Interviews

Trends, Pros, and Cons of BPO destinations in 2022

Trends, Pros, and Cons of BPO destinations in 2022

Interview with Peter Ryan from Ryan Strategic Advisory

Wiktor Doktór, Pro Progressio: The BPO and CX (Customer Experience) worlds are changing every day. The same is also true regarding the global location trends for the BPO and CX companies. What has 2021 been like in this regard?

Peter Ryan, Ryan Strategic Advisory: If anything 2021 showed that there is still a great of disruption in the BPO space globally. The return to ‘normal’ never occurred the way it was supposed, while the appetite for new delivery destinations continued at a frenetic pace. Equally, acquisitions were notable and aplenty too. Bottom line is that 2021 indicates that the BPO space is likely to continue no clear patterns or trends in 2022, until there is a line in the sand where the global economy is going in a post-COVID world.

At Ryan Strategic Advisory you have conducted a number of very interesting studies in 2021. Some have presented the global CX and BPO preferences. What, according to your research, are the top 5 destinations BPO and CX companies should consider in 2022?

Well, this is a tough one because what ‘should be’ and ‘what are’ can be two very different things. That said, our research is showing continued interest in South Africa (the most preferred destination for BPO buyers in 2021), Jamaica, Egypt and Poland. India cannot be counted out either. That said, according to our most recent study assessing how outsourcers in nearshore / offshore locations feel about where they are operating from  shows that Colombia and Bulgaria need to be top of mind. Bottom line is that there are a lot of shifting sands when it comes to offshoring and what is seen to be a top destination one year can fall apart in a matter of months

Let’s take a closer look at Asia. India has been the top BPO destination for a very long time, often closely followed by the Philippines. Broadly speaking, how is Asia viewed as a BPO/CX delivery destination and/or an offshoring location?

It is still seen as a very high calibre destination, one that is scalable and that has great talent. Take India for a moment. My last business trip prior to the pandemic was to Mumbai and Bangalore. What an amazing country. Equally, the Philippines retains a great deal of value in key demand markets. Let’s also not forget Malaysia, which is a mainstay of offshore activity for pan-Asia campaigns, and for the ever-important Australia / New Zealand market.

That’s Asia covered. What does the situation in South and Latin America Look like? I heard some great stories about such outsourcing destinations like Colombia, Mexico or Costa Rica.

Latin America is a crucial part of the BPO offshore puzzle. There is hardly a day that goes by when you don’t hear about Colombia as one of the most in-demand destinations for both US and European Spanish. Equally, Mexico’s value just keeps getting more and more important, given its status as the nearest of the nearshore in the American context. A true Cinderella story is Honduras, which overcame great odds a decade ago to become perhaps the most-sought after Central American BPO option.

Let’s move to Africa. For a long time it was either Morocco or Egypt when the subject of outsourcing to Africa came up. But Africa is changing as well. According to your research South Africa is the top-performing outsourcing destination that should be taken into consideration. Is this right?

South Africa can be considered the most mature BPO delivery point in sub-Saharan Africa, there is no question on this. The country has attracted outsourcers from around the world, due to a focus on quality labor, strong English skills and a dynamic industry. That said, this is not to mean there aren’t challenges. Stability in South Africa is under close scrutiny, especially following the sad events in Durban and Johannesburg several months ago. Equally, the country’s electricity grid is also a point of contention and rightly so. Unless South Africa can ensure improvements in the power supply, BPOs will be forced to look elsewhere.

Last but not least – Europe. What’s the story on Europe and, more specifically, countries like Poland, Romania, Lithuania or Bulgaria? Can we expect more outsourcing focus on this part of the world in 2022? What are the main benefits of Europe as a business destination?

Absolutely – I have had more enquiries come across my desk about Central & Eastern Europe than ever before. Not just the established destinations but also some of the more up and coming countries that include Croatia, Republic of Georgia, Slovenia and Albania. The opportunity to source value- -driven partners and solid language skills in some of these emerging destinations knows no bounds. Watch this space for more interest and activity in the emerging Central & Eastern European countries in 2022.

Peter, thank you for the interview.