June 30, 2009

Development of Philippine IT-BPO ecosystem urged

To sustain the growth of the country’s BPO-IT industry, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) is urging the development of an ICT-enabled ecosystem that would involve schools, local governments, and small businesses.

“It is no longer enough to provide for the basic necessities to support the industry like the usual recruiting agencies and infrastructure,” said CICT chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III. “To be more sustainable and long term, we need to develop the ecosystem that could create more awareness on the benefits of ICT. This will develop the necessary skills and environment that would help keep the industry moving forward.”

Roxas-Chua made the call in Monday’s launch of “Convergence 2009” ICT road show held at the CICT office in the University of the Philippines. The event is a start of a series of road shows in the Philippines from June to November, aimed at pursuing CICT’s industry objectives focused on four strategic areas: cyberservices, human capital development, eGovernment development, and ICT infrastructure.

Convergence 2009 with the theme: “Empowering the Filipino Through ICT” is part of the celebration of the Philippines National ICT Month in June, which is under Proclamation No. 1521 of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

With the local BPO-IT industry posting a $6 million revenue in 2008, CICT reported the Philippines is poised to grab 10% of the global offshoring and outsourcing market by 2010. But to achieve this, about one million new employees are needed to join the industry.

“Talent determines the growth of the industry as the Philippines presently generates 320,000 jobs. And in fact an additional 600,000 are needed today,” Roxas-Chua said.

The Convergence 2009 kick off highlighted a multi-site video conference involving 10 of the 11 so-called “next wave cities” in the Philippines tapped to cater the BPO-IT industry, namely: Lipa, Bulacan, Metro Cavite, Iloilo, Metro Laguna, Bacolod, Metro Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Pampanga. The province of Daet Camarines Sur was later announced to be an additional member of the group.

Avinash Vashishta, chairman and CEO of Tholons, a full-service strategic advisory firm, told conference audience that the outsourcing industry continues to be resilient to the ongoing global economic recession, noting there have been no company shutdowns and bankruptcies taking place.

Vashishta cited that finance and accounting are strong potentials for the Philippines to exploit since the country’s education is most likely similar to the US.

Convergence 2009 is described to be the broadest ICT initiative by the government, supported by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P) and the Coordinating Council Of Private Education Associations (COCOPEA). The project aims to promote the Philippine Cyber Corridor program and the developing BPO-IT location cities, ensure the supply of talent for the BPO-IT industry, increase awareness on the use of ICT and to develop the small-and medium-enterprises (SMEs) through technology. TOM NODA

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