Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Call center agents leave industry despite boom

WHILE the Philippine contact center industry is projected to grow at a faster pace this year than its Asian counterpart, the number of Filipino agents leaving their work is increasing, according to an Asia Pacific research and analyst firm.

In a briefing, Catriona Wallace, Callcentres.net president, said the rise of the contact center industry in the country is an extraordinary period of growth, with seat size set to increase by 23 percent in the next twelve months.

Wallace said the total number of contact center seats in the country is estimated to be 129,000 this year from 105,000 last year.

She attributed the increase in growth to the resilient domestic economy, technology and shift of clients preference to Filipinos from Indian nationals.

Wallace said 53 percent of contact center agents servicing the domestic economy are Filipino, while 47 percent are international.

It its 2008 Asian Contact Centre Industry Benchmarking Report, Callcentres.net said the country’s industry growth is higher than that of Malaysia, which is growing 17 percent; Singapore, 8 percent; Thailand, 15 percent and India, 10 percent.

However, Wallace said the industry must continue to address its human resource challenges as 51 percent of the agents have left the contact center industry, while 49 percent have moved to another contact center.

She said the reasons for leaving the industry are lack of career path, uninteresting work and below industry-rate remuneration.

The Filipino contact center agent receives $3,964 annually, lower than in Thailand with $4,877, Malaysia, $5,199 and Singapore, $16,884. But, higher than in China, $2,539 and India, $2,862.

Don Lee, director of Asia Pacific, Autonomy etalk, said the high levels of employee turnover can have a devastating effect on all aspects of customer service, disrupting operations and decreasing customer satisfaction, as well as increased costs for new high training.

But Wallace said, “We are seeing some improvement in agent tenure in the Philippines, with the average time an agent remains working in center now being 22 months, up from 18 months in 2007.”

The research was sponsored by Autonomy etalk and Genysis, an Alcatel Lucent company. The study interviewed 539 contact centers executives representing 2,488 contact centers. By Darwin G. Amojelar, Manila Times

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

PLDT junks PT&T request for changes in accord

PHILIPPINE Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) on Thursday junked the request of Philippine Telephone & Telegraph Corp. (PT&T) to amend their interconnection agreement.

In a filing with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Fernando M. Sobierra 3rd, PLDT legal counsel said there is no need to amend the interconnection agreement after the regulator issued a circular on interconnection of local exchange carriers in local calling areas.

In December 1995, PLDT and PT&T entered into an interconnection agreement, stating that PT&T shall pay PLDT a terminal fee of P500 per trunk per month as compensation.

PLDT said the reason why PT&T wants to amend their agreement is to prevent the latter’s payment of its dues.

“Basically, PT&T wants to amend paragraph 8.1.2 of the interconnection agreement in order to justify its non-payment of the transport charges as provided therein,” Sobierra said.

PLDT said the amount due from PT&T ending May last year reached P8.4 million, payment of which was due immediately.

“The said memorandum circular does not mean the cancellation of the monthly fixed charged billings by PLDT to PT&T considering that transport charge being collected by PLDT from PT&T represents the net charges for hauling calls between PLDT and PT&T beyond the point of interconnection or from tandem exchanges where the parties are interconnected and inward to the parties respective local network,” Sobierra said.

PLDT said that the rules and regulations issued by the NTC governing interconnection uphold the rights of carriers to remain viable in a healthy competitive environment.

“In this perspective, all interconnected players are mandated to share the cost of facilities not only at the [point of interconnection]. It has been the practice that carriers share the cost of the facilities and pay transport charges,” he said.

PLDT said it has the right to recover transport costs. “The concept of transport charge has been acceptable to industry players as evidenced by existing bilaterally negotiated interconnection agreements.
-- Darwin G. Amojelar

Labels: , ,

Gov’t lacks technical know-how to evaluate ICT bids--exec

By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net
PASIG City, Philippines -- Government lacks the technical capability to evaluate highly sophisticated projects in information and communications technology (ICT), a former government executive admitted.

This was the general concern gathered by Virgilio Pena, former chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), after conducting focused group consultations with government, the private sector and civil society organizations.

Pena is currently a consultant for the “E-governance for Effectiveness and Efficiency” (E3) project of management and technology consulting firm BearingPoint. Bearing Point has won the bid to implement the E3 project under a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency.

Pena agreed there was indeed a need to develop government's capability to evaluate ICT bids to avoid the repeat of deals like the controversial national broadband network (NBN) project.

Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada Jr., the key witness in the ongoing Senate investigation in the controversial NBN project, has testified that deals such as this are often tailor-fit to suppliers who have strong political connections. In most instances, government procurement is often supplier-driven, which means bid specifications often favor one supplier.

Pena said the E3 consultations with the different sectors are part of the initial activities leading to a study that the E3 project is putting together.

Hoping to push the idea of more public-private partnerships in ICT projects in government, the study also intends to produce a set of policy recommendations for e-governance, including those dealing with ICT procurement, the former government executive said.

Among the policy recommendations being studied are possible amendments to the implementing rules and regulations of the Government Procurement Reform Act and the Build-Operate-Transfer law, he said

Labels: , , ,