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Playing Santa 2018


Thursday, January 31, 2019 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

MicroSourcing celebrated the holidays by adhering to the annual tradition of gift-giving and granting wishes. The Christmas trees located in every site was not just a display of holiday cheer, but also an opportunity for MicroSourcing employees to share their blessings and give happiness to people who need them the most. Christmas wish cards adorn these trees annually and in 2018, it was no different. These wishes turned into gifts and the gifts turned into smiles.

In partnership with Tulay ng Kabataan (TNK) Foundation, MicroMissions held the annual Playing Santa last December 22, 2018, in Pinyahan Elementary School in Quezon City. TNK is a foundation whose goal is to give back self-dignity and confidence to the children and the vulnerable, to lead the youth to a complete autonomous life, and to guide the elders in living their lives with dignity.

Playing Santa 2018 was held together with the TNK annual Christmas Party. The program started with a Catholic mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Matthieu Dauchez. The doxology was performed by a Sign Language Class headed by Mrs. Grace Rivera. The mass also included the sacrament of Confirmation for some of the children. Mr. Gil B. Sarmiento delivered the opening remarks and MicroSourcing was introduced as the sponsor for the event. The foundation greeted us with their official Christmas song and the judges for the Center Presentation contest were introduced. While eating our hearty lunch, both kids and kids-at-heart enjoyed the jugglers and bubble shows.

During the program, we displayed the 421 gifts that were donated by our generous employees. The party was attended by around 500 street children that the foundation houses in their 19 shelters all over Metro Manila. The Center Presentation contestants performed in front of the crowd and impressed everyone with their talent. Even though this was a contest, everyone looked like a winner! Before the day ended, we distributed loot bags, which contained small toys and school items.

Though we were not present in the actual gift-giving part, TNK made a heartfelt video of the event and thanked MicroSourcing and its employees for putting smiles on the children's faces. It is heart-warming and inspiring to be a part of this tradition. We are looking forward to touching more hearts in this year's Playing Santa!


This article by Karen Kristie Sumortin was originally published in the MicroSourcing Newsletter.

As part of MicroSourcing's CSR, MicroMissions, together with Nature Club and in partnership with MAD Travel, organized a tree planting activity entitled Treks and Tribe. A total of 35 volunteers were given the opportunity to participate in the said activity.

The purpose of Treks and Tribe was to help fight climate change by rebuilding a 3,000-hectare rainforest that will provide food, medicine, and sustainable income for the Aeta community.

At 2:00 AM of November 10, 2018, vans from different MS sites were already on the road for a five-hour journey to San Felipe, Zambales. Once settled at Circle Hostel and before heading to the jump-off, a quick briefing was conducted by Andrea, the MAD Chief Experience Officer.

Upon arrival at the jump off after an hour of a bumpy ride to meet the guides, volunteers started with the trek to the nursery. The supposed to be one-hour trek was doubled because it was already sunny and since it was an open trail, the temperature has become a challenge for some volunteers. Some walked on foot, while others had to ride the carabao cart. Not to mention that the trek also includes few river crossings.

With two hours spent at the nursery, volunteers were able to plant 1,100 seedlings. A morning snack – ube chips and tanglad (lemon grass) tea cooked by the villagers were served to the volunteers before continuing with the trek, this time to the Yangil Tribe village.

At the village, volunteers were treated to a sumptuous lunch. They also got a glimpse of the life of a Yangil Tribe through archery, the tribe's method of hunting food in the forest. It was also a time for the volunteers to mingle with the people of the community. Some volunteers played with the children, while some bought goods made by the Aetas.

Volunteers boarded the carabao cart on the way back to the jump-off. It was already after lunch and the sun was scorching hot, so it was not advisable to walk. To cap off the activity, dinner was prepared at Chief Iking's house, the tribe's chieftain.

Volunteers headed back to Manila with a tired body but a fulfilled soul and a happy heart.


This article by Paula Africa was originally published in the MicroSourcing Newsletter.

According to commercial real estate service provider Santos Knight Frank (SKF), more and more BPO firms in the Philippines continue to expand by growing their non-voice services portfolio and by taking advantage of new growth opportunities in areas outside Metro Manila, as reported by BusinessMirror.

Chairman and CEO of SKF, Rick Santos, noted that the BPO industry in the Philippines continues to be one of the most competitive in the world and the main driver is the Filipino workforce who are highly educated and proficient in the English language.

Santos also stressed the advantage of lower labor costs in the Philippines. "The average cost per employee in alternative destinations such as China and Mexico is in fact twice as expensive as the Philippines," he said.

Santos believes that the BPO industry will continue to grow both in Metro Manila and other BPO hubs in the Philippines as evidenced by property developers building more offices and business hubs to cater to opportunities and the labor force in the provinces.

Another evidence that backs up this optimism by SKF is the recent deal made in September 2018 between JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Megaworld, which SKF brokered – a long-term lease of 70,000 sq.m. of office space in Bonifacio Global City, one of the prime central business districts in Manila. As of writing, this is the largest single office lease deal in the real estate history of the Philippines in terms of both value and size.

