With many domestic and international companies investing heavily in the local IT/BPO and BPM offshoring industry thanks to its commercial attractiveness, access to skilled talent and a lucrative business environment coupled with the improving technology infrastructure, Sri Lanka now ranks in the 14th position on the 2016 A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index (GSLI).
The country moved up by two points this year from 2015 on the index, which analysed 55 countries in a study conducted by A.T. Kearney, a London-based global management consulting firm, further exhibiting the capability and potential the nation possesses. Sri Lanka scored the highest when it came to financial attractiveness (3.37). People skills and availability scored 1.03 and business environment 1.14, totaling to 5.54 surpassing US, Egypt, Russia and many other nations.
India was ranked number one with a total score of 6.96, making it the world’s biggest financial and business attractive outsourcing destination for 2016. Other countries that made to the top 10 were China, Malaysia, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Mexico, Chile and Poland. The Asia Pacific region leads the index with eight countries in the top 20 countries and accounting for 6 of the top 10 countries on the list.
In its 2016 report documenting the findings of the study, A.T. Kearney observed: “Among countries, no clear winners have yet emerged, although some are clearly better positioned than others. One set of countries that starts off with an advantage is those that complement advanced traditional BPO skills with the requisite soft skills that machines cannot replace: India and the Philippines, for sure, but also Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and South Africa.”
The IT/BPM industry is amongst the top five largest export earners for Sri Lanka. The industry’s Vision 2022 aims it to become the number one foreign exchange earner of the country, with $ 5 billion in revenue, creating 200,000 direct jobs and 1,000 start-ups.
The growth in the industry has been very ‘Colombo-centric’ and plans are now underway to bring about inclusive growth which will help the sector spread ICT to every part of the country through the creation of regional cities. Observing this critical need was Mano Sekaram, SLASSCOM Chairman and 99X Technology CEO, who pointed out that the greatest untapped human resources rest in the regional areas as 80% of the workforce commutes to Colombo from there.
Upon his appointment as Chairman of SLASSCOM during the latter half of 2015, Sekaram said: “The creation of second tier cities would see a paradigm shift from the Western Province and will empower regional systems. Rural people will be able to reap benefits while living in their own households, allowing them to enjoy a far better standard of life.”
It was also assessed that locations such as Jaffna and Kandy have immense potential to be developed as second tier cities, given the infrastructure, connectivity and people development already available. SLASSCOM is playing a key role in accelerating regional IT/BPM to these cities.