EP04 – Outsourcing and Offshoring – Philippines Podcast

EP04 – Outsourcing and Offshoring – Philippines Podcast


I’m Henry Acosta and welcome to the Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines
podcast. Today we have Marla Rausch of Animation Vertigo,
she founded Animation Vertigo back in 2004. Animation Vertigo is a company that strives
to provide unparalleled quality solutions for leaders in film, television and video
game. Since its birth Animation Vertigo has its
standard in motion capture animation and always exceeded clients’ expectations with great
result. Considered as a trailblazer in the motion
capture outsourcing industry, her roster of projects include video games such as Call
of Duty Black Ops 3, Advanced Warfare by Activision, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls both by Quantic
Dream, Mortal Kombat 10 by NetherRealm and Hitman by IO Interactive. Thank you for coming in the show Marla and
it’s a great honor having you here. Thank you so much Henry. It’s a pleasure to be here and to answer
your questions. Awesome. So for our first question can you give us
a quick introduction about who you are and what you do for Animation Vertigo now? So I’m Marla Rausch, De Castro Rausch actually
for my Filipino family. I am the founder and CEO of Animation Vertigo,
I’ve been working probably 14 years now for Animation Vertigo and before that I was
doing some freelance work in Motion Capture Tracking which is why we kind of gotten to
the whole deciding that we should try to build a company that does Motion capture… And what inspired you to having the idea of
building this business specifically here in the Philippines? Well a couple of reasons, being living in
California and working in the industry kind of saw the swing as far as hiring people,
training people and then letting them go because the project was done. There’s constant influx of hiring and retreating
and releasing was kind of problematic for a few companies because when you spend the
time and effort and money to train someone and then you have to let them go, sometimes
when you try to get them back you don’t have that opportunity because they’ve found
another job or they’ve decided to move so we decided that Animation Vertigo would be
a great way to be able to fill that particular need. I decided that it would be a good idea what
if there was a company that had full time motion editors that would be able to, that
production company, to be able to hire when they need them and then when they don’t
need them they’ll still be around and available next time that project comes up. The Philippines came to mind because having
been born and raised in the Philippines I was very familiar with the landscape, with
the challenge of the Filipinos as well as how business generally works there. So it wasn’t a big stretch for me to think
if I want us to fill a need why wouldn’t I have the great talents from the Philippines? Being I set up the business and that kind
of how I got to where we are today. And what do you think makes the Philippines
different compared to maybe other countries that you tried looking at? The biggest advantage that the Philippines
has I think is the great command of English especially when I first started, a lot of
the clients I had was in the United States so there’s certain new… terminologies
and sarcastic with for example that Filipinos get, that they do understand and I don’t
need to explain too much. That said, also the fact that I was familiar
with the 3D animation talents that the Philippines has so putting those together gave me an opportunity
to take advantage of my heritage and go back to the Philippines so that I can give opportunities
for people who are in the Philippines to work on things that are not available for them
and give them an opportunity to have their names for example in credits, in video games
and things like that so that was kind of nice to be able to do. Yes, it sounds very cool. With regards to any cultural barriers or differences,
what do you think is the main cultural difference that you had to tackle when you started out
here in the Philippines? I think well one thing for me definitely was
especially in Motion Capture and Animation sometimes people make mistakes, there are
problems that come up with quality or problems that come up with expectations and generally
here in the US for example if something like that comes up it’s pretty easy to tell someone
‘Hey that was wrong, can you redo it?’ and no hard feelings. In the Philippines, something that I did realize
is that you had to be careful with how you say things. You have to be a little bit more sensitive
to people’s feelings, not that people are way too sensitive or not that people in the
US were insensitive but it was just a little bit, you needed to have a little bit more
care when you give any sort of criticism on the work and I think it’s because people
in the Philippines really, they pride in what they do and they want to make sure that what
they’re doing is correct and they don’t want to give the impression of either not
understanding or not comprehending what you were looking for so that is a tough one because
sometimes you just want to say ‘Can you do it again? It’s just wrong’ but you need to the time
to explain and make sure that they felt okay with what you were saying and they understood
