Bulgaria is number 1 most attractive outsourcing destination in Europe
December 10, 2014
By Xavier Marcenac
For many years now, corporates have been torn between the high costs of outsourcing customer service to European countries, and the low service levels often prevalent in offshore locations. Yet this is changing rapidly, with many companies recognizing South Eastern Europe as a viable location for customer service. Even though Central Europe offers mature industry and highly skilled players at around 50 percent of the cost of Western Europe that cost advantage increases even more in Southeast Europe.
A.T. Kearney released its Global Services Location Index
Indeed, the 2014 AT Kearney Global Services Location Index ranked Bulgaria 1st in Europe and amongst Top 10 worldwide most attractive outsourcing destinations.Bulgaria occupies ninth place by climbing eight places in the prestigious index compared to 2011, when the last survey was done. With its combination of multilingual skills, a highly educated and motivated workforce, and competitive pricing, we can expect to see Bulgaria and other South Eastern European countries like Romania to become an increasingly attractive choice for companies from various industries for outsourcing their customer service and not only.
AT Kearney describes Bulgaria as a home of advanced IT centers servicing both multinationals and local companies. True, Bulgaria offers all needed prerequisites that a company would look for in an outsourcing destination, especially for the IT sector – large talent pool of professionals, educational system with traditions in engineering, experience and successful presence of multinationals in the sector.
Our insights on “Why Bulgaria?”
It should be noted here that Bulgaria now earns the reputation of a first choice not only for global high-tech companies, but also for many e-Commerce & retail, travel & leisure, financial and games companies of the rank Fortune 500 & 1000. I’ll answer the questions “Why?” which you are probably asking yourself right now by sharing a couple of major facts and statistics and I’ll leave one more argument for the end of the post.
So, Bulgaria offers:
– Maturity and robust growth of the BPO and contact center sector with over 22 000 people employed in this industry
– Excellent language skills in all major European languages,which is a major advantage compared to other outsourcing destinations, such as North Africa or Asia. Forty-five percent of the Bulgarian population speaks at least one foreign language and English language is studied by 85% of the student body
– Highly-qualified, well-motivated and flexible labor force – 28% of the population holds university degrees. Very big percentage of the workforce in this industry are students, who are flexible enough and willing to work at different time zones
– Large talent pool with strong aptitude for IT and traditions in the engineering industry
– Cultural proximity to the Western business world in terms of business attitude and ethics
– Geographical proximity to Central and Western Europe and EU member state
A new understanding of outsourcing through Business Process Improvement
The Hackett Group, a leading global strategy and operations consulting firm, believes the next wave of BPO transactions will encompass both “Transform and Shift” and “Shift and Transform” business process outsourcing strategies. This expected change in sourcing strategy will have a profound impact on how strategic sourcing strategies are formulated and executed. While in the past outsourced contact center vendors were simply evaluated on their low-cost ability to provide basic customer service, today they are evaluated on their strategic ability to deliver on the customer journey and add-value to the overall customer experience.
More and more companies began to realize that it is not enough to transfer their processes to a contact center supplier. Contact centers, on their side could no longer limit themselves to operate as mere “suppliers” or “sub-contractors”. Today, they must fully understand the processes of their clients and be able to assess and improve them. The goal is to deliver real economic levers to their clients, acting positively on costs, on the quality and productivity of their work.
What I’m referring to is Business Process Improvement (BPI). This trend will continue to shape the industry and be a driving factor in the evolution of BPO and call center services in the years to come. BPI eliminates any unnecessary processes and procedures, which as a result not only reduces costs, but more importantly allows a business to become faster and much more responsive to its customers and drive revenue growth.
For example, at TELUS International Europe our Transition and Transformation team is the vehicle for delivering value through the application of various measurement and analysis techniques in designing and managing operational processes using recognized process improvement methodologies including Six Sigma. BPI serves as our Total Quality Management (TQM) framework that enables us to deliver excellent, consistent, and predictable results to meet and exceed client expectations.
That said, the presence of a BPI capability will increasingly be factored with high importance in the outsourcing decisions of corporates and as the outsourcing players on the market continue to develop these services it will even more strengthen Bulgaria’s reputation as a preferred outsourcing partner.
Xavier Marcenac is President of TELUS International Europe
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