Over 90 participants registered for the webinar Explore Bogotá: New Trends and Nearshore Advantages hosted by Transcom on February 18, 2021. This virtual forum and talk show with industry experts and analysts provided the latest insights and perspectives on the nearshore advantages of Bogotá, Colombia. Mark Hillary was one of the participants who attended the webinar and he posted this report below.
By Mark Hillary
I just attended a webinar on “nearshore advantages for 2021” hosted by Transcom. They are about to open a new delivery centre in Bogotá, Colombia, so the focus was on what Colombia offers to BPO generally and especially to companies adopting a nearshoring strategy.
Many executives are taking a look again at nearshoring as they focus on boosting the resilience of their business in 2021 and Colombia has a lot of advantages for the customer experience (CX) market.
The launch webinar featured some great speakers:
- Peter Ryan, Chief Analyst and Principal of Ryan Strategic Advisory
- Mauricio Velasquez, Principal of Velasquez & Company
- Don Berryman, Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer, Transcom
- Juan Hurtado, Managing Director – LATAM, Transcom
The moderator was Mark Angus, CEO, Researcher and Strategist at Knowledge Executive. Mark steered the discussion with the analysts and leaders across a number of areas, but to my mind the most interesting topics they touched on were:
- Resilience: the need to explore new geographies as a risk-reduction and BCP strategy. How nearshoring can be an integral component of this strategy.
- WFH: how working from home has changed CX and how solutions now need to embrace a mix of contact centre and WFH solutions.
- Channels: how customers are using much more self-service and other information before ever reaching a brand and what this means for the contact centre.
- Technology: supporting agents with the systems they need to help customers faster and more accurately.
- Nearshoring: what are the most popular locations in the Caribbean and Central/South America and why?
During the discussion, Peter Ryan said: “Executives are just not prepared to spend 20 hours traveling to visit their BPO supplier after this pandemic. You can get to Bogotá from anywhere in the US in a few hours. India, South Africa, and the Philippines are all an entire day of travel and then jet lag. These offshore locations are no longer as low cost as they used to be, so that advantage has eroded.” He added: “Transport in Bogotá is fantastic – the bus system is excellent and the airport is one of the best in the entire continent. Bogotá is really the capital city of CX.”
Don Berryman focused on new markets when he said: “This isn’t just about opening a new office, we are opening up and improving our access to the entire continent by building this facility in Bogotá. Our clients have shown a great deal of excitement in Colombia and this is where you can find the most experience talent in the whole of Central and South America.” He added: “As Peter said, Bogotá can almost compete with the far-off locations on cost, but the important thing is that it’s accessible – nobody has been able to visit any of those long-haul locations for a year now.”
I got my own question in to Mauricio Velasquez, focusing on what Colombia is specifically offering to the BPO industry. He said: “For the past 12-15 years the government has prioritised investment in building a CX and BPO ecosystem. We have great relationships with companies in the US and we understand business in the US. Our infrastructure, especially in Bogotá is state of the art – for the office and to support WFH. Culturally and economically people here are building great careers in this industry.” He added: “When you come to Colombia, you will have good people looking after you. We put passion into our work.”
Juan Hurtado said: “We are building a hybrid of brick and mortar and work-from-home (WFH). We are not deploying WFH as a response to the pandemic, we have been doing this for over a decade. We have all the processes and tools to build operational excellence in WFH and in the contact centre.” He added: “A decade ago there were 100,000 people working in this industry in Colombia, now that has more than tripled.”
It’s clear that Colombia, and particularly Bogotá, is a great location for nearshoring from the US. Peter Ryan’s most recent Annual BPO Survey listed Colombia as one of the leading locations globally for BPO, so if you missed the webinar then do play it back again – there were some great insights.