The current global health crisis has brought various changes in the way business process outsourcing (BPO) works—a vital industry that employs more than a million Filipinos and contributing at least nine percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the BPO sector to adjust to new and flexible working practices, especially that most areas in the country remain under community quarantines (CQs) and lockdowns that restrict the mobility of workers.
Navigating through disruptions
As a vital sector, which remains one of the country’s most dynamic and fastest-growing industries that could potentially secure the country’s economy, BPO is among the few industries that are given exemptions when quarantine measures were first imposed in Luzon last March.
BPO firms were allowed to continue their operations provided that they adhere to specific guidelines, such as utilizing a skeleton workforce, maintaining social distancing, using of facemasks and face shields when in the office premises, and providing their staff with shuttle services or temporary accommodations.
Eventually, as more areas, including Visayas and Mindanao, were put under the much-needed CQ guidelines, authorities mandated BPO firms to implement work-from-home setups.
All these changes have impacted BPO operations, especially that some companies were ill-prepared and did not have the required infrastructure for the employees to function effectively. For instance, BPO agents still complain of erratic internet connection, with their gadgets also bogging down.
Internet speeds in the Philippines are still behind that of the other countries. Despite the efforts made by both private and public sectors, the country’s internet speed currently ranks 63rd out of 100 countries, according to the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Connectivity, on the other hand, goes beyond just internet connection, says Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions.
“For BPO firms, speed is critical since they need to deliver customer services quickly and efficiently. While these organizations have been increasingly adopting digital tools, such as cloud computing and process automation software, among others, current disruptions, such as the remote working arrangements, emphasize the role that backup power systems for critical infrastructures play to enable business continuity and thrive even amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jason Lim, country manager of Vertiv Philippines.
Ensuring power availability for critical IT infrastructure
With the increasing reliance on IT, any minute of downtime is not only bad for the company’s data center and other equipment. More importantly, it can be costly for BPO companies. On an average, the cost of data center outage is between a minimum of $74,223 to a maximum of $1,734,433 per organization, says a Vertiv report. The overall average costs, on the other hand, is at $627,418 per incident.
Meanwhile, a recent Vertiv study also revealed that UPS failure accounts for 25 percent of data center outages. Thus, BPO companies must have reliable, flexible, and efficient backup power solutions in the event of sudden outages, such as power fluctuations and disasters.
For some areas in the Philippines, reliable, clean, and consistent power supply remains an issue. Blackouts and rotating brownouts are even still experienced in many localities due to various reasons, including typhoons.
“Any organization needs a disaster recovery plan to counter these challenges. On the infrastructure side, power protection and management must be in place to reduce downtime in the effect of outages. At Vertiv, we aim to support BPOs and other organizations by helping them future-proof their critical infrastructure as they look to improve their business processes,” said Lim.
With its profound understanding of the critical nature of BPO services, Vertiv offers power protection, thermal management, and infrastructure management solutions for their critical infrastructure.
For instance, Vertiv can help build a new IT facility that would enable the BPO firm to provide inbound customer service, technical support, outbound sales, lead generation and back office work for a wide variety of industries. This facility would also need quality power so, Vertiv also can also ensure that it has full protection against any downtime with its high-efficiency and scalable UPS solutions that can meet the firm’s fast growth requirements within the next 10 years.
Enabling continuous power supply for BPO workstations
For call center agents and other BPO staff who are working remotely, they must be equipped with a UPS device for their workstations.
Typically, BPO staff would rely on computers, servers, and other electronic devices with all the platforms and applications that they need to record, monitor, and contact their customers and colleagues. They use these tools for at least 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Having a UPS for their workstations can protect these critical devices from sudden power failures, which can cause data loss or corruption, damage to the equipment. A power interruption, for instance, can damage expensive computer components, such as motherboards, graphics cards, power supply, among others, which can cost between PhP5,000 to 50,000 per unit to repair or replace.
What it does is to help counter main supply problems, including spikes, voltage dips, fluctuations, as well as complete power failures, by seamlessly switching the source to battery mode, allowing devices to continue working until they are safely shut down, or the main power is restored.
To support call center agents and BPO staff, who need UPS for their workstations, Vertiv innovated a full-range of Liebert UPS, which are future-proof, affordable, eco-friendly, and highly efficient.
For instance, Vertiv’s Liebert GXT RT+ UPS is an online double-conversion solution, which offers power protection in an affordable, efficient system with deployment and operation flexibility. This single-phase UPS with a high 0.9 power factor, enables continuous and reliable power to more connected devices from a wide range of input voltages—all while being energy efficient and delivering maximum value.
It also enables the ECO mode of operation, which drives energy cost savings for a compelling total cost of ownership (TCO). For BPOs, being able to mount the Liebert GXT RT+ in a rack or tower is a convenience that adds to the value story as does the capability of the UPS to utilize up to six connected external battery cabinets for scalable runtimes.
In addition to the extended runtime, having multiple monitoring options makes this compact UPS ideal for delivering best-in-class power protection to equipment deployed at the edge of networks or in space-constrained facilities.
Vertiv’s Leibert GTX5 UPS, on the other hand, is an advanced version of the widely regarded GXT UPS Series—this means that it also bears the affordability, efficiency, and flexibility of its predecessors. It is ideally suited to protect critical infrastructure in both centralized and edge network applications.
As an online double-conversion UPS solution, Leibert GTX5 UPS is also equipped with scalable runtime options, with matching external battery cabinets, offering additional flexibility when extended uninterrupted power is required. It also has a user-friendly LCD interface, as well as full network management capability, including configuration and remote updates, which makes this system easy to deploy and simple to maintain.
Despite the disruptions brought about by the current pandemic, the industry expects to recover and flourish even more, especially with the demands in emerging market segments, such as health care, gaming (POGOs), and animation, in which the industry is preparing for by upskilling Filipino BPO workers.
And as IT becomes an integral part of this vital sector, Vertiv aims to support BPO firms by bringing together cutting-edge solutions to ensure uninterrupted operations, optimal performance, and scalability of data centers, communication networks, and other critical IT facilities.
To learn more about how Vertiv supports the continuity of today’s vital business applications, visit Vertiv.com.