Industry Profile: Concentrix
Few people have the depth of experience in the outsourcing and customer service industries as Peter Monk, Australian and New Zealand Country Manager for Concentrix. In February last year Concentrix acquired the CRM Outsourcing business from IBM. This has given them three state-of-the-art delivery centres in the region – Brisbane, Auckland and Ballarat. Mark Atterby talks to Peter about his role at Concentrix and what changes he has seen occurring in the industry.
: Prior to the Concentrix acquisition you were in charge of the IBM CRM Outsourcing operations in Australia and New Zealand. How would you describe the move to Concentrix and its impact on the clients?
The move turned Concentrix into a truly global company putting it in the top 3 in the customer experience outsourcing business. More relevant, locally, Concentrix didn’t have any business or capability in Australia and New Zealand. So essentially, a year ago, we were a start-up business in the region. But a start-up with a solid, icon client portfolio and significant delivery capability.
We came into the local market running at full speed. Our client base has been delighted by the move. Prior to the move we came under an umbrella of different service offerings. Concentrix, however, focuses purely on customer experience and the related outsourcing services. This has allowed us to produce some very impressive results for our clients.
MA: In your time at IBM and now Concentrix, what are the biggest changes you have witnessed in the industry in the last five years?
It’s a very mature market here in Australia and New Zealand for BPO and outsourcing services. At least a decade ago, many organisations outsourced locally as well as offshoring, using 3rd party vendors or captive facilities. Early projects were cost driven and very focused on saving money through labour arbitrage.
Clients are now looking to extract the next level of value. Much more of the conversation is about improving the customer experience. The business case still needs to be solid. Cost savings are always a given with any outsourcing project, but equally important are questions like:
- How do I do it?
- Who do I do it with?
- Where do I do it?
Clients want to make sure they are getting the optimal experience for their end customers.
MA: Currently there is a lot of talk about innovation and how the industry and the economy generally need to be based on innovation that drives value. In your opinion what is innovation, how do we encourage it and how do we build it in outsourcing relationships?
Innovation is a hot topic in the industry and something clients are very focused on. At Concentrix we take a very broad view of innovation. People immediately associate innovation with the use of technology i.e. what tools can you bring and workflow processes. Technology innovation is important. But you also need to consider commercial innovation as well as process innovation.
Some of the innovation we are seeing is around things like the commercial construct. I have my clients’ objectives, I have my end customers’ objectives and I have Concentrix’s objectives. How do I arrive at and meet everyone’s objectives? If I can get a commercial construct around business outcome pricing rather than input based pricing that is an example of commercial innovation.
Then there’s process innovation. People used to look at isolated processes and functions. So can you do collections for us? Or can you do technical support?
Process innovation, on the other hand, is where we look at the entire end-to-end business process and how we incorporate that into a relationship, rather than an ‘us and them’ approach where we manage isolated processes and functions.
It’s then about – how do I optimise the entire end-to-end view of the customer experience and the whole customer journey? Commercial and process innovation, provide a different insight in regards to working with a business partner and deciding what activities should be outsourced or managed internally.
MA: In terms of technology and technological innovation what’s your view on RPA (Robotics Process Automation) and the impact it will have on the industry?
It’s a popular buzzword in the industry at the moment. And with any technical buzzword there’s a certain amount of real value mixed in with a certain amount of hype. We need to use it for the right objectives. Outsourcing providers and their clients, to stay ahead of the game, need to continually reinvent themselves and be constantly looking for opportunities to optimise and automate. These types of tools and techniques can be positive enablers.
MA: Social Media, Cloud, big data analytics and mobility are redefining how organisations engage with their customers. How are BPO and outsourcing providers tackling the challenges presented by these trends?
They are major industry and consumer trends. They provide outsourcing providers such as Concentrix with a huge range of opportunities. If we just look at mobility – it forces Omnichannel. Suddenly I have people who are not sitting at a laptop or desktop. They are now on their mobile phone, so they might call in or use live chat or make a video call.
We are now doing video chat support for clients. On their mobile phone customers can view an agent demonstrating a product, or highlighting alternatives or providing technical support. That’s the type of technology the client does not need to replicate internally. They don’t have the economy of scale, the resources or the skills to it themselves economically.
Cloud offers the industry a tremendous opportunity. Businesses are looking for greater agility. They want the ability to do a lot more things much quicker, to scale up and scale down as required. It goes back to the OnDemand days when people want to pay for something or a service when they want to use it and when they don’t need it not to pay.
The opportunity for providers like Concentrix, is to offer clients the ability to flex up and flex down as their business requires it, without having to continually pay a range of fixed costs. With our commercial constructs being more customer focused that ability to be OnDemand, turn us on when you want and turn us off when you don’t, is a huge benefit.
Finally, can you relate the most exciting or interesting moment you have experienced while working in the industry?
Two years ago we opened the Auckland centre. At the time we were planning to create 300 jobs in 3 years. We exceeded that target within a year. The clients that have come with us are delighted with the service and have grown with us. That has really pleased me.
March 31, 2015