Local SSO companies eyeing KPO sector

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian shared services and outsourcing (SSO) companies have the potential to do well in the knowledge processing outsourcing (KPO) sector.

Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) vice-president of industry development Saifol Bahri Shamlan said the country is well positioned to participate in the KPO sector because its workforce is multiskilled and multilingual.

“This makes it easier for our workforce to be trained for the various global industries and markets,” he said.

Saifol said the sector is one of the key drivers of the local SSO industry which is growing at a rate of 15% annually, and he believes the talent in this area is also growing.

“Highly skilled KPO workers are well paid, and with the help of information and communications technology, these services can be expanded worldwide,” said Saifol.

According to him, there are already local KPO players in the field of aeronautics and DNA studies, with customers worldwide.

Identified as one of the higher value services in the SSO industry, KPO typically involves jobs in R&D and analytics.

According to David Wong, chairman of Outsourcing Malaysia (OM), the country cannot continue to compete at the “cost level” as other SSO countries, because rivals such as India and the Philippines are better positioned to win on that level.

“We need to move away from the cost game to high-value services like KPO. This is a strategic area for us to compete in and MDeC is helping us drive this initiative,” he said during a press conference on the sidelines of the Smart Sourcing Summit here.

More plans

Outsourcing Malaysia — a special interest group in the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry od Malaysia, and MDeC are also working together to make the SSO industry more vibrant. MDeC is caretaker of the nation’s MSC Malaysia initiative to leapfrog the country into a knowledge economy.

Among the goals the two organisations want to achieve is to push the industry into critical mass, help local companies achieve global success, and increase the competency of Malaysian talents in the industry.

Wong said that since the SSO sector has been identified as one of the National Key Economic Areas, OM has been updating the Ministry of Human Resources on steps it has taken to help achieve those goals.

He said some of the plans put in place include strategies to encourage government sectors to outsource certain tasks; ply continuous trade missions to form smart partnerships and learn industry best-practices from global players; as well as identify and close skill gaps between local graduates and the needs of local industry.

Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, who officiated at the event, said the local SSO industry raked in a revenue to the tune of US$1.1bil (RM3.2bil) last year, and is expected to rise to US$1.9bil (RM6.1bil) in 10 years while creating 100,000 jobs in the country.

“It is in the country’s best interest to ensure that the industry is given every help to grow so that it can perform well,” he added.

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