PAKISTAN BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING COMPANIES CAN BE A DIFFERENTIATOR FOR YOU IN TERMS OF QUALITY, EDUCATION, CULTURE, AND COST
Offshore Outsourcing to Pakistan is the value-added key differentiator you should consider when choosing an Asian Outsourcing destination in 2021-2022. Ranked high among the top emerging digital hub destinations by a Kearney 2019 report, Pakistan surpasses well-established Asian outsourcers like India, China, and the Philippines in terms of financial viability. The business world has transcended all boundaries since the pandemic outbreak. The concept of Work from Anywhere has introduced so much competition for skilled resources that strategies like Outsourcing emerge ever brighter as an expedient solution for making your business sustain.
WHY CHOOSE PAKISTAN AS YOUR NEXT OUTSOURCING DESTINATION:
“Do what you do best, and outsource the rest” – Peter F. Drucker
Outsourcing has become a globally accepted best practice that allows businesses to compete with others in the market. As more and more technology emerges to become part of the new normal, teams will have to learn to transition to WFH and back, as and when needed.
Merely considering the ever-expanding IT industry:
The IT Global Outsourcing market segment is projected to reach a revenue of $359,462.8m in 2021 and is predicted to increase at a CAGR of 8.77% by 2026. – Statista
Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey 2020 highlights cost reduction as a top factor for businesses that outsource, especially due to the global recession.
If your business organization has not yet considered business process outsourcing, they are most assuredly missing out on the many vital benefits that outsourcing provides. Pakistan possesses all the elements that make this impressive geography a perfect candidate for outsourcing.
With 69% annual growth, Pakistan is the eighth fastest-growing freelance economy, a hidden gem of Outsourcing, that is emerging as a major business destination of choice. Ironically, the global pandemic has shown a dramatic example of why Pakistan is a source of superior providers of outsourcing capabilities and processes which many Fortune 500, Inc. 500, and other corporate leaders have now found to be an indispensable part of their pandemic operations strategy. These Corporate giants, which have been performing a wide spectrum of business processes in Pakistan for decades, now realize what a proven, reliable locale it is as a major destination to ramp up their BPO processes quickly, efficiently, and reliably in such times as these. Among the many renowned IT companies operating in Pakistan, some examples include Bentley, IBM, VMWare, Arbisoft, Cubix, Netsol, Ovex Technologies, TRG Tech, etc., and other U.S. businesses such as MTBC.
The following are some impressive statistics regarding Pakistan to be considered:
Pakistan’s population was calculated at 223 million in 2021, with nearly 60% youth above eighteen years – Datareportal
The country hosts the third-largest English-speaking population – mapsofworld
The ease of doing business here is scored at 81.9 by the World Bank – PSEB
There are over 61 million internet users across all devices
IT export remittances have increased by a CAGR of 18.85% – propakistani
16 State-of-the-art software technology parks
IT products and services exports to over 120+ countries – MOIT
The Government offers zero income tax on IT exports till June 2025
More than 150 ISO quality standards qualified companies – MOIT
THE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT PAKISTAN’S ENVIRONMENT:
Due to the varying conditions in the country over the years, it has become a common misconception that Pakistan is not a stable environment to conduct business in. To the contrary, the Pakistani populace thrives in any field despite whatever perceived challenges it faces. Thousands of university graduates are available every year to enter the field and as the government promotes such participation by providing many regulations in support of businesses exchanges, it is easier than ever to employ high-quality talent from Pakistan from across the globe. Moreover, Pakistani’s are highly motivated and hardworking. The loyalty that is deeply embedded within the culture ensures their devotion to the organization for whom they provide their services. Unbeknownst to most, the cost of outsourcing to Pakistan is lower than its neighboring countries like India while the work ethic in Pakistan exceeds that of all neighboring Asian nations. Since internet users increase every year, the internet speed, security, and bandwidth are also constantly upgraded to maximum efficiency to ensure Business Continuity.
Getting insights from a seasoned industry entrepreneur can help with making informed decisions when choosing the right partner to offshore. Our correspondent interviewed an industry virtuoso, specifically regarding his experience as one of the first people to invest in Pakistan at a time when others would have been hesitant. What matters when outsourcing to Pakistan is best described in the words of an outsourcing veteran, the CEO of Premier BPO, Mark Briggs, who responded as follows:
When did you first step into the Outsourcing world and was the driving force behind the inception of Premier BPO?
