Thursday, November 08, 2007

BPO vista set to expand in Kenya


Starting a business venture is a daunting task requiring innovative ideas especially if it has no known related feature or information on risk and opportunities in the wider market.

Business Process Outsourcing and Call Centres are turning to be some of the innovative ways to do business. There are signs that if tapped and well marketed, the industry can create employment and wealth in the country.

“Kenya can take advantage of the rising wage costs in India, the top BPO destination at the moment” said Dr Bitange Ndemo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information.

BPO involves handling of various aspects of a business on behalf of a local or international client using information communication tools such as computers installed with special software, high speed Internet connection and trained personnel who have excellent command of language of trade. Legally, one will get a licence from the telecommunication regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya.

Most local and international companies are turning to outsourcing their non-core functions to concentrate on their core business and reduce the cost of labour.

Call Centre operations differ from data entry as regards the of mode of communication of transactions and the hefty capital.

While Call Centre business is mainly done real time through voice communication, data entry is not and requires less capital expenditure.

In addition to this, in the Call Centre, an investor needs to have qualified staff by training and ability to handle the work. This type of investment also requires larger amount of money but one can either start small or partner with other players who have already invested in infrastructure and also offer training opportunities to the clerks at a fee.

Other than starting big, an investor can opt to start small by first engaging in data entry where the proprietor will require computers and Internet connection though not necessarily high speed and an office space.

Businessmen already doing cyber café business are at a high advantage of maximising on their existing investment. As it is today where most cyber cafe operate only during the day, the premises could be turned into data entry centres at night to maximise the use of the equipment, office space and, as is expected, generate more cash and earn higher profits.