Aegis, a global outsourcing services company and part of the Essar Group, announced that it has been ranked fourth amongst top business process outsourcing (BPO) players in India, in a recent survey by Dataquest.
The group has recently announced its acquisition plans in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa for the next two years.
Included in this is the recent acquisition of US student loan provider SLM Corp.’s call centre in Texas.
Furthermore, Aegis may close its US $45m purchase of 59% stake in Indian communications services company AGC Networks as early as this week. Earlier this year Essar acquired Avaya’s entire 59.13% stake in AGC Networks earlier known as Avaya Global Connect Ltd., a converged communication solution provider focused on the Indian and Australian markets.
The company sees this as a strategy to get into the systems integration business and offer their customers unified communication and experience management.
Commenting on the key trends to shape the Australian BPO industry over the next 2-3 years, local chief Denice Pitt, President of Aegis Australia said,” The macro-economic environment is getting tougher and there are strong indications the U.S. is heading back into recession. If that occurs the impact will be felt globally and Australia won’t feel the same level of insulation as we did first time around.”
Considering the current state of flux in the Australian political scene she remarked, “Governments can’t continue to provide stimulus so in order for private enterprise to maintain their earnings, cost reduction and cost management, not growth, is likely to become the primary focus for affected organisations. Domestically this will mean some key sectors that have been traditionally reticent to include outsourcing as part of their strategy, may begin to embrace it. Companies will get smarter with their sourcing mix and more will move work to where it’s best serviced for the lowest cost.”
Reflecting upon this change in emphasis of taking layers of expense out of the operating costs for Australian business Ms. Pitt remarked, “Companies are going to keep moving their customers to the web and self help channels in order to service their needs. We may even see other sectors adopt the travel industry approach of charging their customers a premium for using higher cost channels such as voice.”
Looking ahead at the shape of the Australian industry she commented, “In future, sustainably competitive organisations are unlikely to be locked into the old paradigm of outsourcing discrete pieces of work wrapped up in SLAs. Whilst everyone talks about innovation, unfortunately this model leaves little room for it. Organisations will realise a quantum leap in value when they allow themselves to partner with a provider in the development of their overall customer service and operational strategies. The service provider model is very mature now. The next paradigm shift is for vendors like Aegis to become a one-stop solution provider for clients, and we are already working with some key companies on this very model.”
Aegis is certainly growing quickly to the point where it has fast become one of the biggest players in the Australian BPO scene. With this rapid growth comes some pain. Needless to say one of the challenges is find people to man the pumps in a full employment economy. We asked Ms. Pitt about the companies recruitment strategies and what they do make themselves an attractive proposition to a labour pool that is currently spoilt for choice.
“Overall there’s no question that recruitment and talent management is a constant challenge”, she went on to say “One of the many strategies we have in play to address issues like retention is the decentralisation of our operations.”
“Bringing our centres closer to where our employees live has delivered considerable improvements in this area and is also impacting positively on engagement and performance.