As ICCCE 2013 opens today Cebu takes the spotlight
Joefel Ortega Banzon (The Freeman) - August 28, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Now on its ninth run, the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) decided to bring the world’s largest contact center conference and expo to Cebu for the first time, Cebu being the next big thing for the industry after Manila.

Today, Cebu, which is a major hub for contact centers and ranked among the Top 10 in Tholon’s Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report, will play host to the 2013 International Contact Center Conference & Expo(ICCCE).

With the theme “Where the World Meets the Philippines,” 75 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and around 1,500 local and foreign contact center professionals will converge at the conference slated on August 28-30 at Shangri-La’s Mactan and Radisson Blu in Cebu City.

The international conference is produced by CCAP in partnership with the local government units of Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

To showcase Cebu

CCAP executive director Jojo Uligan said, in a briefing with Cebu journalists, that they decided to hold this year’s ICCCE in Cebu because they want to showcase Cebu stressing that “Cebu, being a matured location, we need to highlight what Cebu has to offer.”

“We decided to do it here to showcase the opportunities in Cebu, and with us are CEOs of our member companies and a good chunk of them don’t have operations here in Cebu,” Uligan said.

He added that this will be a good chance for these CEOs to be aware of how large the BPO operation is in Cebu.

“We also want to showcase the infrastructure and that aside from the talent, here in Cebu you can do both business and leisure,” he said, “we know that there are opportunities but what else can we do in Cebu? ”

Uligan further said that aside from talent, the services offered in the industry is growing so they need to be updated as clients’ requirements are also growing, citing the question “can we cope up with that demand?”

Aside from showcasing Cebu’s talents and opportunities, Uligan said that there is a need to identify the niche market of Cebu, identify where Cebu is doing good, something that can be honestly claimed as a niche that is uniquely Cebu.

Industry Growth

The conference also aims to present a data on how the industry is behaving in terms of growth rate as well as projections on how the industry will be like at the end of 2013.

Uligan said the association conducts a survey to its members twice a year, during the first six months of the year and at the end of the year.

“The twice a year survey is more to calibrate at the same time testing our projection. There’s a huge difference between what happened in 2012 to 2013. There are interesting figures as to how the industry is behaving in terms of our growth rate but our projection is still going up. I’m sure that it’s not going down but then again we need to re-study our data because a lot of people will be following and looking at our projection,” he said.

Uligan then gave a rough estimate of the industry’s growth of 15% to 20% on talent and 10% to 15% on revenue but made it clear that they maintain a modest projection compared to the actual growth of the industry.

Ripple Effect

The contact center industry, which has emerged as a powerful economic driver of the country has created a ripple effect in various aspects. The industry roughly spends around P2.5 billion on goods and services.

As of 2012, the contact center industry has employed over 500,000 Filipinos, which is a huge leap from the 2,500 BPO workers recorded in 2001.

Export growth likewise increased by 7.6%, amounting to $51.99 billion.

And despite the declining telephony spending in the global market due to recession in the world’s biggest economies, the telecom business in the Philippines still managed to post an $8 million growth last year.

Furthermore, because the contact center sector generates demand for office spaces and buildings, it translated to upbeat growth in the real estate sector.

And most importantly, the night economy generated by the industry paved way for the rise of small businesses. Fastfood outlets, 24/7 stores, restaurants and convenience stores started sprouting near BPO offices and buildings.

Uligan added that even the “Manong” and “Manang” selling packed food near contact center offices are reaping good profit from contact center employees.

Apart from the demand for food outlets, the rising employment population likewise generated a huge demand for transport services.

Challenges

However, amid its upbeat growth, the contact center industry is still faced with the same challenge, the shortage of talent.

Uligan said although the industry considers the cost of doing business, foreign exchange, infrastructure, power rates, and internet connectivity as the challenges that the industry needs to address, their major concern now lies on talent shortage.

He said it is an issue that has been hounding the industry from way back 10 to 11 years ago until the present stressing that “it is a major concern as we cannot grow if we don’t have the necessary skills that the industry needs.”

To address this, he said CCAP has tapped the academe for the inclusion of course units in the Service Management program in the country’s key state universities. The program started early this year.

Last year, CCAP also launched a scholarship program, in partnership with the Office of the President through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), wherein with a grant of P224 million, the association was able to provide trainings to 44,209 scholars, of which 73% were employed after the program.

With the success of the scholarship program, CCAP now waits for fresh funding from the government to implement the same program. CCAP will also be launching new set of scholars at the conference today. (FREEMAN)

CCAP CEBU CEBU CITY CEBU CITY AND LAPU-LAPU CITY CENTER CONTACT GROWTH INDUSTRY ULIGAN YEAR
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