GBS WORLD NEWS | WEEK 2 | NOVEMBER 2023
The business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT sector in the West African country of Ghana was under the spotlight this week with the facilitation of the 2023 Global Business Services (GBS) Summit. The 3-day event was held at the Accra International Conference Centre and hosted by GIZ Ghana as part of the Ghana Digital Innovation Week. Analysts, industry experts and key speakers highlighted crucial factors for the BPO/IT industry to grow domestically and to garner a share of global business services. Boasting an estimated domestic and international BPO workforce of 19,290 and a B2 English addressable talent pool pf 423,810 (source: GBS World), Ghana was emphasized as being an emerging top choice for outsourced services on the continent.
Over in Australia, there are concerns about increased job loss as remote employees are “ignoring mandates” to move back to in-office work following the COVID-19 pandemic. Iqbal Singh, the founder of financial advisory firm Innovative Consultants, has noted that many of these jobs – such as those in IT, support staff, and finance – can be outsourced to places to other locations and “would cost 10% to 15% of an Australian employee’s salary.”
In AI news, Elon Musk – founder of new AI company xAI, headquartered in California – has announced a new AI bot intended to rival competitors such as ChatGPT. The new AI chatbot technology, named Grōk, is said to be modeled off the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy story. It is being developed to possess a sense of humor, with Musk citing “wit,” “a rebellious streak,” and its ability to answer the “spicy questions” that other AI bots will not, noting that he believes other AI makers are trying to be too “politically correct.”
Cape Town, South Africa was a hive of activity this week with the BPESA GBS | BPO Conference and GBS Alchemy Awards event. Key speakers and panelists included Bonang Mohale, Franco Cotumaccio, James Donovan, Keith Rosmarin, Mark Angus, Pumela Salela, Reshni Singh, Saffron Baggallay and Prof. Johan Steyn, who all noted evolution in the South African GBS/BPO sector. Sub-sectors such as digital and IT outsourcing, finance and accounting (F&A), back-office processing, and alternative legal services (ALS) were highlighted as pivotal areas of growth. Panelists also spoke to important matters in the industry, such as managing burnout, citizen and business responsibility, and provincial value proposition plans, among other pertinent topics.
Also in South Africa, the country’s government has committed $30 million (R569 million) in the financial year to drive the GBS/BPO sector forward. This was announced by Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition, who spoke at the aforementioned BPESA GBS | BPO Conference. The minister highlighted that the sector plays a pivotal role in economic expansion and job creation in the country. Patel encouraged the continuous expansion of the various GBS/BPO subsectors to further drive growth and opportunities.
On the other side of the ocean, the Mexican broader nearshoring sector (including manufacturing and supply chain) has grown exponentially over the last few years, reaching an estimated market value of US$30 billion in the first half of the year. The national president of the Chain of Industry Suppliers in Mexico (CAPIM) noted that Mexico is being looked to by large Asian corporations, with plans to both relocate and expand their operations for increased production. Mexico also has a thriving GBS/BPO sector providing nearshore customer support and sales services to the United States and Canada.
In global news, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market has seen a significant revenue decline. A new study released by payments-infrastructure provider Paddle and venture firm OpenView, found that the SaaS market experienced an 8.4% fall in growth rate in September of this year. The report highlighted key issues that are impacting both public and private companies, and it notes some important methods to better mitigate and manage future declines.