Why You Should Choose Egypt Business Process Outsourcing
Thanks to advances in telecommunications technology, outsourcers today have the whole world available to them for their business needs, not just to buy and sell from and to, but also to carry out the various business process activities that every business no doubt needs to do, to offer a finished product or service to its clients.
Developments in telephony, fiber optics, satellite communications and widespread use of the Internet, made Internet-based communication and transfer of data possible, paving the path for carrying voice and data cheaply over long distances, leading to the opening up of outsourcing opportunities from anywhere to anywhere and the development and growth of global outsourcing locations distributed across the world.
But it was not always like this.
As consumer franchises began to grow with rise of peace and prosperity in the Western world, the need for relocating processing activities that were not customer-facing, away from expensive downtown real estate, started being felt, triggering the first stage of outsourcing, when this business looked at options which were not far in physical terms, but where processing could be done in a much more inexpensive manner, and perhaps more efficiently. At this stage, the work was done by another, focused unit of the same business.
With improving technology and increasing acceptance of air travel that cut travel time substantially, and having had experience of outsourced processing, businesses started looking at the next opportunity, of moving processing activities much further into the hinterland, to release greater savings and efficiency, even though most documents would still need to be moved manually.
Competition and margin pressure kept rising. Increasing volumes, comfort with outsourcing and pressures of core business brought professional outsourcing outfits into the picture. Large outsourcers started outsourcing what they considered non-core functions, to professional Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
As communications technology kept improving, it became possible to move data and voice communication lines, at a commercially viable price, to anywhere in the world. Eager to take advantage of labor cost arbitrage, which would more than make up for higher telecommunications cost, large-volume work, like Contact Centers, started being taken offshore, to locations like India and the Philippines.
The footprint has continued to grow to cover many more geographies around the world as modern communications technology has expanded around the world, as well as the promise of Business Process Outsourcing to create jobs in struggling economies.
Of course, some things don’t change. Cost reduction is still an objective. Data-entry work is still being done, perhaps for different businesses and for different requirements.
Even though telecommunication has made it possible for your work to be done from anywhere, the choice of a partner and location continues to be an important business decision.
The rise of Egypt Business Process Outsourcing industry
“Egypt’s foreign language skills, relatively competitive labor costs, and proximity to Europe, AsiaPacific, and the Middle East make it a prime contender to be the next outsourcing hotspot,” Mr. Kamal Nath Ex-Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, had said more than 10 years back, before the Arab Spring.
With continued effort at providing a stable environment for business in the shadow of political turmoil, investment in telecommunications backbone with over 60TBPS cable capacity connecting Egypt to 60+ countries through 13 paths, abundant talent pool of skilled resources, one of the lowest costs of living in the world despite an established civic infrastructure at least in the urban centers, and leading MNCs choosing Egypt as their offshore business processing location, Egypt today is a testimony to the prophetic nature of Mr. Kamal Nath’s words.
Of course, it is never a direct path that takes you to your objectives. Covid-19 has thrown a big spanner into the path of many businesses, including BPO. According to The World Bank, “The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic started in Egypt in March 2020, and has since interrupted a period of macroeconomic stability, characterized by relatively high growth, improved fiscal accounts, and a comfortable level of foreign reserves.”
BPO location – making a choice
Choosing a place for locating a business or service is a normal business decision. As an outsourcer, you need to ensure that the outsourcing decision adds value to the business, like any other decision you take for the business.
With BPO being a global business, while it provides you with plenty of choices, it also makes the decision more complex. What are the factors that might be relevant when you choose a location which will become the primary delivery point for a process that is a part of your business?
It is difficult for a business to make an investment decision based on a certain set of regulations if it has experienced that the rules keep changing on the whim of the person or persons in power. The governance of the country/ location needs to create stability in policy in order that the economic environment can flourish and encourage investment.
Though wracked by political turmoil intermittently, like the Revolution in 2011 that led to long-time rules Mubarak’s resignation and the military junta taking over, eventually yielding to elections that led to the ascension of current President al-Sisi, in recent years Egypt has made efforts to open up the economy. Despite warnings on human rights nosediving, by watchdog organisations, efforts have been made to build new technology zones and improve the internet backbone, which have led to investments in the Egypt BPO sector.
Economics and Business
The economic situation takes cues from the political leadership and perhaps is second only to the political environment when suitability of a location needs to be evaluated. Like the political environment, the economic environment needs to be governed by policies that are stable and transparent for private businesses to get confidence to invest, along with a system of governance considered fair.
Multinational companies and organizations have long relied on Egypt as a hub for IT and business process services and as a gateway to Europe, Africa and the Arabic speaking region. A number of multinationals have been operational in Egypt for many years and continued to operate through the years of the 2011 revolution and the ensuing uncertainty.
The European Outsourcing Association (EOA) announced the shortlisting of Egypt for Outsourcing Destination of the Year in 2016, one of only four countries to make the list. Several special economic and legislative reforms have boosted the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report 2018 and enabled oWorkers to become Egypt BPO providers.
Human resource availability
It is well established that BPO is a people dependent industry and its availability key to success of the industry. Also, because of reasons good and bad, attrition is a feature that the industry has to contend with, requiring a continuous flow of fresh resources.
With a population that is close to a hundred million, an established system of education with an estimated annual outturn of 500,000 graduating students from over 40 universities and 100 other educational institutions, Egypt BPO in uniquely placed to implement projects at scale, something that popular destinations in nearby Eastern Europe struggle with and which are understood to be offered only by India and Philippines at this point.