My first engagement in the outsourcing industry was in 1996, as we were building “the Upgrade Corporation of America”, as it was called then, with two other partners. It started as a software upgrade company back when physical products were sent out to people rather than delivering them electronically as is accomplished today. I joined that organization when the Japanese Softbank Conglomerate branch in New York bought part of the company. We grew the company for about two years. The founder, Masayoshi Son, met with us and expressed a desire to move towards internet-based businesses which were the pinnacle of advancement at the time. We sold the company to Onex in Toronto, re-starting as ClientLogic. I headed ClientLogic from 1997 to 2003, growing that organization from 1200 to 12,000 people in those six years, expanding the organization from the UK and America to 14 other countries; including India and the Philippines.
During that time, I had served on the Board of Directors of En Pointe Technologies for nearly 14 years, through which some of my well-known professional colleagues and friends had invested in Back-Office operations in Islamabad. I first visited Pakistan in late 2003 upon the request of an old friend, Bob Din; an exploratory trip which turned into a special visit, where we experienced a “royal welcome.” The government was keen on collaborating with us as one of the first movers in that geography. Therefore, during that exploratory expedition, I had the opportunity to meet with the Nation’s leaders and highest government officials at the time. They wanted us to introduce more opportunity, jobs and cultural harmony to their country and, given all that we had seen and experienced in terms of Pakistan’s capabilities, we shared that feeling. As a direct result of that experience, Premier BPO was formed to make that vision a reality. We had cooperation and assistance from the government and our high-end connections eased a lot of regulations, making our start even more feasible. Long story short; it’s been 18 years since the genesis of that initial venture and Premier BPO is thriving, growing and stronger than ever.
Why was Pakistan your first choice as an outsourcing destination when there were other, more established countries doing it during that time?
There’s a commonality of spirit in the people of Pakistan and the Western hemisphere. I found that people in Pakistan are welcoming and warm. They cherish monotheistic values that are very similar to the best parts of the U.S., portraying a strong concept of right and wrong embedded in their norms and societal upbringing. Having past experience in multiple countries, I found that the people of Pakistan are commerce-friendly and people-centric as opposed to the Indian region; something which wise business leaders highly value when considering customer-facing roles in any organization. The Pakistani people with whom one interfaces are generally specialized in commerce-related skills together with technical skills which is a perfect fit for Outsourcing businesses. We also wanted to choose a destination that allowed us to be an employer of choice, a geography where there was comparatively less outsourcing competition and a populace that would ensure the lowest possible attrition, all ensuring outstanding service. We found that Pakistan checked all these boxes and, even today, while there are tens of thousands of BPOs in India and the Philippines, there are only about 300 international companies with back-office support in Pakistan, less than 70 BPOs in Lahore, the city where our main office is located. And Premier BPO is the leading BPO company in Pakistan.
When Premier BPO began, we were surprised by how highly educated, intellectual, practical and work-oriented the Pakistani people are and that experience has only escalated. Moreover, we have always had an amazingly successful experience in recruiting and hiring the cream of the crop as a first-time outsourcer in the region.
One of the deciding factors in our decision to locate in Pakistan was the government-friendly regulations which were invaluable in establishing outsourcing as a legitimate field of business, especially as compared to other destinations where tax laws are tougher and regulations are becoming more and more stifling. The Pakistan government itself collaborated with us on the most favorable tax abatements at the outset. In contrast to the perceptions of negativity surrounding the country at the time, we found that Pakistan created a superior environment for the outsourcing industry. The people are hospitable, highly educated and highly skilled.
The intentional promotion of our corporate values and objective to be a first-in-class employer reenforced the agents’ desire to stay with us long-term. As we were initially the only game in town, we swiftly gained a valued as a champion of a burgeoning industry, ultimately ensuring that we grew exponentially. Gradually, other organizations started investing and now many global companies are thriving there; however, we had our foundational principles and proven reputation as a superior employer rooted firmly enough early on, so that we still have the competitive edge through time-tested maturity.
The IT game of Pakistan was already in the limelight when you started outsourcing. What were your expectations with Pakistani teams as a first-time Outsourcer?
