By Yasas Vishuddhi – Abeywickrama*
When we want our house painted, we don’t do it ourselves. We get a skilled worker who is good at it. Don’t we? To me that is outsourcing.
The reason to do this those days and even now is that someone else could do it better because of their specialisation.
We have done that for generations.
Then we saw manufacturing being outsourced. Sri Lanka makes garments for western countries. China does a lot of manufacturing for the rest of the world. The reason? One is specialisation. Not just specialisation but also low wages as well as resources availability.
Human kind is always evolving. Isn’t that what Charles Darwin said? So, after generations of basic outsourcing, we started more sophisticated manufacturing outsourcing and then a new wave of outsourcing emerged, ie Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
If we can outsource manufacturing, why can’t we outsource business work? We should be able to reach better specialisation as well as lower cost by doing it. That was the logic.
A couple of decades later we can say, yes, BPO has proved to be successful. It has achieved its objectives of specialisation and cost effectiveness. But it has achieved a lot more. Why do I say lot more?
Well, just look at India. For a developing country like India, the Outsourcing sector has done so much. So what? I ‘m someone who believes that we can do similar miracles in our country too. Some of it would be economic and some of it would be social. Of course, economic benefits would have an implication on social aspects and vice versa. And it’s not all hunky-dory about outsourcing, there are challenges as well.
Outsourced on Sunday with me will be the place where we look at all these aspects. It’s not going to be a short spell, it’s going to be a long journey. I mean the entire Outsourcing journey for Sri Lanka is long. This series of columns will also walk along to make sure all Sri Lankans get aligned to support this economic revolution as well as benefit from it.
Let me explain the name I’ve chosen for the column.
“Outsourced” in fact reflects the topic that we are going to discuss here, but at the same time it is the title of a popular film. Outsourced is a romantic comedy film directed by John Jeffcoat, released in 2006. Outsourced is a comedy of cross-cultural conflict and romance. A guy in the USA spends his days managing a customer call centre in Seattle until his job along with those of the entire office are outsourced to India.
He has to travel to India to train his new replacement. As he navigates through the chaos of India and an office paralyzed by constant cultural misunderstandings, he yearns to return to home. But it is through his team of strange yet likeable Indian BPO/call centre workers and a charming Indian girl at the office that he realizes that he too has a lot to learn. He soon discovers that being outsourced may be the best thing that ever happened to him.
I felt the social, economic and personal issues that this film brings to light have a lot in common with what I would like to discuss in this forum. Hence the column series gets the name “Outsourced on Sunday with Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama.”
I am not a journalist, but I am a writer. I do write to a few papers and avid readers out there may have seen my writings before. Well if you haven’t or didn’t bother to read before, I hope you would read this time, and enjoy it and also spread the message. That’s my objective. I want to spread the BPO message among all Sri Lankans. It has great economic potential to our country which we shall discuss in this column over the coming Sundays.
Usually introduction (or induction) sessions end abruptly, and this one does too. But I hope you got a vague picture as to what happens here! We will discuss soon about Outsourcing. Now, I am not outsourcing the writing of this column, I will be doing it myself! See you soon!
*The writer is the young voice of the Sri Lankan BPO sector. He is a professional with exposure to the BPO activities mainly in the ICT sector. With working experiences in the USA, UK, Sri Lanka & Australia, and other professional engagements in Malaysia, Singapore and India, he knows what it means by globalisation. He is also The Lanka BPO Academy CEO, A BPO capacity building training organisation in Sri Lanka. CIM Toastmasters kicks off a series of education programmes.