De ongeëvenaarde waardepropositie van Belize voor outsourcing van bedrijfsprocessen

AS A CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRY with an intrinsic Caribbean identity, Belize offers a truly unique solution for business process outsourcing.

On the eastern coast of Mexico and Guatemala, it is the only English-speaking country on the Yucatan Peninsula, and its social and political identity has mirrored that of its more-distant neighbours in the Caribbean archipelago.

Like many of the Antilles, Belize has invested heavily in social development, and it has created a highly-educated workforce that sees an annual growth of approximately 8,000 new graduates each year. And with a median age of 21, the country ’s young labour market now supports over 4,000 in-demand contact centre jobs in its fast-growth BPO sector.

Belize’s continental position also has its benefits. While inflationary pressures and costs of imports have driven up the price of doing business in many states, Belize enjoys a relatively low cost of living. Its local BPOs retain staff on an average (but competitive) wage of US$3-7 per hour, and salaries for outsourced roles are up to 60-80% less than those for similar jobs in the US.

What’s more, Belize’s BPO sector enjoys a marginal staff attrition rate of only 5%, and its mostly bilingual population also caters to the Hispanic market segments of its outsourcing clients.

Belize’s value proposition among outsourcing destinations is so unique that the government there has identified it as a priority sector for its economy. And with a progressive wave in the United States pushing for ambitious minimum wage targets, Belize will continue to be among the leading choices for American companies looking to preserve their profit margins. Its “near-shore” proximity to the US also eliminates the costly domestic night-shifts typical for companies that employ South Asian BPOs, and Belize’s highly connected air-routes make quick and cost-effective travel a reality for US clients.

Beyond the innate convenience of Belize as a BPO destination, clients can be assured that the country’s outsourcing sector is mature and competent. Protel BPO, one of the country’s leading outsourcing firms, has differentiated itself by offering solutions that seamlessly align with clients’ brand identities and service standards.

In business since 2013, Protel provides inbound and outbound customer services, sales and lead generation, appointment services and email/chat support. On the service end, its employees undergo rigorous on-boarding training, have neutral accents, and regularly interface with clients in twice-monthly review meetings to track progress on performance indicators.

At a time when data security is increasingly coming under regulatory scrutiny, Protel is also PCI certified to maintain the integrity of client information shared offshore. This goes hand in hand with Protel’s mission, which sets up the company as an extension of its clients’ businesses; and as partners with a shared vision. To this end, Protel offers tailored solutions to meet its clients’ needs, and as a locally-owned company, it can offer the most competitive rates for outsourcing services. Its clients generally see 30% savings over Central and South American call centres, 50% savings over their internal call centre operations, and as much as 70% in savings compared to third-party US-based call centres.

Belize, along with other destinations in the Caribbean are near-shore BPO options, with a cultural mix, offering English, Spanish, French or Dutch as primary languages. Their affordability and international service standards make the Caribbean a true rising star in the Global outsourcing space.

For more information on outsourcing to the Caribbean, and to register for Caribbean Export’s Outsource to the Caribbean Conference, please visit The Outsource to the Caribbean event takes place from May 6-10, 2019 in Curaçao.

This article was originally published on the Outsource to the Caribbean website .

Gedeelde services, gedeelde voordelen

Once outsourcing became a business model, Shared Services centers was a logical and exponential outcome. Such centers are like business supermarkets, delivering key transactional processes and or administrative support under one roof. That results in clients getting to outsource finance and accounting, legal, information technology and even Human Resources in a bargain package that helps them consolidate productivity and reduce costs.

 Historically, Shared Services was defined as delivery of processes to a company from a shared model. The sharing in this instance referred to services delivery across business units and a sharing of accountabilities and responsibilities between the shared services organization and its customers. There are different iterations of that model now, but the core definition remains attractive for firms, even as Artificial Intelligence and robotics are changing service delivery.

 For the Caribbean, selling Shared Services, either in delivery or accommodation, may now be the region’s best outsourcing product. Some companies with a long history in the region have set up such centers here. Canadian activewear market leader Gildan established theirs in Barbados in 1999; Scotiabank launched its hub in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013. And only months ago, KPMG, one of the top four global professional services firm, opened its Shared Services center in Kingston, Jamaica.

 To build marketing momentum and attract other big firms that want value from outsourcing, the Caribbean Export Development Agency will be promoting Shared Services at its second annual Outsource to the Caribbean Conference (OCC2019) in Curaçao May 6th to 10th. The Agency intends to highlight the Caribbean’s service possibilities, especially those beyond voice centers, and why partnerships in this region makes good business sense.

 Operation size and space in the Caribbean are affordable, suitable and practical. Shared Services help these locations with economies of scale in real estate and business ready facilities. A company can benefit from Class A office space rental rates per square meter/ month as low as US$2.8 (US$0.26 per square feet) in Haiti, US$11.2 (US$1.04 per ft2) in Suriname and US$11.7 (US$1.08 per ft2) in Jamaica. In other benchmarked BPO markets like India, Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico, rental rates vary between US$12.4 (US$1.15 per ft2) to US$26.7 per square meter (US$2.48 per ft2).

