Ever wonder how the globe’s top tier BPO players – organizations like Sitel, Teleperformance, Convergys, Genpact and others – go about deciding when a country is ripe for investment?
The CALA region (Caribbean and Latin America) is chock full of interesting options – ranging from the well established hubs like Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Colombia and Costa Rica to a new set of tigers that are determined to make their mark – such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.
We caught up recently with Kim Facer – the top guy at Sitel who scouts the world looking for the next right home for the Sitel shingle. Hear what Kim has to say about saturation (“a real threat”), his bullishness on Central America and why “the sun sets on every market” in our interview, by clicking here.
You have a very interesting job – how did you end up in this position?
I was managing another company’s real estate portfolio when I found out about the position at Sitel. Discussions began in 2007, about the time of the Client Logic/Sitel marriage. The growth had prompted the new company to look for someone to establish global processes and procedures around development, facilities, construction and real estate strategy.
The sun will eventually set on every market. Most sophisticated economic development agencies recognize this maturation process as reality and plan accordingly as the market changes
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
The global nature of Sitel provides an added measure of difficulty and excitement to an already challenging position. Working with global partners and the attendant language, culture, time zone and political environment is both challenging and fun.
There are lots of research reports, advisory surveys and other analyses of various countries in the CALA region. How do you distinguish whether these reports are any good, and how useful are they in helping you to understand a particular market?
We take a look at a lot of data as we evaluate both our position in a current market and the potential of a new market. We usually cross reference several sources and compare them with data from the the local EDC. The data is a starting point and directional as we dig deeper and ultimately put our “feet on the street” as we work to get comfortable with our decisions.
How much data do you gather on the ground, and what are your typical sources for reliable information?
We gather a lot of information on the ground. The best source of information is to validate the harvesting of the data first hand. As we contemplate spending millions of dollars on behalf of our employees, shareholders and customers, we have to be right.
Scalability is cited as a common concern during site selection – as the Nearshore becomes more popular is there a higher risk of landing in markets that will become oversaturated?
Saturation is a real threat to our business model. Each market develops and ultimately matures. We seek early market entrance in an effort to ride the productivity curve and partner with the local municipality for as long as possible. To re-use an over-used phrase, the relationship is very symbiotic. The sun will eventually set on every market. Most sophisticated economic development agencies recognize this maturation process as reality and plan accordingly as the market changes.
Are there aspects, or attractions of Latin America that you don’t seem to find anywhere else in the world?
Latin America, specifically Central America, offers two very significant combined advantages that are difficult to find elsewhere: 1) proximity to the US and 2) a cultural affinity with the US. These two combined factors make Central America a very attractive proposition.