Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Thursday, January 12, 2006

IT school STI to enter call center business

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

INFORMATION technology school STI is set to enter the call center business, as it partners with call center solutions provider Five9 and John F. Kennedy (JFK) Center Foundation Philippines, an official told INQ7.net.

STI will enter a deal with JFK Center Foundation Philippines and Five9 this week, which will establish 400 to 500 small to medium-sized call centers that will generate additional 88,000 jobs by 2008, on top of the current 100,000 jobs.

Under the deal, Five 9 will provide the technology, while JFK Center Foundation will offer the training. STI, on the other hand, will provide the infrastructure and manpower.

"We will test pilot this in our main office in Makati. The idea is to operate this call center at night using our computer labs. Eventually, the STI-trained graduates will run this center," said Restituto Bundoc, STI head of public affairs, said in an interview.

STI chairman Monico Jacob said in a statement that STI intends to take advantage of its network of 120 schools nationwide.

Jacob said that the school will establish call centers in STI facilities, with a minimum of 50 seats each.

He said this will be part of its "enrollment -to-employment" vision the company has been espousing.

"We are confident that through this partnership, we can contribute to the achievement of the government's goal of generating 10 million jobs by 2010," he said.

Initially, some 80 STI campuses will be transformed into call centers by night. Eventually, the STI will establish a separate strategic business unit to handle the call center operations of the school.

At present, only 2.89 percent or less than three out of every 100 fresh college graduates are hired in the business process outsourcing (BPO) – contact center industry (BPO-CC) each year, raising concern that the Philippines would not be able to sustain the growth of the 10 billion dollar sector with the dearth of qualified Filipino agents.

JFK Center Foundation seeks to revolutionize the BPO-CC industry in the country through the development of centers of excellence and is working with educational institutions such as STI.

Five9 is an international call center solutions provider that has chosen the Philippines as the site of its regional headquarters in Southeast Asia. In 2005, the company introduced its award-winning Five9 Virtual Contact Center (VCC), a revolutionary technology that allows small organizations to start a call center with minimal capital.

Former Presidential Management Staff head and now Ambassador to Greece Rigoberto Tiglao, who used to head the government's jobs generation program, will witness the formal signing of the deal this week.


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