Digital transformation has become, especially in the last two years, one of the most critical issues in Colombia and the world. This is how the National Association of Businessmen of Colombia ( Andi ) sees the situation when it points out that only 25 percent of Colombian business organizations had digital transformation strategies before the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the health emergency, however, that figure has recently grown to 60 percent. Consequently, the BPO industry in Colombia is expanding.
According to another report presented at the end of 2021 by Salesforce, today, the interaction of users and customers with business firms is 70 percent digital, while two years ago, it represented 40 percent. Added to this panorama is that Colombia has one of the highest Internet uses in Latin America. According to ProColombia, the country’s citizens spend about ten hours a day per capita.
These are sufficient reasons for various sectors to take advantage of the moment. Business process outsourcing is now one of the main drivers of the economy. Today it contributes 2.8 percent to the national GDP. The BPO industry in Colombia currently employs more than 655,000 people.
According to Ana Karina Quessep Alcove, executive president of the Colombian BPO Association, this industry invested around 2,000 million pesos per month in technology and employee training to manage each digital transformation process. In addition, they consider that a large part of its clients is comprised of the banking and financial services sectors, with a 28 percent share. Beyond this, the telecommunications industry is second with 35 percent. While public services follow with 13 percent, and the health sector comes in fourth place with 10 percent.
The BPO industry in Colombia in figures
The BPO sector, dedicated to outsourcing business processes or contracting commercial activities and functions with external providers, created more than 20,000 jobs during the pandemic. Of these positions, 45 percent were attached to call centers.
Based on figures from the Association, the BPO industry in Colombia, which last year achieved sales of 12 billion Colombian pesos and exports of 1.5 billion dollars, has more than 600 companies in the country. Sixty-five percent of these firms are domestic, while 35 percent are multinationals or “multilatinas.”
For those familiar with the sector, such representativeness in the market requires a robust infrastructure that must be leveraged and replete with technological innovation and digital tools. “Artificial intelligence” (AI) is a vital tool for the industry because it has adapted to digital transformation amid the fourth industrial revolution. These elements are chatbots, new channels that are easy for customers to access (such as WhatsApp), and voice for personalized attention, speech recognition, which personalizes and streamlines the service to the user. In addition to this, it helps the development of proprietary technologies to facilitate all processes supported in the cloud”, adds Quessep Alcove.
More intuitive companies
According to Unisono, a company in the BPO industry in Colombia, one of the significant challenges will be to keep in full evolution to generate connections with clients and create positive user experiences. “Omnichannel, social networks, video assistance, and robotization are other trends in high demand by consumers and digital users. As a result, these services are becoming differentiating elements to improve the customer experience,” said the company’s top executives.
These tools facilitate administrative tasks to provide a superior service to the new digital consumer. These customers have increasingly come to expect immediacy and simplicity in the process. The truth is that care in the BPO industry in Colombia (BPro) has improved with almost immediate information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During the Experience Summit, organized by the BPO Association of Colombia, industry leaders in Colombia made it clear that digital platforms, smartphones, constant connectivity, and a robust interface oriented towards the consumer experience will always be essential. “Technology is required to help companies become more intuitive, anticipate what a customer wants, get to know him, and satisfy his real needs.”
Colombia is strong in the industry
“Many multinationals would like to establish operations in the BPO industry in Colombia. This is because the country offers excellent competitive advantages. Among these are:
- The availability and quality of labor in the main cities.
- A modern infrastructure of five submarine cables and a 550 Gbps connection.
- Competitive prices and strategic location geography, since Colombia is in the middle of five time zones.
- Legal stability.
Likewise, it has diversified location offerings in Bogotá and the departments of Atlántico, Bolívar, Antioquia, Risaralda, Quindío, Caldas, Valle del Cauca, and Santander, among others,” according to Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.