The days of fierce competition between India and the Philippines over grabbing the biggest piece of the BPO (business process outsourcing) pie may soon start slowly winding down.

Both countries are settling into their new roles, and should work to “leverage on each other’s strengths”, according to Mohan A. V.K., Executive Vice-President, ExlService Holdings Inc.

ExlService, which clocked nearly Rs. 2,500 crore in revenue last year, is a multi-national BPO firm with a majority of its employees in India.

“The verdict is, of course, that the Philippines has taken a majority of the voice segment. This was actually a blessing in disguise in retrospect as we [the industry] didn’t do voice very well,” Mr. Mohan, who is also the company’s Global Head of Human Resources, said, in a recent interaction with The Hindu .

“Voice calls involved work-shifts, which was a trouble for us as there were security problems. Plus getting the right accent was also an issue. The best thing we can do now is instead of competing, we must leverage each other strengths,” he added.

The overall situation, according to Mr. Mohan, is now “at a sweet-spot”, where India can concentrate on back-office management processes.

Value chain

ExlService, for instance, is focussing on moving up the value chain, and has made a foray into the ‘decision analytics’ and ‘technology’ segments over the last few years, in addition to its pure-play BPO services.

“We are investing very heavily in building our capabilities… we’ve hired nearly 150 people from IITs and IIIms this year. We’re also actively scouting for acquisitions in this space,” he said.

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