The Philippines establishes a strong presence in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector, attributable to the highly- skilled labor force the country has to offer. Initially, the Philippines is known for voice-based services, as Filipinos take pride on language proficiency, speech articulation, and confidence. However, thru time and skills development, Filipinos have strived to excel in the field of non-voice and complex services. The Department of Trade and Industry reports a growing number of businesses providing healthcare information management, human resources management, business intelligence, and offshore financial consulting in the Philippines.

The Philippine economy also regards the IT-BPM sector as one of the country’s economic pillars, exhibiting employment generation and steering investments in various industries such as real estate, trade, telecommunications, and transportation. The strength of the IT-BPM sector inspires and influences the government to facilitate a conducive investor environment for those who intend to enter and engage in the field. Foreign investors may avail incentive programs through the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) or through the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

In 2001, IT-BPM companies started to locate in Cebu City. Among the companies who pioneered and first started to operate in Cebu City are Lexmark R & D and Lexmark Shared Services, Lear’s Philippine Engineering and Technology Center, NEC, Qualfonn, Dash Engineering, Inc., AZPIRED, NCR’s R & D, Mercedes-Benz Shared Services, Wipro, Bombardier, Author Solutions, Ameeratel, Alliance Software and FPT Software. Other big outsourcing players from Metro Manila have also expanded their businesses in Cebu including Concentrix (formerly Convergys), Teleperformance, Accenture, Teletech, ePerformax, JPMorgan and Chase, IBM, Optum, Conduent, QBE, Manulife, Results, Telstra, EXL, etc. To date, Cebu City continues to capture new players in the outsourcing industry like Fujitsu, Dover Business Solutions, and Kuehne + Nagel. Added most recently is the first contact service site of another prestigious company, AMAZON in the Philippines.

In Cebu, investors and locators in IT-BPM sector can take advantage of multiple factors. First, Cebu is equipped with a talent pool who are fast learners, resourceful, and digitally adept. The IT-BPM sector in Cebu is lauded for the strong collaboration and cooperation among the academe, the private sector, including the Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O) and the public sector in order harness talent and ensure that the incoming talent pool are equipped with the necessary skills needed to push for the continued growth in the IT-BPM sector. Second, the entire island Cebu also provides an active ecosystem of support infrastructures including energy, and telecommunications facilities to ensure seamless internet connectivity and delivery of services. In addition, Cebu is endowed with an intensive network of local ports connect Cebu to other nearby provinces and islands, as well as efficient domestic and international airport, allowing investors to tap the talents from other regions. Likewise, talents from other regions can access employment and educational opportunities all throughout Cebu. Third, due to its natural resources Cebu boasts an environment conducive for striking the balance between work and leisure, Metro Cebu houses multiple commercial areas for work, while the rest of Cebu is composed of various tourism destination clusters offering unique adventure and experiences. Fourth, investors may leverage on locating and availing investment incentives in the existing facilities/ zones dedicated for businesses and corporations in the IT-BPM sector. Complementary to this is the ongoing effort of improving ease of doing business across all cities and municipalities in Cebu. Lastly, the cost of doing business in Cebu is cost competitive. In the 1st Quarter 2022 report of Jones Lang LaSalle, office rents contracted significantly, offering an attractive average of Php 640 per sqm per month to supply the existing market demand.

In the long run, the IT-BPM sector in Cebu intends to pursue strengthening its human capital to partake in the opportunity of exporting services to these four major digital trends such as big data and analytics, internet-of-things, automation and artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Moreover, during the Transformation Summit in 2022, Mayor Rama pushes for further digitalization of government services and businesses “We envision Cebu to be green, orderly, safe, globally competitive, disaster resilient, and culturally enriched and us being a catholic city we should not lose sight of continuously spiritually filled psychologically sound and physically always active.”

Success/Related story
Tsuneishi Technical Services (Phils.), Inc. – Ship Designing from Grassroots to PrestigeAside from business outsourcing processes and shared facilities, Cebu takes pride on its network of capable engineers and designers providing technical support in shipbuilding. Tsuneishi Technical Services (Phils.), Inc. is a tech-enabled company with an ISO 9001-2015 certification and is registered under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), specifically in West Cebu Industrial Park – Special Economic Zone in Balamban, Cebu. Initially, TTSP was established to provide technical support, and detail designs for ships built within the Tsuneishi Group, covering, Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (THI) in Balamban, Cebu and the other shipyards in Hiroshima, Japan and Zhejiang, China. To date, TTSP has expanded its reach and is now able to provide engineering services outsourced from various countries across Asia and Europe specializing from Engineering designs, 3D scanning, Retrofitting and Reverse Engineering, 3D Modeling, and Library Catalogue Making. 

With designs rendered in multi-CAD platforms, particularly employing state-of-the art designing tools to cater the varied customer needs, TTSP had been delivering projects of more than 350 ships in its portfolio mostly but not limited to design of bulk carriers, container carriers, tankers, and pure car and truck carriers. Currently, these main products comply with EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) phase 3 regulations targeting better fuel efficiency and at the same time contributing to environmental sustainability.

On its 30th year now, TTSP, had its share of humble beginnings. From a small design office in Cebu City with a modest, eight pioneer Design Engineers using manual design equipment, it gradually grew its manpower over the years and is now a home to over 500-man workforce of design engineers, draftsmen, administrative support staff, Japanese advisers, and administrators. TTSP has also transferred its design office location four times to accommodate additional personnel and upgraded infrastructure and technology. The current strategic location of the design center allowed the ship designers and the ship builders in constant collaboration during the production process, thereby, shortening waiting time, hastening order deliveries, and catching up with demands.

Despite the pandemic, TTSP, is catching up in a slow but steady pace to recovery. TTSP remains positive towards the recovery of the shipbuilding industry as mass vaccination and rekindling of global economic activities gain momentum. TTSP, remains committed and boldly adheres in its vision, “Designing Beyond Borders, becoming a globally-preferred technical service provider of timely, cost-effective and high-quality engineering designs- onwards to a prestigious 2030.”

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