ITBPM industry sees flat growth

Published November 21, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Considering the factors impacting the global IT-business process management (IT-BPM) from the pandemic, the Philippine industry is projected to end flat this year and highlighted the need for important government interventions to achieve and sustain the renewed growth forecast up to 2022.

The IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) recalibrated Roadmap 2022 unveiled at the International Innovation Summit 2020 showed that industry headcount is expected to grow at 2.7 percent to 5 percent or around 1.37 million to 1.43 million full-time employees, and industry revenues of between $27.88 billion to $29.09 billion with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.2 percent to 5.5 percent until 2022.

Everest Group Partner H. Karthik that conducted the IBPAP Roadmap 2022 said the Philippine growth forecast was also in line with the global projection of a flat growth this year and the expectation for an uptick of between 3.5 to 4 percent in revenue, over the next couple of years.

“We’re also already starting to see signs of recovery and momentum shifting in the third quarter, a look at the results of the quarterly results, the global service providers will indicate no definite momentum,” he said.

In line with the global industry, he said the Philippines ITBPM industry revenue is also expected to remain flat in 2020. “Now, this may sound like a reduction in growth or rather, this is a reduction in growth compared to past years but the industry has been consistently growing,” he said.

“The Philippines ITBPM industry has the potential to grow by cumulative growth rate of about 5.5 percent in revenue and 5 percent in headcount over the next two years,” he said stressing that “What we are seeing in the Philippines is a clear reflection of the global market. But the industry expects to remain at a flat this year. However, if you were to look at the outlook for the next couple of years.”

 “While these new figures stand as the Philippine IT-BPM industry’s goal for 2022, it is equally important to know how we will be achieving them. The recalibration study also provided us with imperatives we and our stakeholders must undertake, not only to fulfill these targets, but to strengthen our sector locally and globally,” said IBPAP President and CEO Rey Untal.

As the industry is set to go forward, Untal said this growth will be enabled by accelerated digital transformation, a robust ecosystem, skilled workforce, and strong government support.

Government interventions include strengthening of telecom infrastructure to better support long-term remote work; accelerate investment in talent development programs, especially for next-generation skills; stronger pivot to digitally supplemented services by rapidly accelerating investments in digital and cybersecurity initiatives; tap countryside potential by accelerating talent and infrastructure development outside Metro Manila; improve local industry’s position in the global market by enhancing focus on resilience, increased commitment from players and government, and ability to deliver complex services; and improve ease of doing business by enhancing and strengthening government support to offer a business-friendly environment.

The ITBPM industry has been a critical pillar of the Philippine economy, especially in terms of jobs creation. In 2019, the sector recorded total full-time employment of 1.3 million, which is a 5.8 percent growth from 2018 while revenues amounted to USD 26.3 billion which is a 7.1 percent increase from the previous year.

But similar to other industries, the IT-BPM was deeply impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but was able to leverage on the government’s immediate assessment of the industry as an essential sector.

Since then, the industry has demonstrated its resilience—starting with only 50 percent productivity in March to over 95 percent in November through a blended service delivery model.

Among the challenges being faced by the industry worldwide include pressure on cost structures, geopolitical changes, increased focus on Business Continuity Plans (BCP), and urgency for automation and digital transformation.

“As we share our renewed vision for 2022, we want to highlight the importance of strengthened collaborations among our stakeholders in the private sector, government, and the academe. This is to help the sector continuously pivot and thrive so we can all unleash opportunities and break new ground to strengthen our position as one of the top investment destinations in the world,” concluded Untal.