As people become more and more health conscious, health and fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, also become increasingly popular. And the rise of these devices drives growth in healthcare-related BPO in the Philippines, as reported by ABS-CBN News.

According to Jeff Williams, chairman of the Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP), the BPO segment, where Filipino nurses and doctors give over-the-phone medical and health advice to customers in North America, grew almost ten times in over six years.

"All these new toys are bringing in so much data but can a person really effectively manage it themselves?" Williams said.

Williams explained that more and more people call health experts to help them analyze data from their health monitoring devices. Consulting with health experts over the phone makes check-ups faster and more efficient as they can immediately explain to customers the status of their wellbeing through readily available data from the trackers.

As Williams put it, "With these monitoring devices, we can see immediately 'Oh, we have to turn some prescription down a little bit or turn it up a little bit because we could see the impact.'"

The healthcare BPO industry currently has about over 133,000 direct employees, which is a 787% increase over six years. In 2017, the industry achieved $2.8 billion in revenues, which is a six-fold growth from $450 million in 2012.

As of writing, over-the-phone health analyses and check-ups constitute 10% of the BPO industry in the Philippines. Williams noted that this does not mean the number of healthcare workers in actual hospitals will be reduced, as health and fitness trackers are only meant to serve as complementary gear to actual hospital visits, treatments, and surgeries. What these devices can do is to help in reducing hospital re-admissions.

"If you stay at home with a monitoring device and have clinical people monitoring you, we can stay on top of it, help adjust medications without clogging hospital space for more critical cases," Williams said.

According to studies made by the Oxford Business Group (OBG), creative industries in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines, could be the next economic growth area. These creative industries could be capitalized even more to expand into developing the creative process outsourcing industry.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) defines creative industries as those that deal with not only creativity, but also culture, economics, and technology—generally, activities involving creativity and intellectual property as the main assets. Meanwhile, creative process outsourcing is a form of BPO that focuses on services like graphic design, web development, animation, digital marketing, and game development.

As reported by the Philippine News Agency, OBG Asia Regional Editor Patrick Cooke noted that the youth culture in the Philippines is driven by heavy consumption of music, art, film, fashion, and online content. With this, he added, "The innate Filipino creativity and all-pervasive musicality is impossible for first-time visitors to the country to ignore; the challenge lies in harnessing this for wider economic benefits."

"However, if the country is to truly realize its vast potential as a global hub for creativity, a more cohesive master plan may be needed to establish a viable ecosystem that ensures Filipinos have access to the financing and tools required to develop their considerable talents, as well as an effective means to access local and international markets," Cooke continued.

Aside from local creative and advertising agencies, BPO firms in the Philippines have been offering creative process outsourcing. Creative process outsourcing services in the Philippines cater to businesses from different parts of the world looking to outsource their brand development, marketing collateral, content creation, and website design and development, and to agencies looking to expand their creative team to meet deadlines during peak seasons.

MicroSourcing's creative services unit, MicroCreatives, is composed of graphic designers, web developers, animators, and copywriters that can take on different types of creative projects to meet your requirements. Whether for on-demand tasks, project-based arrangement, or a dedicated staff for a required duration, MicroCreatives offers various models with a highly customizable workflow that can adapt to any business’ existing processes.

The Philippines is in the second spot of the Top 50 Digital Nations of the 2018 Services Globalization Index by Tholons, a global strategic advisory firm. As reported by ABS-CBN News, India remains in the top spot, while Brazil is in the third place. In 2017, the Philippines was in third place.

The BPO industry in the Philippines and OFW remittances are the top 2 foreign exchange earners for the country. The BPO industry in the Philippines employs more than 1.15 million Filipinos.

The remaining countries in the Top 10 include the United States, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Vietnam, Colombia, and South Africa.

Meanwhile, another list in the index report, the Top 100 Super Cities list, includes six cities from the Philippines.

Manila is in the second place next to Bengaluru, India, and in the third place is Mumbai, India. In 2017, Manila was in the fourth place.

The other five cities are Cebu (11th place from 12th last year), Davao (75th from 85th last year), Santa Rosa, Laguna (87th from 100th last year), Bacolod City (89th from 97th last year), and Iloilo (a newcomer in the 92nd place).

Tholons' Services Globalization Index evaluates countries and cities and ranks them based on availability and quality of talent, the level of industry-related activity and organizational support, cost of doing business, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life, among other criteria.

The results indicate that the Philippines, with the help of its fast-growing BPO industry, continues to thrive in becoming one of the biggest leaders in services globalization. And with BPO/techno hubs continuously expanding into the provinces outside of the metro, we can only expect more opportunities and growth areas for digital innovation and transformation to sprout in the coming years.


Taba para sa Bata: Weight Loss Challenge

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Friday, November 16, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Weight Loss Challenge Talk

This initiative aims to feed children while our employees lose weight, and every pound lost is equivalent to a donation match from the CSR budget. The donation will be used to buy food for the children of Childhope Asia in Manila and Rise Above Foundation in Cebu in March 2019.

