BPO expansion using the Cayman model
The Cayman Islands is becoming known for more than offshore banking and tourism.

As Jamaica considers expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, especially in the subsector of digital services, policyholders might want to look at what has been done in the Cayman Islands where there is also a limited labour pool.

Nearshore Americas (NSA), the BPO and information technology news source, has highlighted PeerIslands, an IT consultancy which delivers cloud digital transformation (DX) services from the Cayman Islands.

Narayn Sridharan, CEO at PeerIsland, told NSA that the Cayman Islands is vying to become the Singapore or Hong Kong of the region. The information specialist has been staffing his company with talent from India, and Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. Others are from the Cayman Islands, Canada and the US.

The workers, the CEO states, are being remunerated at rates equal to Dallas, Houston, or Washington, DC. He says developers in India that were making US$30,000 annually only a few years ago can now command up to US$60,000.

PeerIsland’s work is centred on providing services to “tech companies that have dozens of applications, and they want to transfer those to the cloud.” Customers are global organisations, usually in the US, with large IT groups. These companies need people who understand how older systems work, but who are also up to date on the latest technologies. At PeerIslands employees must be willing and able to acquire new skills, the CEO told NSA.

Much of PeerIslands work comes from its partnership with MongoDB, a global, publicly traded database company. The CEO said that the Cayman Islands has “the added advantage of delivering access to high quality education and healthcare in a safe environment, with a welcoming culture. This is a huge plus.”

He told NSA, “It has turned out very well, and we are now looking at making hires from Eastern Europe.” NSA notes that, at over $85,000 a year, the Cayman Islands has the eighth highest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, acting as one of the foremost offshore banking centres.

Yoni Estein, CEO and founding chairman and CEO of itel International, which operates in Jamaica, Guyana, the United States and other regional territories, says he believes that using imported talent would only be a short-term fix.

He told the Jamaica, “I do believe that it is a short-term viable model for Jamaica to continue to scale in higher-value services and it will certainly provide economic value to Jamaica. However, in my opinion it is a plan that needs to scale into Jamaicans also being trained alongside these individuals in order for the medium to long-term plan to be that Jamaicans hold those positions.”

Skilled IT workers have been accepted in Cayman, attracted by pay which is better than India but cheaper than Silicon Valley.
AVIA USTANNY COLLINDER senior business reporter collidera@jamaicaobserver.com

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