Flow targets rural SMEs, BPOs
The headquarters of Flow Jamaica located in the Corporate Area.

As communications and entertainment provider Flow continues the expansion of its fibre optic network across Jamaica, the telecommunications provider, through its IT-managed services arm C&W Business, has ramped up its service delivery to rural small businesses and operators in the business process outsourcing sector (BPOs).

Up to December 2021, the company has invested US$300 million in the upgrade and expansion of its broadband network. As of August, Flow has connected some 230 communities outside of the parishes of Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine.

"We made a commitment to drive connectivity to more unserved and underserved areas across the country and have remained focused on delivering that commitment," a spokesperson from Flow told Jamaica Observer, though mum on the number of communities that will benefit from the broadband expansion.

The company assured that the service is "very stable", but pointed out that its networks continue to suffer from "theft and vandalism as well as commercial power outages caused by motor accidents".

But as the company moves ahead with the roll-out of its fibre optic network, it has outline plans to empower businesses to tend to their customers in real time and remotely.

"We offer a curated technology solutions for our micro, small and medium-sized [enterprise] customers to help them achieve their business goals. Our Smart Solutions for small business owners include website development, help desk services, and cyber security applications," the company said.

"With the expansion of our fibre fast broadband network, more business operators are now able to access faster, more reliable internet service, thereby enabling them to be consistently available to their customers and respond to queries," it added.

Given the increase in the use of social media to reach out to businesses, the Flow representative said that having reliable Internet is critical for businesses to connect with suppliers and customers. To this end, as part of the Smart Solutions package small businesses can get help in setting e-commerce and e-marketing portals and access cloud services.

At the same time, the telecommunications provider said it has also offered over-the-top services such as Distributed Workforce (DWF) Solution for businesses that facilitate remote working, especially in the business process outsourcing sector.

"We've been a long-standing partner of the BPO sector and have been proactive in responding to their needs. During the pandemic, we were also very mindful of the impact of the various measures on the BPO sector and engaged them early to understand their immediate needs. This included supporting their transition to the work-at-home (WAH) norm while maintaining productivity and efficiency," Flow told Business Observer.

The DWF solution therefore allows for teams to work safely, securely, reliably and remotely, "and brings a business-class service to the home". Using a secure portal, businesses have better visibility of and can better manage their staff.

"An added benefit is our business class support as our engineers can remotely access the equipment which leads to first contact resolution. Further, there is a direct escalation path as DWF customers have the benefit of a service manager," Flow outlined.

With several BPO operators indicating they will maintain a fraction of their employees working remotely post-pandemic, Flow said its solution will help them adjust their workforce as needed.

As part of its partnership with the BPO sector, the telecommunications provider has created a 200-set incubator and is working with the Jamaica Promotions Corporation to assist new entrants with setting up their office.

Josimar Scott

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