71 employees are participating in this endeavor and last September 22, to kick-start the program, MicroMissions, in partnership with Chris Everingham – an Elite Performance Manager, Dietitian, and former International Athlete – facilitated an inspirational and motivational talk on not just losing weight but giving oneself the drive to achieve possibilities.

Fitness First, another partner, is sponsoring all Saturdays for gym use for all registered participants starting September 29, 2018, until February 23, 2019. The challenge is for all participants to lose weight to increase the amount of donation, and every weight gained will result in a deduction from the total amount of donation.


MicroSourcing Opens Fourth Office in Eastwood City

by: Maricel Salao

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 | Company News | Comments (0)

MicroSourcing Launches New Office in Eastwood City

To accommodate the number of expansions from the existing clients and new accounts, MicroSourcing recently launched a new site on the 2nd floor of 1880 Building in Eastwood City. The site was officially launched last October 15, attended by the Mancom members, clients, and management staff. The site has over 600 seats, enough to accommodate current and future growth.

Apart from accommodating client growth, MicroSourcing also considered staff feedback when designing the new site. We have created a bigger pantry area that can serve as a venue for site events. The lounge area at the back of the pantry can serve as an avenue for informal meetings, birthday celebrations, and other team engagement activities. We have also added two training rooms with collapsible wall to accommodate bigger training classes and can also be used for engagement activities.

Since we promote a healthy lifestyle and work-life integration, we have also added a shower room for those who would like to bike to work and do some exercise before they start their shift. A nap room is also available for the staff to take a short nap during their breaks. A PlayStation 4 and a videoke machine are also available for employees to use during breaks or company activities.

Overall, the new site is designed to be a place that inspires our employees to work hard and enjoy the company of their colleagues.

In the age of automation, many companies in the IT-BPO industry are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to cut operational costs. The emergence of AI and the increase in the kinds of work processes that automated systems can handle is a clear threat to the Philippine BPO industry, which is currently largely reliant on relatively simple tasks. However, the Philippine government has found a solution to help BPO workers keep their jobs while also taking advantage of technological innovations.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with the help of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and tech company AI Pros, plan to train BPO workers on the use of Augmented Intelligence (AI2). AI2 refers to the use of IT in enhancing human intelligence.

"Instead of AI replacing jobs in the IT-BPO industry, which is estimated to affect half of the 1.3 million jobs in the sector, the workers will be trained to make use of AI2-enabled systems," said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. According to Lopez, this training is a way to take advantage of the AI system as a solution to the so-called threats that it may bring.

"We are the first country to launch this kind of initiative. Instead of looking at AI as a threat to the BPO industry, the Duterte administration is using AI2 to provide more opportunities for inclusive growth," Lopez added.

DTI anticipates AI2 to improve the competencies of BPO workers and targets 482,000 unskilled workers to learn to do low-skilled work, 525,000 low-skilled workers to learn mid-skilled work, and 309,000 mid-skilled workers to become eligible for high-level jobs.

To elaborate, AI2-enabled systems still need humans to operate them. Data-driven technologies can process data and suggest predictions and patterns faster, but these are based off of algorithms that were programmed into the system by a person. As the term "augmented intelligence" suggests, these systems are not meant to replace humans, but rather to augment their intelligence so they can be more efficient in their jobs.

In the BPO industry, data processing and analytics will be one of the fields that will be affected by the AI threat. There are technologies now that can perform in-depth data mining, eliminating the need for data entry professionals. To help them stay in the workforce, the AI2 training program will upskill data entry professionals to handle more complex tasks such as creating strategies and drawing conclusions from the trends and patterns identified by the systems from the data.

Customer service agents can also benefit from the AI2 training program. Augmented intelligence platforms have the ability to provide insights into customer behavior and can predict their needs. The workers will be trained to understand these insights and determine the appropriate actions to deliver according to customer expectations.

In digital marketing, we've been encountering AI2-enabled algorithms every day. Researchers and marketers make use of internet algorithms to study each individual's online activity. The information will then be used to improve products and services and come up with creative advertisements that will reach the right audience at the right time.

Acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said that the training program is part of the "Philippine AI Workforce" brand campaign, which aims to open more job opportunities to Filipinos as well as to extend the development outside the metro.

"We will train and enable our workforce, regardless of their background and experience, to use AI2 to perform smarter and complete difficult tasks, and help them move up the value chain," Lopez said. He also confirmed that this initiative is also open to non-BPO workers, so every Filipino can learn to work with AI and advance in their respective fields.



Back-to-School Project: HOPE Mini Library Turnover Ceremony

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Just in time for the start of the school year, MicroSourcing Philippines, through MicroMissions, partnered with Generation HOPE in providing a mini library for the Grade 1 students of the Imus Pilot Elementary School in Cavite. Over 100 children's books were donated to extend learning and help with developing the reading abilities of the kids. Mats, pillows, and educational children’s toys were also provided.

The school's principal advocates literacy through reading and the mini library is one step towards improving the Grade 1 students' reading and comprehension skills.

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