Let me explain … Sometime earlier this year someone from the Caribbean industry support agency reached out and explained that a team and different companies would be visiting Germany, also with the objective to meet people interested in Outsourcing to the Caribbean’s.
Alright, hold on … at this point I was not aware of any noteworthy service export industry, but in my defence the Caribbean’s are also super far way from Germany and better known as a great place for beach holiday.
Anyways, with some back and forth, including also people from the GIZ here in Germany I ended up visiting this refreshingly different event in Frankfurt, where about 30 companies from the Caribbean islands (check Wikipedia entry for more details about the Caribbean countries here) were discussing international trade with Europe and Germany, presenting their products, incl. some Rum (no, I couldn’t stay for the tasting) and also talking about the absolutely noteworthy outsourcing sector.
During this event I was chatting also with Sebastian, the Group COO of itelbpo, an IT and BPO services provider in Jamaica and since he lives there and works in the sector in the Caribbean’s I was asking Sebastian to write a little introduction to the Caribbean IT and business process services sector for the Outsourcing Journal. Here is what he wrote:
I am representing as COO a company called “Itelbpo smart solutions“, with its Nearshore headquarters in Montego Bay Jamaica, and additional service delivery centers in Kingston, Freeport Grand Bahamas, Monterrey Mexico, and a sizable onshore Work-At-Home presence in the US which is managed from Orlando FL.
From our perspective as a BPO in the Caribbean, we are keen to present the region in Europe in order to pierce the veil, as it were:
There is a great opportunity for Europe in our region, which may be somewhat untapped simply because from Europe, we are overwhelmingly attractive as a tourist destination – which is great – but there’s a lot more to the region underpinning other industries:
- and stability
Definition is important. The reality is that the Caribbean is an extraordinary tapestry of variety and diversity. There’s many ways to slice and dice it, and to interpret it.
If you’re in North America, that’s easy: it’s Nearshore.
If you’re in Europe, it’s also easy: it’s Nearshore. You leave in the morning. You get there in the afternoon. The way back is a little different, but you don’t notice because you’re fast asleep. You leave in the evening, you get there for breakfast.
The truth is, this region is very open and easily accessible – so why the Caribbean ? because:
- it’s fun
- it’s engaging
- it’s vibrant
- it’s young’s
- it’s very affordable
- it’s stable
- it’s scalable
- and the quality is top notch
The English-speaking Caribbean is native-English speaking, and it is very solid when spoken in a business setting, because it is at the cross-roads of historical British, and contemporary North American educational and business influences.
When you come to the Caribbean, you are dealing with high quality and stability and quality in a fantastic setting.
The Caribbean is in Central America and covers an area the size of Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal combined.
The distance from Grand Bahama Island to the far North, to Guyana in the far South is 3,200 km, which is further than the distance from Frankfurt to Cairo.
The population is 44 million, which is similar to that of Spain.
The English-speaking Caribbean is chiefly composed of Jamaica (2.9M), Trinidad (1.5M), Bahamas (400K), Barbados (300K), St Lucia (180K), Grenada (110K), Antigua (80K), Dominica (74K), the ABC islands – the Dutch Caribbean (300K). So about 6M+ or a little over the size of Denmark.
The region is split into 2 main parts. The Northern Caribbean, or the Greater Antilles, and the Eastern Caribbean, or the Lesser Antilles (South).
Jamaica is the 3rd largest English-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere after the US and Canada, it is the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean, and it is followed by Trinidad, the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Lucia.
The Eastern Caribbean comes under the OECS – or the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which means complete freedom of movement and employment between, amongst others, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, and Grenada + Trinidad and Barbados. This means a combined population of 2.3M.
Itelbpo’s approach to the Caribbean is to focus on Jamaica, as its headquarters, and the Bahamas in the North (3.3M), and Saint Lucia in the South, which comprises 2.3M with its environs under the OECS. So a combined labor pool of 5.6M (a little under the size of Bulgaria).
Attributes to these territories:
- Everyone is a native English-speaker.
- BPO industry tenure in these territories is very common.
