The Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO), together with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), launched the 2012–2016 Philippine Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) Road Map and the 2012 Top Ten Next Wave Cities™ Awards in an event held in May 20, 2013.

nwc

The event reinforced government’s continuing support to the country’s information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry, through the pursuit of the ICTO’s mandate in developing the ICT industry. In his Keynote Address, DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo conveyed that “The Philippines is a global leader in voice and non-voice, complex services,” said DOST Secretary Mario Montejo conveyed that “the government will continue to drive initiatives and support strategies to help accelerate the country’s leadership in the global IT-BPM industry. We will provide an enabling environment where the industry could continue to be competitive.”  With the theme “Driving Global Leadership: The Next Wave,” the event was attended by the key stakeholders from the government and private sector. It was an opportunity to recognize the hard work that both sectors have contributed towards achieving the country’s leadership in the IT-BPM industry, and how this has also catalyzed the development of the industry in the Next Wave Cities.

The industry’s response to the demands of the global IT-BPM industry is pronounced in the 2012-2016 Philippine IT-BPM Road Map. The study, published by the DOST-ICTO, IBPAP, and TeamAsia, assesses the current state of the industry and affirms its potential to meet its targets of $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million employees by 2016. On the part of the DOST-ICTO, Secretary affirmed that they will continue to push for the development of the IT-BPM high growth segments such as healthcare information management, finance and accounting and insurance, human resources, creative process that includes animation and games development, information technology outsourcing, engineering services, multilingual BPM, and voice BPM.” He further recognized that the study defines the roles of the industry and the government in accelerating the country’s global leadership position, and that the DOST-ICTO will continue to work with IBPAP and other stakeholders across the areas of policy formulation, program coordination and project implementation in the areas of talent development, marketing and branding, industry capability and ecosystem, and research. Meantime, Undersecretary Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, DOST-ICTO’s Executive Director, added that, “Through the years, the IT-BPM industry has diversified significantly in breadth, scale, and maturity of services. If the industry achieves its 2016 targets, it will account for about 8 percent of the country’s GDP, making it the nation’s second-largest source of foreign exchange.”

On the part of IBPAP, its President and CEO Jose Mari Mercado stated that this road map is a way to aims to increase the country’s share in outsourcing services, and that “through it, we hope to continue to sustain our growth as well as assess relevant trends that can benefit further industry expansion.” Meanwhile, according to Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, President of TeamAsia, noted that “as demand for existing and emerging services expands, maintaining the Philippines’ leadership and industry expansion will require a multisectoral approach. Creating more avenues for industry public-private partnerships can effectively maximize the potential of our IT-BPM industry and further support its growth.”

Road Map 2012–2016 details the role of IBPAP in talent, ecosystem, country branding, thought leadership, and innovation. It also discusses the role of government in accelerating global leadership, setting directions, and developing key and strategic initiatives in talent, marketing and branding, ecosystem, and research. The same report also noted that Gartner forecasts a 5.5 percent compound annual growth through 2016. However, the Everest Group and Outsource2Philippines forecast that the Philippines will grow faster than the global market at 20 percent year-on-year, at least in the mid-term. Over the last decade, the growth of the Philippine industry IT-BPM industry has outpaced the global offshore services market.

Another highlight of the event was the announcement of the 2012-2013 Top Ten Next Wave Cities™. This Program, another public-private partnership in the IT-BPM industry, provides a framework that enables the growth and development of the IT-BPM industry in identified cities and provinces around the country. The event recognized cities that have achieved the highest scores in the industry scorecard, across the areas of talent, cost, infrastructure, business environment and risk management (BERM). The Next Wave Cities™ Program has been the ICTO’s and IBPAP’s flagship program since 2007. This year marks the third time both organizations have recognized Top Ten Next Wave Cities™; the first time was in 2009, where Sta. Rosa, Laguna topped the ranking, and in 2011-2012, where Davao ranked #1. The Program has also gained momentum at the grassroots level, in that support from the local stakeholders, particularly the ICT councils, is very active.

Industry nevertheless needs to drive the development by helping local and international investors make location decisions. “We view this as an essential contribution to making national economic growth and job generation inclusive by spreading it from established to emerging IT-BPM hubs,” Mercado said.  “All these locations only show that the Philippines has proven its capability to attract and host major IT-BPM clients. If their local ICT councils and the local government units continue to work together, we are confident that the industry’s next wave of growth will happen in these cities.” On his part, Secretary Montejo himself has seen the growth and development in these Next Wave Cities, noting how these cities are able to provide employment, and serve as a model for other cities as emerging locations with a lot of potential for ICT investments. The DOST-ICTO, according to Undersecretary Casambre, will continue to provide the support needed to continue the growth in these cities, and enable more to become globally-competitive.

A fourth city has been elevated to the status of Center of Excellence (COE) for IT-BPM operations, joining the ranks of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Clark. Dubbed as the “City of Smiles,” Bacolod City is this new COE, which has been consistently on the top ten NWC list for three years. In the 2010‒2011 Next Wave Cities™ report, IT-BPM jobs in Bacolod City have increased by 68 percent in the past three years, creating over 12,000 employment opportunities in 2010 from only 2,154 in 2007. Local stakeholders, led by the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT), have also been aggressively marketing Bacolod City to large global companies and sustaining hosted operations.

Another milestone in the Next Wave Cities™ Program is recognizing best locations in talent, infrastructure, and BERM. Metro Cavite received the top score (99 percent) for talent availability with 17,000 graduates within the area covered, a workforce of over 1.2 million (of which 47 percent are professionals), two programs with CHED-certified Centers of Excellence (COEs) and Centers of Development (CODs), and 95 percent of its absorptive capacity still available for locators.

For infrastructure, Metro Laoag scored a perfect 100 percent after DOST-ICTO and IBPAP considered its quality of roads, availability of hotels, presence of international and domestic airports, frequency of domestic and international flights, and availability of office space in PEZA-certified buildings.

Iloilo City was named the top location for BERM (96 percent) because of its low vulnerability to natural disturbances. A perfect score for BERM means that a location has at least four approved sites by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), is not covered by a travel advisory, has an ICT Council, has very low vulnerability to natural disturbances, and a crime rate of less than two percent.

nwciloilo
The DOST-ICTO and IBPAP also acknowledged Legazpi City and its ICT Council as the “Most Effective ICT Council and LGU.” There were also Emerging IT-BPM locations cited, namely: Batangas City, Cagayan de Oro City, Dagupan City, and Tagbilaran City.

nwclegaspi
Among the emerging locations, Batangas City stood out for its large talent pool. It was, in fact, in the top 10 for talent availability among the NWCs. Cagayan de Oro City came out as top four for its excellent infrastructure while Tagbilaran City was among the 10 best in terms of business environment. Dumaguete City was recognized for both talent and cost.

It was indeed an event that acknowledged the contribution of all stakeholders. Many local chief executives, including Mayors and other local officials, were on site to receive their awards for an on behalf of their city. The event was also witnessed by the IT-BPM industry, particularly the President, Board Members, and Executive Director of associations such as the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc.; Contact Center Association of the Philippines; Game Developers Association of the Philippines; Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines; and the Philippine Software Industry Association.  Other ICT industry associations, such as the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, InfoComm Technology Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Computer Society, and the Philippine Society of IT Educators, among others, were also present.

The DOST-ICTO led the conduct of the event, under the leadership of its Executive Director, Undersecretary Casambre. He added that “the DOST-ICTO will continue to drive initiatives and support strategies to help accelerate the country’s leadership in the global IT-BPM industry. We will provide an enabling environment where the industry could continue to be competitive.”