Outsourcing is defined as the turning over of part or all of an activity of a business in another country to an offshore country in order to improve performance and also save on costs. Belize is quickly becoming a rising star in offshore outsourcing being featured in various publications such as Nearshore Americas; defining the sector’s growth trajectory and vitality to socio-economic development.
The advent of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) since 2005, leveraging Belize’s English speaking capabilities, low cost infrastructure, skilled human resources as well as our nearshore time zone advantage; have enabled over sixteen (16) BPO’s to move into this space offering both outbound sales and inbound customer service. Due to rising costs in well-known outsourcing destinations such as India and the Philippines, the region is quickly seeking ways to diversify and specialize in the “niche” area of ICT Innovation including Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO).
According to the HfS Market Index, the market size in global outsourcing is characterized at $952 billion whereas $648 billion is in ITO services and only $304 billion is in BPO (2013). Indeed, Belize is currently being looked at to leverage I.T. Services; however, it is vital that specialized “niche” areas are identified to ensure competitiveness in both price and quality of service. There also needs to be the building of credibility and trust towards external clients sourcing our services.
In order to address the above and to test Belize’s I.T. capabilities, Mr. David Ahuja, a Belizean in the U.S. who currently works in the field of Business Intelligence & Analytics at the Procter & Gamble Company, has partnered with BELTRAIDE to launch a mini competition among I.T. students at the University of Belize, Belmopan.
On February 5th, 2014, a group of I.T. students were given a presentation on the opportunities in I.T. Outsourcing for Belize. They were presented the challenge and eleven (11) students volunteered to attempt the project. It was requested that the project be completed within three days in order to be effective. Submissions of the completed project were made by the students electronically and a winner was selected. Congratulations are in order for the winning student of BZD $100.00, Mr. Arthur Taylor, a primary school teacher for the past eight (8) years and a current student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Math Education at the University of Belize.
BELTRAIDE caught up with Arthur Taylor who noted:
“When the problem was first introduced, I was at first disappointed as I thought it was simply data entry. The initial instructions seemed like they were already accomplished; however, I then noticed that the PowerPoint of data was incomplete. I began to take the data and notice patterns to interpret them as best I could. The graphs then began telling a story.”
Arthur expressed that he is humbled to have played a part and representing Belize in something grand to benefit our country in the I.T. Outsourcing space. David also gave his perspective on the competition:
“The intent was to give students a challenge to accomplish a real Business Intelligence project that is currently being outsourced. My goal was to see how the students would perform and the quality of results outputted. The winning student demonstrated great problem solving skills and a talent for analytics.”
This competition has proven that technology has created a flat world through ICT enabling “people in Honduras, Barbados, and other Central American and Caribbean countries, to be able to provide I.T. services to the U.S. and other countries, so why not Belize?” David expressed that Belize can play a big role to participate in the growing I.T. outsourcing (ITO) economy, which is why Belize needs to prepare students with advanced degrees to be competitive in this rapidly expanding technological marketplace. He also plans to run additional larger scale pilot studies to learn and develop case studies for ITO development in Belize.