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Telstra looks at PH trade prospects

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:25 AM April 27, 2015
David Thodey

David Thodey

WITHOUT doubt, the Philippines has conquered the global outsourcing and offshoring space.

Pinpointed as one of the most attractive IT-business process outsourcing (BPO) destinations in the world, the Philippines has seen, over the last decade, multinational firms flocking to its shores to set up their facilities and tap the young, English-speaking and skilled labor pool here. The local outsourcing industry continues to grow steadily by a phenomenal double-digit pace.

But there remains much room for development before the industry can cement the country’s leadership position in this space.

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David Thodey, CEO and executive director of Telstra, stresses the need for the Philippines to continue with the “value creation” that will differentiate the services provided by the local labor force compared with its counterparts elsewhere in the world.

“Over the last three to four years, we’ve seen a real change in terms of the BPO market in the Philippines. When we first came here, we were attracted by the country’s desire to build the BPO market, the great personality and character of the Filipino people, the culture, and willingness to work,” Thodey explains.

“We’ve seen a real change in the last three years. We’re now getting real thought leadership from the teams here in terms of best practices. The value creation is about how they can help improve our business, rather than just taking a phone call. That’s very important in the development of this market and this country because that’s (about the Philippines offering) value creation … and not just being a source of really good people at lower cost.”

 

Excellence

Thodey says he would like to “encourage the industry here to build differentiation in excellence in process and better ways of serving customers.… That is the opportunity that will make you a global leader.”

Thodey is in the country recently for the inauguration of Telstra’s third “supersite” in Pasay City—the company’s latest contact center facility in the Philippines.

Telstra is the leading telecommunications company in Australia. It set up shop in the Philippines in 2007 through partnerships with Teletech, Convergys and Teleperformance.

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The company’s local BPO facilities currently serve the global enterprises and wholesale carrier businesses of Telstra, which offers a full range of communications services.

The creation of a “supersite” is part of the company’s strategy to consolidate its operations across the country, explains Telstra Philippines country manager Tom Beach.

The supersite in Pasay City, which the company and its partner TeleTech recently opened at the Five E-Com building, was the third of four such sites that the company hoped to put up within the year, Beach says.

This joint Telstra and TeleTech facility alone consists of three floors, and can house as many as 3,500 Telstra and TeleTech employees, as well as a recruitment center.

Tom Beach

Tom Beach

We will have four supersites. The first opened in Cebu in 2013, the second was opened in Quezon City in 2014, and the third is (within the) Mall of Asia area. The fourth will be in Fairview, which will be finalized by June this year,” Beach says. “We actually work with our partners. We have joint arrangements to invest in the facilities with Teletech, Convergys and Teleperformance.”

Beach explains that the move to consolidate their facilities by housing all the outsourcing needs of similar or related business lines under one supersite will enable the company to deliver “excellent consistent customer experience.”

“We’ve arranged work within the sites to be complementary so that we’ve got more similar customers landing mainly in the same location and that enables us to create centers of excellence for customer service,” Beach adds.

Apart from the three existing supersites, Telstra currently has 10 other facilities in Mega Manila, Cebu and Bacolod.

According to Thodey, the company is committed to continue investing in its operations in the Philippines, which it sees as one of the more attractive markets in the region.

Business opportunities

According to Thodey, they are also actively looking at other business opportunities beyond their contact center operations in the region.

“We continue to look for opportunities where we can make a difference, and the Philippines is an attractive market. (The decision) is subject to many different factors. But the Philippines is up there. It’s attractive because of its 100 million population, its wonderful youthful society, and great economic growth. We look for long term stability, in terms of political and regulatory stability, when we look at opportunities,” Thodey says.

“We will continue to look for opportunities throughout Asia in telecommunications, be it mobility, broadband (or) the online business. And we continue to look at every country around the region, including the Philippines. This is an attractive investment opportunity. But it depends on many different factors such as partners, opportunities, financials and timing.”

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