 The Caribbean’s diverse and skilled English-speaking workforce makes it an ideal location for most combined back office operations because it offers solid capability. Many Fortune 500 and other multi nationals already have a presence here, which means a center can recruit local talent who have first world business experience.

Shared Services also bring big savings on statutory and social security taxes and benefits like group health. Even better, the Caribbean’s labour costs are more competitive than North America, falling between 88% to 55% lower. Over 70,000 students graduate from higher education every year.  The region also has the advantage of speaking several global languages with English, French, Spanish and Dutch spoken fluently.

 The region’s proximity to major markets as a gateway between North and South America, and its modern infrastructure means set up and integration is seamless. That proximity, and recent telecom/internet advances in most territories make it easy to support cross border operations with other regional players.

 Some other valuable benefits of Shared Services in the Caribbean for foreign firms were recently highlighted in a Smarter with Gartner blog: service reliability, simplification of effort and key insights that help partners improve business performance. 

 According to the blog, reliability adds value by meeting customer needs at a competitive cost. A reliable vendor allows a client to focus on improving and refining their own processes. “The Caribbean has already proven it’s a reliable business partner,” says Tessa Jacques – President of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agency’s (CAIPA). “Each country offers incentives that increase the savings to each investor and investment facilitation staff who stand ready to assist in any way.” The region’s territories also boast high functioning institutions, efficient government, and regulatory systems that are conducive to business.

 The second benefit, simplifying effort, brings a seamless, positive customer experience for clients who may be expanding or who want their key processes done in a standardized manner and can leverage management expertise and governance across all business support functions.

 Insights, often the best driver of business growth, are multiplied in Shared Services precisely because they bring untold value not only in the smart moves they allow companies to make, but also in market mistakes they help companies avoid. Insights from good data analysis offer opportunities to increase revenue, cut cost and improve business performance overall.

 OCC2019 comes at a time when Caribbean economies are riding on growth north of the region. As this seems likely to continue for the near future, it will make it easy to sell the concept of Shared Services centers to firms that want partners who will join them in solving their business problems. Others will simply want the ease of setting up their own, as Scotia and KPMG did. “Many of these companies want to know that the local talent is technically capable to support their operations. We can offer that in the Caribbean,” says Tessa Jacques – President of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agency’s (CAIPA). 

This article was originally published on the Outsource to the Caribbean website .

Wat maakt Curaçao tot een geweldige locatie voor de Outsource to the Caribbean Conference 2019?

One of the Caribbean’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan countries, Curaçao has just the character for OCC 2019 (May 6th – 10th).

The Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) and Carib Export will be working with the Curaçao Investment Promotion Agency, fDi-Intelligence (an arm of the Financial Times), and other partners to ensure that it delivers nothing but excellence and rewards to all participants.

Introducing Curaçao

Excellence is already a benchmark of Curaçao. The Dutch-Caribbean country is, with Aruba and Bonaire, one of the ABC islands, and an independent nation in the Netherland kingdom. It has been called a bit of Holland in the middle of the Caribbean. Really, though, it’s more Papiemento – the best of several worlds. Papiemento is one of Curaçaos’ three official languages (after Dutch and English). Like Curaçao’s diverse population, it is a blend of Spanish, Dutch, English, Portuguese, and African. You won’t often, even in the Caribbean, find so many worlds in a single island. The country is, in a word, unique. Progressive: with its underpinnings of freedom in all areas. Quintessentially Caribbean: welcoming weather (heat buffered by trade winds, clean air, with little rain), beaches, and colorful and objectively beautiful old world architecture. Modern: advanced infrastructure, transportation, and an extensive telecommunications network. Magnificent: It has an underwater cave known as the blue room (!) Quirky: iguana soup, anyone?

Not just a holiday spot

Curaçao regularly welcomes vacationers and its natural charms have enticed some to make it their home. But it’s not just a resort island. Its lengthy, services tradition includes pioneering the Offshore Financial Services Sector in the Caribbean as early as the 1920s. This positions the country ahead of the curve when it comes to the growth sector that is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

With development on par with, and easy access to markets in, the US and Europe; link-up with Dutch capitals in Europe and the Caribbean; proximity to the US (literally in the same time zone as New York); and the fact that it is tax-and-investment-incentivized; Curaçao is ready to court quality investors.

Well connected

Curaçao’s IT infrastructure has made it a data hub for the region. Daily flights from Europe, the US, Central America, and the Caribbean make it a physical hub. Meanwhile, its authentic attractiveness, modern amenities, while being located in the Caribbean Sea, though not in the hurricane belt (so investors can rest easy there), add to its appeal.

Curaçao has, in its capital Willemstad, one of the world’s largest natural harbors, accessible via a moving bridge called the swinging old lady; making it a center for container ships. A country so used to being at the center of things is well positioned to host an event like OCC 2019 – showcasing that paradisiacal as it is, the Caribbean has much more to offer to a service-driven, IT connected, progressing world, and especially to the world of international business.

This article was originally published on the Outsource to the Caribbean website .