Moving ‘jobs-to-the people’ rather than ‘people-to-the-jobs’
The leading BPO companies in India today were set up 15-20 years back either as captive “back-offices” of American MNCs or some were third-party IT-services companies that also provided BPO services to these MNCs. As these BPOs grew bigger, they started consolidating their operations in one-or-two large facilities. Due to its ‘scale-at-one’ place model, the BPO industry fostered large scale migration of educated youth from smaller towns to IT-hubs like Gurgaon & Bangalore. Thus the benefits of the so-called ‘Knowledge Economy’ were restricted to those young people who chose to leave their villages and hometowns and migrate to these IT hubs. Those who didn’t continued to be unemployed or underemployed in their hometowns.
Our business model is based on moving “jobs-to-the people” rather than “people-to-the-jobs”. The rural BPO model enables us to offer our services at competitive prices and keep the costs from escalating. Our clients keep their business with us because we keep delivering great quality without going back to them for a price increase at the time of contract renewal. We are able to do so as we hire ‘eager-to-learn’ and ‘hungry-to-earn’ college-educated rural youth at substantially lower salary levels than those in large cities. After we put them through domain-specific trainings lasting between 3-6 months, this young and enthusiastic workforce is equally ready to deliver as the freshly on-boarded recruits in a BPO in a metropolis. And six months later these young folks don’t jump the ship like their urban counterparts… in fact most of them have stayed with us since the day they joined!
This mantra has helped us steadily gain market share and move up the value-chain in one of our main service verticals, Digital Publishing Services. We now hope to implement this for other verticals in the outsourcing business like Financial Services and Insurance to scale-up our venture. The other success factor is that while most rural BPOs stuck to providing low-end services like data-entry and form processing, we chose slowing move up the value chin by offering high-end services like content meta-tagging using XML and web-technologies to cater to the fast-growing and rapidly-evolving digital publishing industry. This has proven to be a great strategy as it has helped us break the mould and move up the curve in this business. Clients also prefer to work with us, because in addition to getting consistent quality at a competitive cost, they feel that by engaging us they too can contribute to a positive social impact. Usually we have seen that clients are more than patient with us when doing the initial pilots or trail runs verses other suppliers who do not have a social impact angle!