While there is no “magic formula” for successfully attracting BPO investment in a Nearshore nation, there are certain key influences that must be considered to improve the chances of success in this essential practice.
One of the most influential aspects on foreign direct investment is the existing BPO ecosystem and the country’s established industry stakeholders, as these tenured actors provide a revealing window for interested parties to learn more about the sector.
While each destination is a bit different in this area, these stakeholders would typically be current BPO providers, educational leaders, talent and recruitment leaders, government leaders, and those in the ecosystem that support and enable success for the investor.
The challenge for investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in Nearshore nations is tapping into this hive of information and applying what they learn into their investment attraction strategies, because this stakeholder buy-in has the potential to transform the entire industry.
A Hands-On Approach to Influencing Investors
As buyers and investors seek more authoritative insights, most will often seek to engage with those within the BPO market in some form or another. The power that these meetings have on influencing investors cannot be overlooked, and should be top of the list for any country serious about BPO.
Influence can manifest in multiple other ways too, whether through information or misinformation sharing, peer-to peer meetings, and, most importantly, through country visits that give investors a chance to ‘touch and feel’ a destination to better grasp its value – this is also the ultimate chance to create opportunities for engagement.
This is why the practice of gaining support from industry stakeholders is an important exercise, as the ability of these people to provide information that is consistent with other sources could hold great sway over an investors’ decision to funnel new funds into the market.
These “give-and-take” exercises will act as the foundations for new support networks, and provide yet another channel for the country in question to deliver its message to a larger base of followers and investors.
Getting Local Stakeholders On Board
Achieving buy-in support from stakeholders requires a well-planned strategy that includes reasonable goals for engaging with the local ecosystem – in simple terms, IPAs should be aiming to foster an open dialogue, enabling the stakeholders to share information about their experiences and insights.
Once the plans are laid, all that’s left is to aim the full power of the group toward making the destination more attractive.
The following goals are some of the best ways to get started with this:
- Establish regular (at least once a quarter) information session gatherings, to provide stakeholders a chance to learn and get on the same page.
- Provide vehicles for those stakeholders to reach back to the group and the IPA on a regular basis, whether through email, in-person visits, or other platforms.
- Ensure that the content shared by ecosystem members is constituent across the board, particularly when it goes out of the country – after all, you don’t want potential investors sharing conflicted information.
The fact is, a better educated industry stakeholder leads to better outcomes for the entire BPO or KPO investment framework.
Developing Trust through High-Value Information and Discussion
Without regular communications with BPO industry stakeholders, inaccurate or bad information can start to develop. This kind of information is so detrimental to the cause because it often takes months or years for the ‘real story’ to arise, meaning that “bad information” is the norm for much too long a time.
One of the key roles of both investment agencies and in-country BPO and IT associations is to keep providing information that is current and accurate. Over time, as has been witnessed in many Nearshore locations, the network of stakeholders begins to draw together, collaborations begin to develop more often, and there is often an overriding sense of teamwork and comradery, meaning that gathering that information becomes a much easier and more reliable process.
Investors will observe this type of collectivism, and, more often than not, find it to be yet another reason to feel confident that the local outsourcing ecosystem is healthy and thriving.
Selecting the Right Information to Share with Investors
To ensure that the right information gets out there, an IPA should call together the country’s industry stakeholders to discuss some of the key strengths that the local economy has in terms of supporting outsourced services.
In particular, the following aspects relate closely to the industry and should be prioritized:
- Educational institutions: If they are graduating qualified individuals who respond well to the training requirements that are typical in knowledge-based, services industries, make this known.
- Attrition Rates: Low rates of attrition mean that the country can provide the stability required of a typical knowledge-oriented provider. Why not compare your attrition rates to other nearby countries to further boost your competitiveness in the region?
- Labor Force: Is there any excess labor supply necessary to support a knowledge-focused enterprise with a desire to scale? How about a willingness of people to train based on aptitude? This kind of info is essential for investors.
Reaching the End Goal
It’s important to keep in mind that investment promotion agencies and stakeholders in any nearshore nation should not feel like they are carrying the burden of keeping channels of communications open with investors – the communications should be a two-way street, and individuals should be made aware that their willingness to commit time and attention to the overall growth of BPO will provide rewards for all.
In order to see those rewards, this buy-in process requires regular attention, strategic goal setting, and careful information sharing in order to ensure the channels of support are built and maintained.