Voice&Data BPO Summit 2010: Opportunity Calls

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The BPO industry strongly felt the heat of the economic slowdown globally.

With investments trickling in, and harsh cost-cutting measures across the

industries, BPOs' revenues especially witnessed a sharp decline. However, in

India, this was not really the case, with a growth of 18% during the recession.

Most of the industry people were taking the slowdown as an opportunity to look

more carefully at their own strategies, and improve them to cater better to the

changing global and domestic trends.


Thus, VOICE&DATA's eighth BPO Summit-BPO 2.0 positioned around the theme

'After the Downturn, the Re-invention'-had industry leaders discussing and

debating on issues pertaining to whether there was really a downturn, the rise

of off shoring due to the recession, growth of tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and the

changing demands of domestic customers-to cut costs while simultaneously helping

in transforming their businesses.


After an introductory note by Prasanto Kumar Roy, chief editor, CyberMedia

at the BPO 2.0 event held on May 19 in Mumbai on whether or not the downturn is

over as yet, judging from the increase in competitive pressure surrounding

price, new technologies and better quality at lower cost. Rightly stating that

BPOs came in as a threat, but over the years have been contributing steadily to

the GDP. Effective in back-up power conservation and cost reduction, helping to

further develop technology, and speed up time for customer service as well as

being the forerunners of green adoption in the industry-BPOs are here to stay

and will grow, no matter what the economic situation is.

From L-R: Mohit Jain, CIO, 24/7

Customer; Sunil Gujral, CTO, Quatrro; Prasanto K Roy, chief editor,

CyberMedia; Subramanya C, global CTO, HTMT Global; Bharat Bhushan, director,


The first keynote address by Swami Swaminathan, CEO and MD, Infosys BPO set

the tone for debate on the downturn. Swaminathan suggested that the downturn was

simply a matter of the mindset. According to him, continued focus on getting the

best out of the market in terms of pricing, expansion, new technologies,

managing costs and increasing efficiency will not only provide more investments

due to satisfied customers, but will also lead to an increase in the BPO's

profitability. Providing the example of Infosys being unsure about the Indian

operations at first, he said that a major factor for the country's BPO growth is

its continuing effort to re-invent and innovate, dealing with clients in

multiple verticals. He said that customers today are no more concerned about

where you are going to execute the operations, as long as the operations are

scalable. This would come from a concentration on being end-customer centric

instead of cost-centric, and globalizing the location by leveraging knowledge

and expertise from all centers. A combination of BPO efficiency and KPO

effectiveness is the ideal model for success, with people being the most

important resource in OSS/BSS to enhance the delivery by engaging them in

enhancing the performance. Lastly, he said that a change in the customer mindset

that a BPO is the lowest level on the chain is also important in order to move


From L-R: Jitendra Nath, senior VP,

Spanco BPO; Sanjay Diwan, VP, OSPAI; Salil Agrawal, associate director, PWC;

Gopal Devanahalli, VP and independent business unit head, Infosys; Salil

Khanna, VP, head, ITES, Bharti Airtel

The first speaker of the day, Salil Khanna, head, ITeS, industry verticals,

Bharti Airtel spoke about the next innovations for BPO, strategic telecom

outsourcing. Explaining how a telecom operator can assist a BPO, he said that

the outsourcing thought is an old one and today's business is growing from

anywhere to anywhere in the world-implying the demand-supply chain. He also

mentioned that the time for virtualization and cloud has come. Post the

downturn, there has been an emergence of new SMEs and segments like healthcare

and e-governance which will further give a boost to the BPO traffic, as will new

technologies which will result in a greater need for troubleshooting. Market

consolidation is another key trend. With a high CAGR of 40%, large international

BPOs are now turning to domestic BPOs. This trend will only continue with the

growth in new segments, apart from telecom and BSSI, forcing BPOs to move

further down into India, away from tier-1 and tier-2 cities to become closer to

the customer and cater to them better. He also mentioned that the capital setup

has given way to third party BPOs. Some of the key concerns for BPOs would be a

need to have a single network-merge domestic and global network; consolidate and

optimize the network to reduce debt; outsource instead of build; and go for

total telecom transformation.


