The Next Leap



With growing competition and demand for migration to converged voice and data
networks in the BPO industry, the hosted contact center model is far more
appealing to the growing number of companies because of its cost saving,
advanced, and flexible nature. The technology, according to experts, enables
companies to focus on their core business instead of managing the complex
technology infrastructure. In order to provide advanced networking and technical
expertise, hosted solutions seem to be the most appropriate solution in today’s
scenario.

To discuss the changing demands, challenges, relevance of hosted contact
centers, and business and capacity expansion needs of the BPO industry,
VOICE&DATA brought together the best minds from the BPO industry in its 6th BPO
Summit, “Hosted Contact Centers-The Winning Formula”, spanning four cities.

The first part of the four-city event took place in New Delhi, where experts
discussed recent trends in the industry and the significance of hosted contact
centers in a detailed and comprehensive manner. The event begun with a welcome
note by Prasanto K Roy, chief editor, CyberMedia, followed by keynote address by
Sukant Srivastva, managing director, Convergys.

The first session was on business and capacity expansion challenges. The
panelists were Sudhir Agarwal, COO, Aegis BPO; S Vishwanathan, COO, NIIT
Smartserve; Navin Joshua, executive director, vCustomer; Ankush Gangwani,
product manager, Tata Communications; JB Singh, national sales manager, Voice
Business, Sify Technologies; Sukant Srivastva, managing director, Convergys; and
Salil Agarwal, practice head, ECS.

In the keynote address Sukant Srivastva, MD, Convergys said, “In today’s
world of cutthroat competition, customers are eagerly looking forward to an
enhanced experience, in a cost effective way. While improving customer
experience is significant, it is also important to analyze the cost. Therefore,
we need to deploy effective technologies that empower agents to deliver superior
customer experience.” He further added, “The important part is to find ways to
improve productivity of the agent in terms of providing them intelligent voice
assistance capabilities, so that an agent can offer better customer experience
without any hurdle.”

The second session included panelists Ashok Wahi, director, Group IT, Omnia
BPO; Sunil Gujral, CTO, Quatrro; PV Ramadas, VP, Technology, HCL Technologies;
PC Jain, GM, Technology, Wipro BPO; Subbiah Gopalkrishanan, technology leader,
IBM Daksh; Yazad Boga, head, IT/BPO Verticals, Tata Communications; and Prasanto
K Roy, chief editor, ICT Publications, Cyber Media.

The Show Begins: (L-R) Sudhir Agarwal of Aegis,
Vishwanathan of NIIT Smartserve, Navin Joshua of vCustomer, Salil Agarwal of
ECS, Sukant Srivastva of Convergys, Ankush Gangwani of Tata Communications,
and JB Singh of Sify Technologies

After exciting rounds of discussions and comments, industry experts came to
the conclusion that although the hosted contact center would prove to be the
best business model for BPOs in the current scenario, it would still be
important to safeguard business interests as well. And a careful assessment of
issues such as data security, reliability, and control should be made before
going for the same. According to panelists, it is important to look for a hosted
provider who will offer best processes and mechanisms to ensure that they have
the data which is protected and keep on investing in their security
technologies.

Changing Scenario
The Bangalore event started with a key note by Aman Mustafa, VP & country
head, India, ACS Global Operations Support, followed by presentations by Yazad
Boga, head, IT /BPO Verticals, Tata Communications; AK Divatia, CMO, Procall;
and Shankar Balu, director, South Asia & Middle East, Aspect Software key.

Delivering the note, Aman Mustafa, VP and country head, ACS Global Operations
Support asserted, “The BPO sector has created a vast scope of growth
opportunities in the past. Outsourcing in any manner requires a thinking
process, but it makes sense because of the cost advantage and flexibility
factor.”

In Progress: (L-R) Ashok Wahi Of omnia, Sunil
Gujral of Quatrro, PV Ramadas of HCL Technologies, Prashanto K Roy of
Cybermedia, Subbiah Gopalkrishnan of IBM, Yazad Boger of Tata
Communications, and PC Jain of Wipro

The panelists for the first session of the event included Swaminathan
Dandapani, senior VP, Infosys BPO; Ganesh Kumar, VP, Operations, e4e; Rangaraj
S, head, Quality and Security Controls, HTMT Global Solutions; Sharad Junghare,
COO, Aditya Birla Minacs, Apac; Ankush Gangwani, product manager, Tata
Communications; JB Singh, general manager, Voice Business, Sify Technologies;
Aman Mustafa, VP and country head, ACS Global Operations Support; and Shyamanuja
Das, editor, Dataquest.

