to the BPO industry as firmware. “Our value proposition is strong, and we are confident we can continue to attract BPO firms from North America,” says Hudson.
The region offers native language speakers in French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and English, many of who are multilingual. The workers are well educated, highly skilled, are service oriented and are mostly lifelong learners. Caribbean culture produces workers who are affable and easy-going talents, easy to train in industries from financial services to technology.
Outsourcing to the Caribbean is a no brainer for another reason, one that real estate executives use as a mantra: location, location, location. The region shares time zones with the US’s eastern seaboard so there is easy alignment of working hours and business, training and meeting schedules. It’s an added bonus for SLA and KPIs because the region is a stone’s throw away, and North American executives can hop on a plane and be here the same day when necessary.
The Caribbean also scores high in infrastructure, with reliable and consistent access to all utilities. Its telecommunications fibre optic infrastructure connects all islands in the region, with redundant high-speed internet that competes internationally in voice and data services. Firms can use cloud technology to reduce start up and ongoing costs.
Bottom line is that the Caribbean offers 10% to 30% lower costs and delivers above average results, say some BPO executives. “If they were unable to produce results near what we could generate from a higher cost option, we would consider moving to higher cost options,” says one executive who has worked nearly 10 years with a Caribbean BPO.
OCC2019 will feature a 2-day workshop for regional BPO service providers, and conference topics such as “Driving business growth through RPA (robotic process automation) and intelligent automation from a Caribbean perspective.” This year’s event will also include an EXPO, networking sessions and the first ever Caribbean BPO of the Year Awards event,” according to Hudson.