The Philippines is known for its skilled workforce that continuously fuel the growth of the outsourcing industry’s shared service centres through the population’s linguistic skills and readily procured low-cost labour to fill up processing roles in the allotted business scope.
With the advancement of robotics and its base programming derived out of the operating artificial intelligence, there is a wide consensus that automation and artificial intelligence that are rapidly evolving to fulfill tasks of both complex and non-complex in nature — are viable solutions for businesses that aim to further improve efficiency through cutting down critical response time commonly associated with backtracking as prelude to decision making. Integrating artificial intelligence in business information gathering and managing that was traditionally filled by staff dedicated to storage, processing and retrieval – make way for innovation such as Data on Demand services and Data Visualization services that cuts down redundant time incurred in backtracking of data pointed towards pre-decision making.
Under the premise of automation and artificial intelligent systems, the evolution of the business processing roles – traditionally outsourced to a Philippine service center, is a threat to the country’s existing outsourcing blueprint and shared service centers only if the sectors do not adapt to the industry’s upheaval of sophisticated operating structure that calls for a more skilled and analytic workforce.
According to a recent report published by SSON titled: Navigating The Transition From Low-Cost Labour To Analytics & Robotics Services, affirms that the country’s capability of its workforce and existing shared service centres to not only thrive, but also adopt and be a regional leader in a changing landscape where the country’s advantage of linguistic capability and low-cost labour may diminish.
For the past fifteen years into the new millennium, the Philippines have enjoyed tremendous growth as an outsourcing destination that was made viable by the workforce and its strong cultural affinity to the west. This fueled the growth of direct infrastructure investment that would later catapult shared service centres into housing specialty accounts for business process outsourcing.
The country alongside its Southeast Asian neighbors Malaysia and Singapore have enjoyed growth of their respective shared service centres market share from 2000 – 2015 as foreign investments started sourcing their business processes under a shared service setup.
Among the key factors in basing the selection of the Philippines’ shared service centres by foreign companies, 67% state that the readily available workforce is a huge variable. 42% state that the country’s competitive structure is also another factor in housing offshoot operations. With the country’s strong affinity with the west, 17% stated that the similarity between the country and the business’ native culture is also a definite advantage.
Functions that are served under the shared service centres within the Philippines and in which the country enjoys a competitive market share compared to its ASEAN neighbors include:
- 68% of Finance SSC
- 56% of HR SSC
- 23% of the Procurement SSC
- 42% of the IT SSC
- 39% of Other Roles to SSC (marketing, sales, legal, risk)
Steve Harris, Managing Director of ANZ’s Manila-based SSC stated that the decision makers are aware of the potentially game changing and climate changing application of robotics.
“We’ve all been aware of robotics as a gamechanger in the manufacturing industry – it’s now made its way into financial services and no one is daring to ignore its potential,” Steve Harris was quoted by the SSON report.
In successfully meeting the challenges posed by technology and innovation in its potential to disrupt existing business models such as shared service centres, the mind frame of key decision makers should be set towards embracing change and adapting to the changes.
“ Under the premise of automation and artificial intelligent systems, the evolution of the business processing roles – traditionally outsourced to a Philippine service center, is a threat to the country’s existing outsourcing blueprint and shared service centers only if the sectors do not adapt to the industry’s upheaval of sophisticated operating structure that calls for a more skilled and analytic workforce.”
The country currently enjoys a competitive structure, business-culture affinity and a skilled workforce to meet the challenges and adapt as a way in future proofing the existing shared service centres service that brings in economic benefits.
The following scenarios – when successfully established as a groundwork to counter an automation upheaval will keep the country’s SSC to rise and scale with the challenges:
Upskilling the Workforce – Linguistic and People oriented skills comprise of the talented workforce. In a scenario of upskill for further distilling new skills as attainment into the existing and future workforce, associations, businesses and sector support from government must come up with a blueprint to enact learning. New skills such as analytics operators, data miners and automation software pilots are viable for the country’s workforce to transition from sourceable skillsets as demanded by manual labour.
Upgrading the SSC – Facility equipment must also see enhancements in order to acclimate with the more intensive requirements that will be coming from automation, analytics and robotics. This will scale into the hardware accounted, network enabling and administrative configuration of the SSCs to equip their stations and intended skilled workers to grow into their much more sophisticated roles.
Member and Association Initiative – Disruptive technology starts with the initiative. Such traits that assess, study and act on progressive studies of embedded process are the recipe for introducing platforms of methodology that disrupt the existing process – in order to make way for a new system. The same virtue of initiative is applicable to the disruptive technology of automation and robotics to the established service models employed by various SSCs in the country. Self-initiative in the form of disrupting the widely accepted forms and functions associated with oursourcing will make way for the study, development and pilot programs in embracing automation. Self-initiative will not be self-contained to a business, but must also be taken up in associations of the country’s SSC into a steadily productive agenda as a goal.