Our operations managers at that time, Jeff Michel and Pat Sullivan, who were very experienced in the field, went to Pakistan and lived there for a couple of months. Our expectations were high and I’m happy to say our experience and our successes matched that expectation more in Pakistan than in any other part of the world. Premier BPO Management’s primary chunk is comprised of Pakistani citizens, across our multiple geographical outlets. We’ve trained the first ones so that they learned how to navigate the business and we have now moved them all across our different global centers.
In my travels all around the world, I have found that people are essentially the same wherever you go. We may have different customs; but, underneath, we are looking for a way to earn a living for our families in a fulfilling way. We provide that and more for our agents. I have always felt a kinship to the people of Pakistan. I frequently visit Lahore and Islamabad, especially during pleasant months and, when I go there, I enjoy my time. It’s all about the people you work with and, because of the congenial nature of Pakistani’s, we are still flourishing there and planning to continue for several years.
Did you face any difficulty regarding English fluency with Pakistani resources?
What we ask of our Pakistani teams is harder than it is for a typically native English speaker; but, it is good for us and our teams as it makes them global citizens. It is very difficult to converse in a second language all day. I could never spend my day speaking exclusively in Urdu. Like I’ve said, our expectations were high from the beginning, and they’ve remained so this entire time. We’ve populated the company over the years with offspring and connections of highly educated people, a lot more compared to the UK or America, as they were among our network at the time. The English fluency level of our people is better compared to other destinations of the world; we even have members speaking in perfect British or American accents, depending on our client type. Since our talent pool comprises people from University-level educational backgrounds, we’ve had no issues at all.
Do you consider Pakistan to be a strategic differentiator for Premier BPO’s global footprint?
I predicted this a long-time ago, and I think it’s applicable today:
“If we could live in a world where people can bury their political differences, what we do in Pakistan would be one of the best solutions in the world in terms of ‘price paid for performance gotten’.”
There’s a worldwide standard of what any customer/ technical/ processing or outsourcing function should cost. If we can be competitive in doing that- which we already are- then the potential for the company is endless. I think that’s based on the strength of what started in Pakistan. Companies can always pay more to do the same function, but it would be a conscious choice rather than an economic one. There is always political motivation that causes hindrance, but outsourcing remains ubiquitous. It was 18 years ago and is still today.
What do you see in the near future for Premier BPO’s Pakistan operations as an Outsourcing outlet?
We have been in business now for a very long time. We have gone from a no-revenue start-up to where we are today- expanding around the world. Starting with money out of our own pockets, we are still a relatively smaller company; but over time I think we will continue to grow with significantly larger operations in Pakistan. We are operating in over six vertical markets today and are going to expand to more areas of service. The largest sector for Outsourcing has been Finance in the past, which will gravitate towards technology going forward. Companies utilizing technology are early adopters. Typically, many in the West developing technology businesses that actually belong to the Middle East. As they are very comfortable using companies like us to facilitate their services, we have a bright future ahead of us.
What is the hallmark of Premier BPO’s Pakistan team in your expert opinion? Why should anyone choose Pakistan Outsourcing Companies?
In a nutshell, there are some basic points of our business that have remained the prime focus in over thirty years. They consist of four reasons why a company would choose to outsource something, and which makes Pakistan the number one outsourcing destination in the world:
To achieve a work product that’s at least as good or better than what they can achieve themselves; Pakistan sells on that.
It costs less to create the same work product; Pakistan is a leader there because of the massive difference for good wages in Pakistan and the world market.
To make our Clients’ costs variable, varying volume up or down; in Pakistan, we can have a hundred people ready for a project to last a couple of months or long-term in the time of a week or two; that’s possible almost nowhere else in the world.
To lower attrition and reduce turnover; Our Pakistani teams have the best attrition levels, less than 2% annually.
What would like to say on an ending note?
I have a fondness for the people of Pakistan. Because of their nature, the loyalty of the people, the industriousness of businesses, commonality of values and level of education. I’ve spent a long time working with Pakistani’s and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. Over the coming years, we expect to see more opportunity and industry from Premier BPO in Pakistan.
Premier BPO has outsourcing operations established in Pakistan since 2003. We offer customized solutions to all our clients, with our dedicated offshore teams immersing themselves into our client’s culture flawlessly to deliver high-end, process-improved results. If you want to know more about our capabilities regarding Outsourcing to Pakistan, please visit our contact us page.