Business

Digicel leases HQ space to IBEX

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 19, 2018

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Digicel Jamaica has inked a deal with business process outsourcing (BPO) and contact centre provider Ibex to lease space at its waterfront building as the new Caribbean and Latin American headquarters of IBEX.

On Wednesday Ibex celebrated the opening of a new centre which occupies three floors in the Digicel Caribbean and Central America headquarters at 14 Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston. Chief executive officer of IBEX Bob Dechant also announced plans to lease another Digicel property close by to be used as the contact centre's recruitment and training hub.

The lease agreement stands for a five-year period.

Digicel Jamaica last restructured its operation in February 2017, but it's the first time that the company has agreed to lease a section of its facility since the granting of its licence in 2001.

General manager of Digicel Business Brian Bennett-Easy, told the Jamaica Observer that it has always been a vision of the company's chairman, Denis O'Brien, to engage in a lease agreement, and since Ibex's operation was similar to the services of the telecommunication company, it was thought of as perfect fit.

He added that the company, in restructuring its business, has downsized its call centre operation to a 12-hour shift from the previous 24 hours, as it moves to more self-serving experiences in preparation for the future.

“After winning the licence for Jamaica, we've literally been operating the same way for the last 16 years now it's time for change.

“When we looked at the different operations, the structure that was rolled out in Jamaica was exactly the same structure in Antigua, St Lucia and every market that we went into. Everything was replicated and it got to a point where we started looking at if we needed to have the exact same operation, or can we arrange things so that we can consolidate — that's kind of what's going on. It can't be same-old same-old and expect changes. The market is changing, the customers are getting smarter, we are going to have to get smart as well,” Bennett-Easy told the Caribbean Business Report.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, USA, IBEX delivers onshore, near-shore, and offshore business process outsourcing solutions in seven countries across 26 sites. The company maintains a network of more than 17,000 employees and focuses on improving the customer service experience for over 70 global clients through multi-channel inbound and outbound communications in some 20 languages.

In July 2016, IBEX opened its Portmore location, which has since been expanded by an additional 23,000 square feet. The company continues to work towards achieving its goal of employing 5,000 peoples in Jamaica in the long term, up from its current number of 2,500.

Ibex's Dechant told journalists that the lease arrangement with Digicel and the Government of Jamaica embraces the vision of IBEX and its plan to expand its footprint across the island.

The new production centre covers approximately 50,000 square feet and seats 500 employees. IBEX's recruitment and training hub is expected to allow the company to train 75 individuals concurrently with facilitating human resource processes.

“Our speed to market and what is important is that we were able to move in, in just 60 days, which is just amazing in any market, and our clients needed to be operational in November when their partners needed business in peak season.

“We already have 500 agents that we hired in November, and by December 1 we were taking phone calls for our clients, and we have a pipeline of really big clients who are looking to come on-board with us, so we are bullish on the Jamaican market,” he said.

EYES MANDEVILLE

Dechant said the company is in the process of evaluating its next growth scenario and will be looking at secondary locations to reach its target of 5,000 jobs, even as it looks to provide digital marketing services.

“MoBay is saturated. I'd love to be in MoBay, but if we go 30 minutes outside of Montego Bay to markets like Sandy Bay, Mandeville, May Pen, just the secondary market…those will be important for us,” he reasoned.

Dechant added that the company has been benchmarking the Philippines, which provides 1.2 million call centre jobs in two major markets, Manila and Cebu, but has come to recognise that clients are moving to provincial markets, smaller islands and smaller towns.

“I think Jamaica will do the same thing. MoBay, Kingston, two very big markets, then start looking at the secondary markets to evolve and bring great jobs into those markets,” he said.

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