The first panel discussion of the day which was moderated by Anil Joshi,

senior manager, consulting, Deloitte had Saifr Adeni, president and CEO,

Eknovate Software Services; Sanjay Diwan, VP, OSPAI; Keyur Maniar, VP, Wipro BPO;

Tarun Pandey, VP, IT, Aditya Birla Group; and Shyam Kerkar, head, marketing, BPO

services, TCS on the panel.

While the central focus of the discussion was how BPOs can make the most of

the global downturn, Adeni said that there was a necessity to change the way

clients were addressed and specifically cater to the new challenges and demands

of the market. Service based models that promise connectivity, scalability and

flexibility as well as domain-specific services will help in increasing the

customers' revenues and in turn revenues of the provider, converting critical

costs into revenue-generating costs. According to Joshi, cloud computing will

enable KPOs to move much faster in India than anywhere else, and the downturn

contributed to great learning and great recovery. Diwan pitched in with the

thought that the downturn was an opportunity for vendor consolidation in the

revenue space. He also said that now more customers are looking at transactional

business, and a gap in experience undermines customer loyalty. Maniar touched

upon the fact that companies are increasingly looking at the value being offered

by BPOs, and are now concentrating on business function outsourcing-giving out

their entire suite of operations and looking at outcome based and game-share

contracts. Thus, there is an increasing lift, shift and agile transformation.

Creativity with transformation, addressing IT plus BPO needs, with one partner

to address all solutions-is the need of the hour. Additionally, there is an

emphasis on multi-geo, multi-language and multi-tower. According to Pandey,

innovation has always been a major differentiator. Re-invention and cost

pressures have always existed, and thus, the downturn only spells more

opportunity. Industry should concentrate on the benefits of both-customer and

provider. According to Kerkar, global companies are coming to India and Indian

majors are going global, moving away from labour arbitrage in the market, with a

new era of process-as-a-service model. Thus, understanding the customer

challenges and providing a solution is the key to solving business needs.

Keynote Speaker : Swami Swaminathan, CEO

and MD, Infosys BPO delivers the first keynote address on 'BPO 2.0: After

the Downturn, the Re-invention'
Keynote speaker : Aparup Sengupta, CEO

and MD, Aegis delivers the second keynote address on 'BPO 2.0 :

Rediscovering the Role of Technology'
Sukant Srivastava, MD and country

manager, Convergys India Services

Seth Shaw, VP, sales and marketing, EMEA, LogMeIn in his presentation spoke

about superior support experience focused on increasing the mobility of end

users. With most people using mobiles and laptops for support, it will give an

opportunity to BPOs to provide new apps based services. Aparup Sengupta, CEO and

MD, Aegis who spoke on 'Rediscovering the Role of Technology in IT and IT

enabled Services' said that in a flatter world, cost versus value is a big

question; and innovations need to be aligned to the technology and changing

business models of the moment. Anytime, anywhere future-proof architecture is

the key, especially with the product lifecycle getting shorter and challenging.

Thus, a move from mass generalization to mass customization should be done as

each customer is unique and wants to be serviced in his own way.

Chetan Khosla, VP, quality and process

engineering, Aegis

The second panel discussion of the day examined the theme of re-discovering

the role of technology. As an opening note, Sanjay Prasad, EVP and CIO, BFSI BPO,

TCS said that the customers, regulators, operating level, and productivity-all

have to work together; and issues like work-from-home, security, taxation for

delivery centers were all opportunities for operators to think inside out to

match these parameters. According to Praveen Srikhande, senior VP, technology,

WNS, adoption of new technology has always been a challenge due to the price

pressures as customers don't have time to judge value versus cost. Self-service

portals should be built up and developed to serve customers better, and contact

centers should also be developed to aid in customer retention. Wrapping up the

discussion, Manoj Paul, COO, enterprise services, Bharti Airtel said that the

right partners will lead to more outsourcing, and work-from-home should really

be marketed, especially with higher speeds for home being offered which will

lead to greater cost efficiency. He also said that operators providing a

one-stop end-to-end solution and backed by a single BPO partner would help

eliminate vendors and thus, save on costs.



VOICE&DATA BPO 2.0 held on May 21 in Delhi kicked off with a welcome note by

Prasanto Kumar Roy, chief editor, CyberMedia who spoke briefly on how changes in

the last year have been leveraged by the industry as an opportunity, with

demands and expectations of customers becoming increasingly diverse. Thus,

adding value by introducing innovative processes and pricing models, and

self-service portals can provide an edge to the industry.