- A highly trainable, young and aspiring population.
- Familiarity with the North American/European business culture is widespread.
- The BPO industry is viewed as an opportunity of choice and long-term employment.
- Scalability is strong (saturation point under 25% across this segment of the region).
- Attrition remains consistently in single-digits, closer to 5%.
- Price-point remains consistently in the $14 – $15.50 range (EUR 12.70 – EUR 14.05).
- From a BCP perspective, geo-redundancy is highly diverse across the region.
- Access is easy by way of multiple daily flights from North America and Europe.
- Time zones are consistent with North America (CST, EST, AST).
- Standard connectivity technology (MPLS/AVPN/SDWAN) is widespread.
- Primary & secondary education is similar to that of the British curriculum (O-levels, A-levels).
- University campuses are spread across the region (Engineering, Medicine, Law).
- Secondary to Tertiary enrolment estimated 20-25% across the region.
- Unemployment remains consistently high in mainstream islands at a rate of 15%.
The True Differentiators are:
- Outstanding English language delivery
- Stability & low attrition
The non English-speaking Caribbean, including Haiti for French & bilingual (11M), the Dominican Republic or Spanish & bilingual (11M), also represent a strong offering for the BPO sector in the region.
Other territories of the Caribbean, which are not islands, include Guyana Eng. (800) and Surinam Eng./Dutch (600) in South America, and Belize Eng./Sp. (400) in Central America.
And here is why Sebastian and itelbpo are a great choice for this short introduction to the Caribbean outsourcing services industry (about itelbpo for the context):
itelbpo is as good as it gets as a bilingual destination for onshore /nearshore / WAH inbound / outbound / Echat / Social Media / SEO and Google PPC marketing contact center work.
Jamaica is the third largest English-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere, Freeport Grand Bahamas is Ultra Nearshore, Monterrey is Mexico’s center of excellence, Orlando is an industry hub and onshore WAH contributes to a perfect blend of outsourced functionalities.
Clarity, content, stability, flawless customer care and high conversion-driven sales staff, industry tenure, very low attrition, and always an excellent price point, make for the corner stones of our business model.
The company is 7 years old, with 2,500+ staff located across all of our sites. Our senior management is entirely on location, which is excellent for driving day-to-day staff and client interaction. We are very hands-on and quick on path to resolution with everyone across the board. We find that this does a great deal to facilitate program development and effective change control.
Our focus is always on growth and scalability, but most of all it is our company culture which defines us. Our motto is “Quality, Integrity, Reliability, Family”. We strive to be an employer of choice wherever we are in this industry, because our proposition to clients and employees alike is a constant, and it is a long-term one: Happy Employees Make Happy Clients.
In February 2019, HFS named itelbpo in its Front Office Customer Engagement Operations Services Report 2019 as one of 23 top operators in the industry, ranking itelbpo as # 5 for VOC delivery. The HFS report indicates that itelbpo clients appreciate the delivery location flexibility and itelbpo’s reputation as a flexible and accommodating partner. itelbpo’s talent development and culture stands out, as the provider continues to seek educated, motivated talent for higher value interactions.
In February 2019, Frost & Sullivan gave itelbpo the Growth Excellence Leadership Award, Contact Center Outsourcing Services, CENTRAL AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN highlighting itelbpo as an organization that is expanding by Using Targeted Growth Strategies.
Swiss-born, English and German background, native-speaker in English, French and German, British-educated (Middle Eastern and East African Studies), spent the past 27 years in the Caribbean, contributing to the growth of the regional BPO contact center, tourism and airline industries.
Areas of experience include development, sales, operation, implementations, CRM, contact centers, contact center consultancy, airlines, leisure industry air services, and tourism destination management.
Worked with Sandals, Xerox, ACS, e-Services and SITEL Caribbean. Now Group Chief Operating Officer, itelbpo smart solutions, the Caribbean region’s premier independent nearshore call contact center outsourcer.
Note by the editor:
Cover photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on unsplash.com Thank you!
Picture from the event: Deutscher Outsourcing Verband e.V.