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Outsourcing News for January 2019 | MicroSourcing

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.