As the BPO industry is growing, there is substantial rise in demand of
sky-scraping volumes and quality of services from the customer perspective.
Furthermore, companies also need to make profits for incessant development.
Also, the mounting competition from other Asian neighbors can put a real time
pressure on India.

After much discussion during the session, experts came to a conclusion that
it was very important to progress in delivering customer services in an advanced
manner. The panel strongly recommended the need to manage the process and
functionality in an enhanced way.

The second session’s panelists included Anil Bajpai, senior VP and head,
Integrated Technology and Operational Delivery, iGate Solutions; Anand Talwai,
executive VP, e4e; N Gajapathy, CTO, Aditya Birla Minacs, Apac; Pradeep
Sreedharan, head, Service Delivery, Cable & Wireless India, Yazad Boga, head,
IT/BPO Verticals, Tata communications; and KS Ganesan, CTO, Microland.

The important part is to find ways to improve
productivity of agents in terms of providing them intelligent voice
assistance capabilities, so that they can offer better customer experience

Sukant Srivastva, MD, Convergys

 

The BPO sector has created vast growth
opportunities in the past. Outsourcing in any manner requires a thinking
process but it makes sense because of cost advantage and flexibility

Aman Mustafa, VP and country head, ACS
Global Operations Support

The viability of hosted contact centers as a long term or a short-term
business model was discoursed by the panelists in the session. Many of them
opined that while cost is the driving force, hosted contact centers make sense
only when the company is setting up limited number of seats in outside regions
or countries.

Chennai Joins In
The third event of the VOICE&DATA BPO Summit 2008 was held in Chennai. The
discussion started with the introduction and welcome note by Baburajan K,
executive editor, VOICE&DATA.

The first session included insights and discussion from Ganesh Kumar, VP,
Operations, e4e; Vinod Harith, founder and director, CMO Axis; Ranjit Pisharoty,
senior VP, Strategic Program Solutions, Sutherland Global Services; Prakash Iyer,
group product head, Tata Communications; and Shyamanuja Das, editor, Dataquest.

Charting a Path: (L-R) Anil Bajpai of iGate
Solutions, Yazad Boga of Tata Communications, Anand Talwai of e4e, KS
Ganesan of MIcroland, N Gajapathy of Aditya Birla Minacs, Subramanya C of
HTMT Global
Panelists: (L-R) JB Singh of Sify Technologies,
Ankush Gangwani of Tata Communications, Ganesh Kumar of e4e, Shyamanuj Das
of Dataquest, Sharad Junghare of Aditya Birla Minacs, Rangaraj S of HTMT
Global Solutions, Swaminathan Dandapani of Infosys BPO, and Aman Mustafa of
ACS Global Operations Support

The discussions concluded with some interesting insights into the present
trends of the BPO industry, which lately has been moving toward the tier-2
cities. Most of the panelists agreed that there is a strong need for expansion,
and to make smaller towns and cities a viable model for the second phase of
development in the Indian BPO story. Moving toward smaller towns and cities, the
BPO industry can survive much longer in India as there are regions with huge
potential that have not been fully utilized. Cities like Gurgaon and Noida have
already established as a perfect example of development in this context.

Panelists: (L-R) JB Singh of Sify Technologies,
Ankush Gangwani of Tata Communications, Ganesh Kumar of e4e, Shyamanuj Das
of Dataquest, Sharad Junghare of Aditya Birla Minacs, Rangaraj S of HTMT
Global Solutions, Swaminathan Dandapani of Infosys BPO, and Aman Mustafa of
ACS Global Operations Support
Broadening Horizons: (L-R) Saravana Thambusamy
of Allsec, Prakash Iyer of Tata Communications, Shyamanuj Das of Dataquest,
Rajnithpishawdi of Southerland Global Services, Vinod Harith of CMO Axis,
and Ganesh Kumar of e4e

The panelists discussed the need of combining talents of different pools and
geographies for creating the next part of development in the country. The
cultural barriers also need to be overcome to make India the best destination
for BPO work, felt experts.

