Saturday, May 13, 2006

Offshore Conference Investigates Global Possibilities

An American perspective on offshoring and outsourcing practices at the Offshoring Conference in Cairo in June.

"Companies across North America and Europe should waste no time in investigating offshore opportunities in Africa & the Middle East," says Datamonitor’s Peter Ryan. "There’s treasure to be mined and some of the world’s biggest names are already down there and digging."

Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, General Motors, British American Tobacco (BAT), Vodafone and Pfizer are just a handful of the global super-brands that have established sizeable operations in the region to serve both pan-regional and home markets. The time is ripe for further investigation and this year’s Offshore Customer Management International Conference is the ideal opportunity.

The conference, to be held in Cairo, will be opened by Egypt’s Minister of Communications & Information, Tarek Kamel. Given recent announcements that building the nation’s offshore contact centre and BPO industry will be his Ministry’s number one priority over the coming year, he should have a good deal to say.

Egypt has already taken strong steps to attract inward investment, most recently privatization of Telecom Egypt, and we can expect more to come. Egypt may be the region’s most developed market, but it’s not alone. Peter Ryan, Senior Analyst with Datamonitor, pinpoints the leaders:

Egypt: Egypt’s burgeoning contact centre industry, one of the most scaleable and cost effective in the world, will enjoy one of the most rapid growth profiles in global offshore outsourcing over the next few years. Particularly strong language skills plus high quality IT and engineering capabilities put it out front.

Morocco: Perhaps the most mature of the North African contact centre markets, Morocco has developed a strong niche serving French speaking locations and has considerable experience in the telco, technology, retail and financial services industries.

South Africa:
A tier one location for captive and outsourced operations. Quality standards are high and cultural affinity with the west – particularly in financial services – are a bonus.

Tunisia: A safe pair of hands for French focused back office and administrative work since the 90’s, government investments in industrial locations and technology suggest a planned move towards front office.

The conference recognises that offshore is no longer a nascent activity, but part of the business mainstream for companies across Europe and the US. “In this, the Second Age of Offshore, our delegates look to this conference to keep them ahead of the curve as their global strategies evolve,” says a spokesperson for the conference. “As well as bringing new opportunities to their attention, our speakers and case study presenters will deliver valuable lessons from past and current implementations.”

The conference will appeal most strongly to companies already engaged in offshore but looking for mature and detailed assessments of new developments, hot locations and emerging trends.


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