L-R: Shyam Kerkar, head, marketing, BPO

services, TCS; Tarun Pandey, VP, IT, Aditya Birla Group; Keyur Maniar, VP,

Wipro BPO; Anil Joshi, senior manager, consulting, Deloitte; Anil Modi,

head, marketing & strategic initiatives, Aegis; Sanjay Diwan, VP, OSPAI;

Safir Adeni, president and CEO, Eknovate Software Services

Sukant Srivastava, country manager and VP, Convergys, who delivered the first

keynote address of the day, spoke on how invention should go hand-in-hand with

technology of the moment and business model. With an uncertain market, ability

to change is the key just like the quality of good products and services. He

said that a good process and technical focus is what differentiates us from the

other world markets, and increasing cost for international clients without

increase in revenues is good news for the offshoring industry. He also mentioned

that though Philippines has given us a run for our money, that market is now

getting saturated; and the size of our talent pool and language flexibility are

the two factors among others that help India to stand out. Thus, opportunity

does exist, but there is a need to upscale our talent pool and deploy a

differentiated approach to drive value.

L-R: Anurag Kulshrestha, founder and

managing principal, McTranz Global Consulting; Manoj Paul, COO, enterprise

services, Bharti Airtel; Srikanth Sesh, CEO, Consilium Software; Prasanto

Kumar Roy, chief editor, CyberMedia; Praveen Srikhande, senior VP,

technology, WNS; Sanjay Prasad, EVP and CIO, BFSI BPO, TCS

According to Salil Khanna, VP and head, ITeS, Bharti Airtel, the BPO industry

has evolved to such an extent that no matter how the financial scenario is,

outsourcing will always be in demand. On the business side, there has been a

shift from a FTE based business model to a transformer based model; and

gradually this will move to a performance based model. Total telecom

transformation will help BPOs in keeping up with the emerging trends.

The first panel discussion of the day-which included speakers like Jitendra

Nath, senior VP, Spanco BPO; Sanjay Diwan, VP, OSPAI; Gopal Devanahalli, VP and

independent business unit head, Infosys; and Salil Khanna, VP, head, IteS,

Bharti Airtel with Salil Agrawal, associate director, PWC moderating-highlighted

challenges of the domestic market which are very different from the global

market, linking customers' revenues to BPOs' revenues, the change from captive

to third party BPOs-which is more of a global trend but with time and

confidence, PSUs and private players will soon follow suit in the domestic

space. UID, manufacturing, government, rural and healthcare are the new segments

which will drive the BPO market. Another question is on how IVR can bring down

the costs and increase customer satisfaction.


After a presentation on 'Delivering Superior Support Experience' by Seth

Shaw, VP, sales and marketing, EMEA, LogMeIn, the second keynote address on

'Rediscovering the Role of Technology' was delivered by Sudhir Agarwal,

president, MEA and APAC, Aegis. This was followed by a presentation by Vikas

Kumar, head, solution engineering, Genesys (Alcatel-Lucent company) on

'Optimizing your Operations'.

Salil Khanna, VP and head, ITeS, Bharti

Vikas Kumar, head, solution engineering,

Genesys (Alcatel-Lucent company)
Seth Shaw, VP, sales and marketing, EMEA,


Following that, the second panel discussion for the day started, which was

moderated by Prasanto Kumar Roy, chief editor, CyberMedia, with panelists

including Bharat Bhushan, director, Integreon; Mohit Jain, CIO, 24/7 Customer;

Subramanya C, global CTO, HTMT Global; Sunil Gujral, CTO, Quatrro; and Sanjeev

Johari, senior VP and head, IT, Spice BPO. It covered a number of topics ranging

from platform BPOs to automating the contact centers.

Clearly, what emerged from both the events is that there is a growing focus

on enhancing the GDP-growth, differentiation, and people-as that will help

companies to stay ahead. Industry knowledge is becoming more important, with an

emphasis on business matrix instead of operation matrix, working backwards to

add more value to clients. Technology must go hand-in-hand with innovation, and

drive efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Further, asking customers to pay for

the extra value offered that goes beyond the traditional infrastructure platform

can help in boosting price points. The time has come to move from a TDM and IT

network to a total IT network. Finally, 3G and BWA will bring about a broadband

revolution in India; and with a regulatory perspective of AUSPI for

work-from-home, the BPO sector is all set to see an explosion in growth.

Beryl M