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An opportunity worth billions

  • Published at 11:07 am December 20th, 2015
An opportunity worth billions

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Summit Bangladesh 2015, on December 9, organised a double-day dialogue to engage and focus on the industry of immense potential at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka. Multiple sessions were held with renowned speakers from their respective fields, who came together to share their knowledge and experience. They discussed the streamlining of a road-map with proper collaborations and policy support to make the BPO industry worth $ 1 billion by 2021, and contribute prominently towards the GDP growth of the nation’s economy.

The summit was jointly organised by ICT Division and Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (Bacco). Supported by a2i, BPC, EPB, BTRC. In partnership with BASIS, BCS, BWIT, CTO forum, BIJF, FBCCI, ISPAB, e-cab. Gold sponsors were ADN group, genex. Silver sponsors were CISCO, Summit Communications Limited, Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority, Airtel, NRBCbank, Teletalk. IT partner, Aamra. Network partner is [email protected] University activation sponsor was Bikroy.com. Strategic partner for the event was BetterStories Limited.

For those who missed it, here are quick glances at each of the seminars from the first day:

The first session Infrastructural and Operational Readiness took the audience on an insightful journey across Bangladesh’s internal and external strengths, weaknesses and limitations in terms of information technology infrastructure, and the power capability to support it. It explained that while our country indeed has the structure, labour competency and investment capability, it lacks in specific areas such as financial organisation in terms of payment structures to support the BPO industry. However, there have been promises of prospects of uninterrupted power and reach to urban and rural areas alike, to drive the IT sector to heights never reached before. “We now have space through the internet, backed up by consistent electricity and power,” said Fadiah Khan, director at Summit Corporations Limited.

The second session focused on Entrepreneurship and Investment in the BPO Industry, where participants discussed opportunities, challenges and obstacles with advice on how they can be overcome. The respected speakers highlighted the positives and negatives of the industry and pointed out how Bangladesh can be the next best destination for foreign BPO investment. “It is a failure on the part of the entrepreneur if investors are not convinced,” stated K Mahmood Sattar, chairman at RSA Advisory Limited.

The next session was Connecting Startups in Bangladesh: Nurturing the Future, which focused around the prospects of startups in our country and the future of investment in the IT sector. The session comprised of an extensive Q&A session from the audience with the respected speakers, who shared their stories about their own experience. “If someone provides everything for your business, how does that make you an entrepreneur?” asked Russell T Ahmed, senior vice president of BASIS, as he and the other panelists provided helpful advice to new startups, about how connecting startups in Bangladesh will also help potential entrepreneurs with logistics, information and infrastructural support for the BPO industry.

The discussions then moved to the next session Future Challenges of ICT Development and Transformation of the BPO Industry. This took the audience through the practical problems faced in regard to the ICT sector of Bangladesh. The core challenge pointed out was in the education of the masses, and the low communication in English, which can affect the representation of Bangladesh on a global scale.

It was concluded that both the government, via policies, the private sector, and educational and training support, can help eliminate these issues. “Skills sets for the operators are one of the key challenges,” said Asif Ibrahim, chairman of BUILD. “I still see a lack of confidence; you need to have confidence to cater to an international customer. If we can do this, then we can indeed see a bright future.”

The final session was themed The Opportunities of Outsourcing Client Cervices from an IT Perspective, and ended on a rather positive consensus. Security and safety of clients, private individuals and organisations were seen as the major areas of risk in outsourcing business processes, while the advantages pointed out were the cost-effectiveness and ability to concentrate on core competencies. The session ended with participants requesting students to overcome their communication barriers and develop their strengths so that they are able to take complete advantage of outsourcing and its internal benefits. “This is how things go viral: farmers in rural areas have no food to eat but they have a smartphone,” said Raj Mohan V, managing director, CNCData, ending on a note of humor.

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