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Career opportunities abound in the IT-BPO industry

Bright future awaits new generation of IT-BPO professionals, say top industry execs

With US$13.4 billion in revenues in 2012 and an impressive compound annual growth rate of 20 percent, the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry is projected to employ 926,000 Filipinos in 2013. Industry experts see demand growing in different IT-BPO sectors, including healthcare information management (HIM) outsourcing, animation, IT and software development, and shared services.

Healthcare BPO
The HIM outsourcing sector offers advancement opportunities for graduates of nursing and allied medical courses. According to the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP), the average workforce growth rate is at 35%.

“There is a lot to look forward to every day. Hospital work can be physically demanding. Here, our job requires analytical thinking and there’s great value in what we do. It is very rewarding to see that medical professionals stay with us because they believe they are part of something good,” said Katheryne Gutierrez, vice president for clinical quality and compliance at MediCall Philippines Inc.“

HIM companies initially specialized in medical transcription, but have expanded to other high-value services such as clinical data management, disease management, revenue cycle management, pharmacy benefits management, electronic medical records, medical claims recovery, insurance processing and quality assurance.

HIMOAP chairman Jeff Williams explained HIM professionals are still very much in tune with actual hospital work. “The work that they do is very clinical in nature. They review X-rays, blood tests, and other medical tests taken from when you are in hospital. We also offer medical outreach programs, where we speak to people over the phone and we give them information and they do guide them.”

About 10,000 Filipinos provide high-value creative services such as flash animation and web design; graphic and art design; mobile application; 3D gaming both for consoles and PC platforms, among others. Grace Dimaranan, president of the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI) and Top Peg Animation and Creative Studio, is known for her trailblazing creative work in animation.

Passionate about the arts since she was in grade school, Dimaranan proves that Filipino animators can make it big even without leaving their homeland. “Our own animation series will help a lot in encouraging more clients to buy Philippine-made content,” she said.

Animation requires knowledge in 2D and 3D design; post-production processes such as in-betweening, clean-up, and digital background development through scanning and pre-composting; color styling; special effects creation; and digital ink and paint application, among others. Top Peg, which has four offices and employs around 50 creative professionals, provides free training under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

IT Outsourcing and Software Development
Many companies forge partnerships with the government and other private sectors for talent development. Ingram Micro, a leading information technology distributor, supports the Service Management Program (SMP) – a joint project of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the Philippine government aiming to teach the Service Management course to select university students. This program also includes an on-the-job training program that will help jumpstart the students’ career in IT.

“The goal of the program is to prepare students and help them succeed in the industry,” said Ofelia Montallana-Orcales, head of  Learning and Development at Ingram Micro. Orcales, who is a volunteer trainer for the SMP, said that this collaborative project between BPAP and the Philippine government is aimed at ensuring that there is a steady supply of qualified talents for the IT-BPO industry.

Shared Services
The Shared Services Organization (SSO) in SunPower Philippines delivers more than customer service. It encompasses logistics, supply and demand planning, customer service, project procurement and design services, order management activities, operations and maintenance, and support functions like business analytics and quality and continuous improvement. Eduardo Moran, general manager of SunPower Philippines SSO, is tasked to manage a team of people in the said departments.

Moran rose from the ranks to become head of the organization. “My focus was to excel at my job. I wasn’t looking for the next promotion. The main goal was to be good at the current job and to always learn more than what your current scope is,” he said.

“There are a lot of opportunities in the shared services industry because of the amount of work coming our way. A good number of promotion opportunities present themselves to the best performers. You can really hone your craft and become a very effective people manager at the same time. You also get global exposure and experience here in the Philippines,” Moran said.

About BPAP
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is the umbrella association for the IT-BPO and GIC (Global In-House Center) industry in the Philippines. BPAP serves as the one-stop information and advocacy gateway for the industry. With approximately 300 industry and support-industry members, including five associations—Animation Council of the Philippines, Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Software Industry Association—BPAP plays a pivotal role in sustaining rapid growth of the IT-BPO and GIC industry by working to ensure an enduring supply of high quality labor, supporting service innovation, and providing country visibility.

BPAP assists investors in setting up operations easily and quickly in the Philippines. Relevant research, introductions to key government and industry officials, and a series of briefings at each step of the investment process ensure a seamless development process. On-going support is provided through a wide variety of initiatives, including programs for HR development, business development, and on-going knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.