The cost at which resources become available to Egypt Business Process Outsourcing providers is as important as availability of the resource. If more expensive, are resources also more able that will create value in delivery and offset some of the training costs? In addition, one needs to also factor in the cost to acquire and retain that resource.
A low employee turnover, and a salary cost that is lower than many facilities in India, combined with the well qualified workforce, makes oWorkers in Cairo, Egypt the ideal launchpad for any client planning to outsource.
Telecommunications is the lubricant that has oiled the wheels of the BPO industry and allowed it to expand to the far corners of the world. Egypt BPO industry is no different. Even though it is a given in today’s context, from a business perspective we still need to satisfy ourselves that the available infrastructure will meet business needs.
The government has heavily invested in telecom infrastructure, with the introduction of the 4G technology in mobile services in 2016, and the progressive infrastructure upgrades and deployment of fiber optical cables across the country in an effort to create a positioning of Egypt as a ‘digital canal.’
In mid-2020, Egypt climbed six spots in Ookla’s monthly Speedtest Global Index to rank 91 out of 177 countries in fixed broadband speed with an average download speed of 31.38 mbps. The CIT ministry had said earlier this year it is investing USD 1.6 bn to improve internet speed, with the aim of reaching 40 mbps by the end of 2021, enabling Egypt BPO vendors like oWorkers to connect seamlessly to the rest of the world.
Being in a different (from clients) time zone could be a bane or a boon depending on the context. Being in a time zone with a large difference from the client might enable speedier, overnight processing. On the flip side, requiring staff to work off hours in the BPO center might be a difficult task and also more expensive as ‘off hours’ and ‘overtime pay’ components may kick in.
oWorkers in Egypt is on East European Time (EET), which is UTC + 2 (with the offset for Daylight Savings) and shared with Estonia, Finland, Greece, South Africa, Romania, Bulgaria and several others. It enables daytime coverage of the entire set of clients from anywhere in Europe with an offset of only two hours, as well as the Arab world within a similar range on the other side.
Often, clients want to ‘touch and feel’ the processing center and interact with the people doing their work to ensure it is being done the right way and to instil the values and ethos of the brand in the people who are working for it. Though advances in communication technologies have substantially reduced the need for physical movement, either of people or of artefacts, between the originating and the processing locations, it cannot be said to have been eliminated.
The Egypt BPO facility of oWorkers in Cairo is only a 5 hour flight away from the farthest corners of the European continent will be a comfort for many clients. Lisbon, London and Oslo would perhaps be the farthest which are approximately 5 hours of flying time away.
In some ways, Egypt could be visualized as almost being at the center of the world, with Europe ranged above its Northern limits across the Mediterranean, Africa mostly below its Southern tip, Asia spreading out from its Eastern borders and Americas across the Atlantic on the Western side, making it an ideal destination wherever you are.
Education and Training; Workforce readiness
Human resource evaluation is not just related to availability of manpower and hiring. An equally important aspect is the readiness of the workforce to deliver in a BPO environment that may require not only foundation skills like communication, language and handling computer applications, but also function-specific ones like HR and Accounting and even industry-specific knowledge like Insurance, Banking and Retail. Though BPOs have training programs that enable people to deliver on client projects, the larger the gap, the greater the investment required in skilling. Hence, it is desirable that employees come with basic knowledge and skills.
With close to 50% of the annual outturn of 500,000 fresh graduates from Egypt’s institutions of higher education, companies like oWorkers operating in the Egypt BPO sector, get a head-start as they receive fresh resources already well versed about the industry and its requirements, making their job of indoctrination and training that much simpler as a result of which it also becomes a financially less taxing activity, contributing to the overall value proposition of the location. In fact, the quality of workforce available allows oWorkers to offer ‘higher end of the spectrum’ services like moderation from its Cairo facilities.
Proficiency in language holding the key to communication, being multilingual expands the possibilities of communication. In any case, with global footprints of many businesses, the expectation is that a provider will be able to support, regardless of language.
As per the EGYPT 2.0 OUTSOURCING DESTINATION GUIDE, an independent information guide published by the German Outsourcing Association, apart from the obvious English language graduates, every year there are 5400 graduates whose language of study is French and 3000 whose language of study is German. Graduates whose language of study is either Turkish or Spanish or Italian or Chinese or Russian are also there in significant numbers. Other languages include Siamese, Hebrew, Farsi, Greek, Urdu, Korean, Japanese, African, and Czech. This provides the perfect platform for the Egypt Business Process Outsourcing center of oWorkers to offer multilingual services from.
Infrastructure required for running a business can be of various kinds. Like power, which is the most time-critical resource for a business to run and required for running any sort of equipment, whether it is a PC, or a fan, or lighting, even most of the telecommunications equipment. Adequacy and continuity of power grid power needs to be ascertained. Or local transport, required for not only the business to operate but also employees to commute to and from work when working out of a physical facility.
oWorkers operates from a digitally and physically secure facility in the Maadi area of Cairo. Transport in Cairo comprises an extensive road network, rail system, subway system and maritime services for the more than 15.2 million inhabitants of the city.
oWorkers and Cairo – for the BPO edge
As an Egypt BPO services company, with a management team that has a cumulative experience of over 20 years, with oWorkers you engage a provider that will enable you to get the benefits of working from a center located in the center of the world, within easy reach from any part on any side.
As the main urban center, Cairo benefits from the best infrastructure and civic amenities in the country. Your work enables us to employ more people from underprivileged backgrounds and plug them into the global digital revolution.