Business Times

SL can one day earn 15% of GDP from BPOs

Although a late entrant to the area of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Sri Lanka can one day earn as much as 15% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), conservatively, from this sector; according to Sanjeev Shukla, Head of Global Operations for US-base BPO Certification Institute (BCI).

This can only be achieved in this "complex business" if Sri Lanka learns from early errors of countries such as India and "get it right the first time". Especially as the industry has a memory like that of an elephant, with many large companies losing substantial contracts due to minor mistakes.

In learning from India's early oversights, such as needs for a national BPO policy, for a concerted initiative to replenish BPO industry talent and to focus on an area in the BPO sector akin to its core competencies; Sri Lanka should get into an area of the BPO space which is more mind oriented than voice, more Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). This is particularly important because the country does not have the extent of demographics of India, Vietnam or the Philippines.

Mr. Shukla's comments were made at this week's launch of the Lanka BPO Academy, which is BCI's local partner. Launching with the contention that it is the first internationally certified BPO training institute locally, the organisation will soon be offering 12 training programmes targetting different levels and needs of BPO companies. The organisation also made known its plans "to train fresh talent, associates, team leaders and managers for the BPO industry and develop a pool of at least 1000 pre-trained and internationally credentialed BPO professional talents by 2011-end."

Also speaking at the launch, the President of IT/BPO industry cluster SLASSCOM, Dinesh Saparamadu, noted that between 100,000 and 150,000 professionals would be needed to achieve the industry's stated goal of US$ 1 billion in exports by 2015, from its current level of close to US$ 400 million.

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