Bacolod City is eyed by leaders of the local information technology (IT) sector to follow Cebu City as one of the country's hubs of knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).
According to Joey Bondoc, research manager of Colliers International, a global real estate services company, "KPO companies offer higher value outsourcing services such as medical transcription or health information management (HIM), software engineering, and finance and accounting."
Colliers reported that outside Metro Manila, Cebu remains to be the largest and most practical choice for KPO firms due to its diverse and skilled labor pool.
Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, executive director of Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNeFIT), expressed that Bacolod City is primed for these high-value KPO services, especially HIM and software development.
"After having been declared as Center of Excellence for business process outsourcing (BPO) especially in contact center services in 2013, BNeFIT, in collaboration with the city and provincial governments has developed strategies to target three high-value areas: HIM, software development and creative processes like game development and animation," Batapa-Sigue said.
Road to Knowledge Process Outsourcing
She cited five important points in order for the city to become a fully-realized KPO key city.
- A solid marketing program. As per Batapa-Sigue, most investment leaders concentrate all marketing efforts on Manila. She believes that it’s about time these leaders consult with local stakeholders and carefully plan marketing strategies that accurately understands and capitalizes the strengths and talents of each city in the countryside.
- Reinforced incentives. "We also need to beef up our roster of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for information and communications technology (ICT) companies." Incentives to ICT companies within the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) that are at or above par with other countries will help jobs and investments to grow steadily.
- Industry-specific certifications and training. Batapa-Sigue suggests that the national and local government should offer incentives that would encourage companies to improve and strengthen their industry-calibrated certification and training programs.
- Early development of creative and critical thinking skills. Batapa-Sigue also suggests that BNeFIT and the industry should collaborate with K-12 educators to hone the students’ creative and critical thinking skills at an early age.
- e-Readiness. One of the top priorities in promoting the progress of KPO in the countryside is to scale up e-Readiness. Bacolod City should make efforts in improving its efficiency in service delivery through the integration of ICT and data analytics, among many other new technologies.