Client News

Next Wave Cities: The next big thing in IT-BPO

(Manila, Philippines, December 10, 2012) — While the Philippine IT-BPO industry continues to expand, it acknowledges the crucial role of Next Wave Cities™ (NWC) in enabling and supporting industry growth. Aside from being a rich source of untapped talent, these locations also present attractive options compared with more popular and established IT-BPO hubs such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Clark.

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) have identified around 40 locations that can support the growth momentum of IT-BPO.

According to Gillian Virata, BPAP senior executive director, the NWCs are assessed based on indicators selected by BPAP and DOST-ICTO for a tool called the Next Wave Cities™ Scorecard. Data is updated annually and a report is published on the 10 best cities and municipalities based on the scorecard. In 2010–2011, the top-10 Next Wave Cities™ were, in order: Davao, Sta. Rosa in Laguna, Bacolod, Iloilo, Metro Cavite (Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas), Lipa in Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Malolos in Bulacan, Baguio, and Dumaguete.

Virata adds that talent is a key indicator for a location’s potential to be a credible IT-BPO hub. While Metro Manila produces the greatest number of university graduates, 75 percent or over 350,000 annual graduates come from schools outside Metro Manila. These numbers prompted industry stakeholders to take a second look at potential locations outside of Metro Manila and enhance their potential in attracting global clients and foreign investment.

“The IT-BPO industry is aware that the next wave of growth must involve alternative locations,” Virata said.  “The aim of the NWC program is to help ease the inflationary pressures brought about by concentration of recruitment and office space for IT-BPOs within Metro Manila.” Santa Rosa City in Laguna, for one, may host over 55,000 IT-BPO employees while other locations in Bulacan can host over 40,000 employees. Only 20 percent of potential employees in Santa Rosa City and 3 percent in Bulacan are currently working in IT-BPOs.

The NWC Scorecard is a tool to measure the suitability of a location to host IT-BPO operations. Locations are assessed on the basis of availability of talent and relevant infrastructure, connectivity through fiber-optic of other telecommunications networks, accessibility, cost of related factor inputs, and the business environment including vulnerability to natural disturbances and issues related to security and safety.

Currently included in the NWC Scorecard are 34 cities and municipalities assessed to be collective “metro” areas. Outside of the main hubs and top-10 NWCs, IT-BPO companies can also explore other potential locations such as Iligan, Zamboanga, General Santos, Leyte, Laoag, Bohol, Legazpi City, and other provinces in Central and Southern Luzon. Some host small- to mid-sized homegrown BPO companies.

“There is so much more untapped potential in areas outside Metro Manila. The Next Wave Cities™ are part of the solution in terms of providing talent. They are central to expanding economic growth beyond Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Clark. IT-BPO can make a difference in the lives of the people and these opportunities just need to be made known and available to them,” Virata said.

About the Business Processing Association of the Philippines
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is the enabling 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—the 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.