1. Kenya has to position itself effectively in the international market by selecting specialised, higher-value outsourcing activities and through effective branding, as covered in the workshop that Jerry Durant from the US ran yesterday. Additionally, because of Kenya’s emerging status, its outsourcing operators are ideally positioned to offer maximum service and price flexibility. When combined with a strong work ethic and commitment to delivery, Kenya can (with proper guidance) capitalize on a growing demand for BPO services, according to the international keynote speakers, Jerry Durant and Bobby Varanasi.
2. Nkateko Sibiya, Chief Operating Officer, Sibize International Calling in South Africa provided an inspiring case study presentation on their shared services operation for Gauteng Province government departments – a great model for us to learn from as we in Kenya gear up to develop shared services for government departments.
3. Pumela Salela, Director of BPO & ICT Enabled Services in the Department of Trade & Industry, South Africa, gave us an inspiring presentation calling for African outsourcing countries to work together to develop an African outsourcing brand.
4. Our emerging BPO enterprises have been through a difficult year and many have not reached their revenue targets. BUT the strong message from international speakers is that there are great opportunities in the international market as major companies have to shed labour overheads and outsource an increasing level of their functions.
5. To build our BPO industry, we have to grow domestic outsourcing – government is going to lead the way by increasingly outsourcing many of its functions. Banks and other major companies in Kenya need to educate themselves from best international practice on the advantages of outsourcing.
6. Industry capabilities need to be enhanced to the point where clients can make direct and easy comparisons with other provider markets. This requires mentoring current provider leadership.
7. Industry association seems to be not as effective as it should be in showcasing local capabilities, while furthering promotion effort. Clients like to see industry associations because they represent the fabric of the provider marketplace clearly.
8. According to Bobby Varanasi, Kenya should not yet focus on KPO – a very nascent market that has not yet been fully understood even by leading provider nations like India or Philippines. Kenya’s focus on KPO is ill-placed. Further, the BPO provider market itself today is not comprehensive enough – all we see are call centre operations. Scaling up across the BPO spectrum should be the priority. Kenya is not positioned to offer KPO yet.
9. Kenya needs to create 2-3 globally branded companies – Kencall, Ken Tech, Horizon are the possible candidates. These firms with high visibility will enable “high recall” for the nation and hence increased visibility.
10. Dave Stewart of Horizon emphasised the need for tight security in their contact centre operations. If there is any data theft of bank account or credit card data from any operator and the news gets out, the entire industry will suffer from loss of credibility. He suggested that the BPO & Contact Centre Society could establish security standards and guidelines for the industry.