Gaining Ground: (L-R) Pradeep Sreedharan of
Cable2Wireless India, Saravana Thambusamu of Allsec, B Rajaganpathy of KPMG,
Bobby M Vargnese of Cyber Slash Support, V Chandrasekaran of Secova, Yazad
Boga of Tata Communications
All Set: (L-R) Adeni of Sitel India, Rajnish
Sarna a BPO industry consultant, S Shyam Sunder of Magus Customer Dialog,
Sangram Gayal of PWC, Guhan Ramanan of Caliber Point Business Solutions,
Pranesh Babu of Sify Technologies, Parkash Iyer of Tata Communications

Panelists for the second session, “does the hosted model offer real
flexibility?” included V Chandrasekaran, co-founder and CTO, Secova; Bobby M
Varghese, VP, IT & IS, CSS CORP, Cyber Slash support; Pradeep Sreedharan, head,
Service Delivery, Cable & Wireless India; Yazad Boga, head, IT/BPO Verticals,
Tata Communications; and B Rajaganapathy, manager, IT Advisory, KPMG.

Voicing Concerns: (L-R) Rajendra Deshpande of
Intelenet, Noel Thomas of Integreon, Avesh Shaikh of Sitel India, Prashanto
K Roy of Cybermedia, Saurabh Kaushal of Frost & Sullivan, Yazad Boga of Tata
Communications, and Andie Rees of Cosmocom Asia

According to the panelists, while the hosted model can certainly provide
better flexibility, it is also imperative to carefully examine the capabilities
of the hosted provider. As quality and reliability are the two most important
things that need to be taken care of for a better customer experience. The
challenge ultimately is acceptability with clients.

All at Mumbai
The Mumbai event also saw intense discussions from eminent industry
personnel.

Safir Adeni, CEO, Sitel India, gave his valuable insights during his welcome
note and said, “The BPO industry is maturing everyday. It has done well in the
past to attract global markets by delivering quality work in a cost effective
manner. Given that today’s customer has become much more quality conscious and
demands innovation, speed, and flexibility.”

There is dynamic need for technology as clients
demand flexibility of migrating from one platform to another. Thereby the
core competency is to design, develop, and implement the actual business
needs of consumers

Safir Adeni,
CEO, Sitel India

“There is a dynamic need for technology as clients demand flexibility of
migrating from one platform to another. The core competency then is to design,
develop, and implement the actual business needs of consumers,” he added.

The first session for the day included panelists Safir Adeni, CEO, Sitel
India; S Shyam Sunder, director, Magus Customer Dialog; Rajnish Sarna,
consultant, BPO Industry; Guhan Ramanan, director, Business Transformation,
Caliber Point Business solutions; JB Singh, general manager, Voice Business,
Sify Technologies; Prakash Iyer, group product head, Tata Communications; and
Sangram gayal, principal consultant, PwC.

Discussions concluded that, post the plans of DoT, remote agents could be the
future of the outsourcing business.

Rajendra Deshpande, CTO, Intelenet; Noel Thomas, director, IT and
Infrastructure, Integreon; Avesh Shaikh, VP and head, IT, Sitel India; Saurabh
Kaushal, principal consultant, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan; Yazad boga, head,
IT /BPO Verticals, Tata Communications; and Prasanto K Roy, chief editor,
CyberMedia India, were the panelists for the second session of the day.

The core summary of the discussion was that taking into account the US
recession, offshoring is essential for the BPO industry while retaining margins
could be a key issue.

The session talked about the major challenges and needs of the BPO industry.
Experts felt that it is important to weigh the functional and technical benefits
as compared to the potential drawbacks when going for a hosted model. The
business model should be adopted only after a thorough analysis of the needs and
customer service allegiances is completed.

The Next Level
The BPO industry has thus far provided exponential opportunity in India in
terms of jobs, revenue, and management. Being the hub of resources, and its
abundant talent pool, the future of the BPO industry in India can survive much
longer provided the industry expands at a faster rate in smaller towns and
villages, where cost of operation is 15-20% lower.

The capability of organizations to scale up is also important while adopting
a hosted model. The experts also opined that security is a major concern for
BPOs. With rising concerns of clients for their critical information, it is
important to look for a hosted provider who can provide a complete mechanism for
the protection of data. It is also advisable to ensure that they have certified
data centers and that they continuously invest to upgrade in their security
technologies. However, the willingness of BPOs to outsource their contact
centers is itself a major question that was taken up during the discussions.

The event also saw a number of presentations from industry stalwarts.

Jatinder Singh

jatinders@cybermedia.co.in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *