BPO Summit 2015
The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Summit Bangladesh 2015, on December 9, organised a double-day dialogue to engage and focus on the industry of immense potential at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka. Multiple sessions were held with renowned speakers from their respective fields, who came together to share their knowledge and experience. They discussed the streamlining of a road-map with proper collaborations and policy support to make the BPO industry worth $1 billion by 2021, and contribute prominently towards the GDP growth of the nation’s economy.
The summit was jointly organised by ICT Division and Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (Bacco). Supported by a2i, BPC, EPB and BTRC. In partnership with BASIS, BCS, BWIT, CTO forum, BIJF, FBCCI, ISPAB and e-cab. Gold sponsors were ADN group and genex. Silver sponsors were CISCO, Summit Communications Limited, Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority, Airtel, NRBCbank and Teletalk. IT partner was Aamra. Network partner was Fiber@Home. The university activation sponsor was Bikroy.com. And finally, the strategic partner for the event was BetterStories Limited.
The first session of the day titled “Bangladeshi youth to drive BPO industry” focused on the younger generation and how their involvement in the BPO industry will help achieve the vision of a digital Bangladesh. The session gave an insight on how most of the young people of our generation look forward to working in the BPO sector and some are already involved. The major obstacle is that not everyone has the knowledge or the skills needed to pursue work in this sector. The main aim was stated to make sure people have the means and adequate knowledge about the BPO sector. The conclusive plan is to create 200,000 jobs in this sector in the hope that the youth of Bangladesh will play a major role in it. “There is an advantage in failures. It gives you drive and motivation to be successful in the next venture,” said Munir Hasan, general secretary, Bangladesh Open Source Network.
The next session, “Global BPO Industry: best practices” was a fruitful one in terms of instilling confidence, for it was mentioned time and again that Bangladesh was ready, prepared and growing as a major outsourcing site for BPO. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Bangladesh were swiftly discussed and addressed. In a conclusive manner, the seminar came to a general agreement that communication prowess along with the hope-building and fresh nature of the industry could be the limitations for expansion and cultivation of the BPO industry in Bangladesh, but with countless opportunities. Avinash Vashistha, president, Tholons, said, “Digital is not about using videos, mobile phones, etc, but integrating all of it, and when you use it to change and transform processes.”
In short, the session on “Government as a client” was an eye opener on how the public has inappropriately perceived the state with a limited mind. It illustrated how the government itself is a business and one of the largest potential buyers in terms of expenditure capability; and how individuals, start-ups and SME firms are more than capable of handling their activities and support them as external parties. Projects like helpdesk may help to integrate the decentralised nature of ministry activities, while applications such as Belancer shall help connect clients with professionals. It was conclusively stressed for interested parties to reach out to the government, and how it has adapted to the changing times with realistic visions for 2021.
The next session, “The opportunities in the domestic market for outsourcing” began and ended on a hopeful note; it enlightened the audience on the immensity of the opportunities that are present in the BPO sector. After a brief presentation that showcased the current situation around the globe in terms of the BPO industry, the concluding ideas and solutions were two-fold: the first concerned the involvement of the government in partnership with private companies and the second revolved around the idea of incubating and accelerating start-ups. However, the whole seminar was built on the base that Bangladesh’s skill set and innate potential must be explored in order to move into an international market. “Business does not merely mean private and public companies. The functions of the government, in fact, are also a business,” said Harun Ur Rashid, additional secretary, Information and Communication Technology Division.
“Opportunities and challenges in banking outsourcing” session portrayed a true reflection of the strengths and weaknesses of the banking sector in Bangladesh, with regard to outsourcing. The value of assets in terms of talented individuals and the level of technological advancement has overshadowed the weaknesses that exist. There is still a matter of education in English language and proper development of skills that will pose as future challenges. The honourable governor has enlightened the audience regarding the innumerable steps being taken to make the lives of those interested in the BPO industry a lot easier. The seminar was brought to an end on the note that building this industry is possible as it holds great potential but it requires collective effort. “Digital Bangladesh was once a dream, an idea. But now it is turning into reality. I am pretty hopeful and I think we can work together to brand Bangladesh as the preferred market for foreign investors,” Dr Atiur Rahman, governor, Bangladesh Bank.
The session named “The role of higher education institutions for BPO industry” concentrated on how universities in the country can play a vital role in the growth of the BPO industry. It pressed on the challenges faced in the industry and the means to overcome them. The session stressed on the importance of communication, both in English and in Bangla. While most may be fluent in either English or in Bangla, they are not fluent in both. Everyone in the panel agreed that the new generation is the resource for the future; they are the ones who will help the BPO industry progress. The session also offered an innovative solution to the pressing problems, which included how most education institutions emphasise more on theoretical knowledge rather than the physical experience. Conclusively, the session suggested that there should be an equal mix of both.
In the last session, “Connecting with Untapped Skills: Polytechnic, Vocational and Technical (a2i)” much insight was gained on how developed and distributed the educational sector has become in comparison to former years. The industry nature of the ICT sector was given a rather different insight on how it was pushed into supply, rather than pulled by demand, into development. Light was also shed on how “The disabled population of Bangladesh is deprived of equal rights to education. An astute discussion was also held where hard and direct questions were fired, about giving people the right job, at the right time, and at decent pay.” Many prospects were discussed on how vocational and other forms of training may open the floor to the expansion and proper utilisation of the ICT sector, communication prowess in English being a vital part in it with reference to BPO globally as well. The future however, seems bright.