Shaping Industries across Africa Using Outsourcing Initiatives


Contributed By Innocent Nwani

Africa is experiencing an exponential growth in the emergence of new industriesAnd with these new companies come the need to have efficiency and flexibility maximized in order to thrive. Flexibility is ensured when companies outsource services as they areable to transform fixed costs to variable costs, therefore helping reduce unnecessary investments in assets. With this, companies within industries have the opportunity to grow at a fast pace as they become less constrained by large capital expenditures. 

Outsourcing is not a new management strategy, but has received heightened interest in the past several years as a result of its potential economic and strategic impact. Companies look to outsourcers to provide process efficiencies and economies of scale, as well as continued investment in the latest technology, which can be more effectively cost-justified when spread across multiple organizations.

There has been conversations as to whether outsourcing creates jobs or destroys them.. A simplistic and locally focused perspective will look at outsourcing in isolation and call the movement of jobs from a company to a local outsourcing provider as a loss of jobs. However, to say that a country that allows companies to outsource in order to obtain efficiencies and cost reduction causes job losses appears to be from a naïve and uninformed perspective.

For many companies to survive and continue to employ some people, they need to drive efficiencies and continuously improve their ways of doing business. Driving efficiencies could result in job losses, whether improvements are done internally or by an outsourcing provider.

Most African industries today have adopted outsourcing to be a common initiative for a number of reasons ranging from cost savings, quality and efficiency improvements, toincreased customer satisfaction. More importantly, outsourcing of non-core businesses frees up time and resources for a company, allowing it to focus on its core functions like production, sales and business expansion.

It helps shape industries in Africa through job creation. Outsourcing generated over 20milllion jobs in India in just a few years and could also solve the problem of unemployment in Africa if many industries buy into it. It has the capacity to generate over 500,000 thousand jobs especially via formations of organisations that employ skilled workers ready to be outsourced. Several unemployed individuals especially the youth will have the opportunity to engage in skilled jobs.

One of the companies shaping industries across Africa using outsourcing initiatives is Ison BPO. Today, the company has pioneered the reverse trend in current BPO services by taking “Knowledge to Work”, rather than the economically draining norm of taking work to known knowledge bases, as obtains in other climes. 

By adopting the best practices of India’s BPO industry with the available resource pool in Africa, iSON is charting a whole new pathway in developing Africa’s business ecosystem. The unique approach to service delivery in IT and BPO combines building and managing call and data centre infrastructure, as well as global manpower outsourcing and call centre operations. It helps clients with experience-centric solutions that empower them in enhancing business efficiencies, streamlining operations and reducing cost. It offers enterprise customers systems integration, managed services, BPO and strategic outsourcing solutions using end-to-end Information Technology (IT) services.

An integral part of iSON’s growth is its work ideology; on-shoring as opposed to the more popular but less advantageous offshoring practice. On-shoring as practiced by iSON, is employing and upskilling local capacity to handle the work which is available within the specific country of operation within Africa.

Unlike most BPO and Tech services companies which take work and jobs to IP, iSON has pioneered reversing the trend by taking IP to the work without compromising on world-class quality. As part of its core strategy, the company has invested in developing local systems and empowering local talent to foster a better future for Africa.

iSON as an On-shoring partner in Africa, for Africa is not only dominating the market but redefining business processes and how they are offered and also improving the market, defining its niche, while offering the best of superior services to the end- customers. As such, 99.5% of the iSON workforce comprises nationals in all African footprints, affording the twin benefits of long term employment generation and capacity development. This unique work practice not only accounts for iSON Group’s phenomenal growth since inception in 2011, to become a pace setter in IT and ITes services but also an evolving driver  of employment generation across Africa.

This initiative introduces innovation to African industries. It allows for a new-feel of experience and fresh expertise especially from outsourced personnel who can handle services from a global viewpoint, which in return, boosts sales and profit in.

It provides a form of livelihood for the educated and technologically savvy youths and potentially pushing them into the ranks of the middle class. Host countries also benefit from the transfer of technology, massive job opportunities and contribution to GDP growth. Outsourcing allows the home country to stay competitive globally. 

Innocent Nwani is a communications specialist with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Nigeria.

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