and that takes a little bit of skill. I think another thing that I had to be careful
about was how I approach things if I tend to speak too fast or tend to try to explain
things and think to myself that it’s an easy thing but then have a lot of better force
in trying to explain things. Sometimes that’s a little tough because
I might not be as clear as I thought I was so there are those things that I have to kind
of pay attention to so that I can make sure that my guys understand me and at the same
time we’re successful. And what do you think makes Animation Vertigo
different from other motion capture agencies out here, everywhere in the world actually? Well I think one of the differentiators for
us is that I’m actually, I work very closely with the leaders and the developers in Motion
Capture. I’m proud to be working closely with people
who either are in the development side of the software or the hardware. I know a lot of the people who have worked
on Motion Capture for a very long time and that sort of relationship with them allows
me the ability to understand how the software, the hardware works better. It helps me also understand the potential
problems and bugs that can come up and gives me the ability to explain this and train my
guys and get them to truly understand how motion capture works and how to best utilize
their performance. I think having that kind of understanding
and having that kind of relationship to the specialists in Motion Capture is something
very different from a lot of other companies. It’s easy for companies to set up a Motion
Capture stage thinking ‘Ohh hey this will be very easy, it’s faster than doing any…
animation and look we just need a stage and we could put it all together’ but Motion
Capture is more than that. I’ve once seen an ad that said something
about it’s just connecting dots and oh my gosh I can’t tell you how many Motion capture
technicians and specialists I knew we’re just absolutely insulted by that idea. There’s a lot of complexities to Motion
Capture and I really admire the people who are involved in it because they’re just
really amazingly smart and innovative people. And can you share with us the mission and
vision of Animation Vertigo? Pretty straight forward, our goal is to be
the one stop shop when it comes to Motion Capture animation servicing. That any company that needs motion capture
services we will be able to not only partner with you to solve the need that you have but
also to make sure that we are like a team. We like to consider like being a plug in to
the company, everything that they can do in there it’s like having their own team but
it’s not actually in-house. And can you share with us any experiences
of your clients that stand out when you guys were starting up or stand out like recently? It’s really cool because the people I’ve
met as clients in the past 13 years or so that we’ve been around, I like the fact
that they’re not only our clients but we become friends. A lot of the clients that I had when I first
started back in 2004 remain not only good partners but good friends as well. I’ve got few of that which was really cool
because one of the things about being a Motion Capture service provider is that sometimes
clients can try other people out or other companies out and you understand that. They want to be able to make sure that they’re
not only being fair to their bottom line but also see what else is out there. I had a one particular client who had gone
out and tried another group and probably half way through their production had contacted
me and basically said ‘Okay, Marla we’re on fire. There’s a lot of things we need. It’s not getting done the way we need it. Can we just send it back to you? We’re really sorry.’ and which is really kind of funny if you think
about it because if you just have a client-vendor relationship you don’t really hear the words
‘I’m sorry, we tried but can you get it back?’ so I kind of like that, that it’s a more
personal relationship that we have with our clients and partners and I like the fact that
even though they try other people, they still come back to us just because they’re sure
that we would be able to make things work for them. Yes, and how do you guys get your clients? Well there’s various ways. I think one of the best things that I’m
proud of is the fact that a lot of my clients I got through word of mouth, not even through
direct marketing or going out and meeting them in conventions. A lot of the clients that I’ve had and have
came because somebody else referred me to them. The quality and the workmanship that we were
doing for a client of ours, they talked to another person and say ‘You need to work
with Animation Vertigo. They really helped us out. They solved this problem we’ve been having. It’s been great.’ So that sort of thing is pretty cool because
you realize that you matter to your clients and they think of you high enough to refer
you. On the other hand it also means that I need
to make sure that I don’t embarrass them for referring me so I need to make sure that
my quality level and the expectation of that provide for the people they refer me to and
the companies they refer me to are up to par. Other times we’ve had clients because one
company for example, we work with Midway before and Midway unfortunately had shut down and
so various people had left the company and gone to simply other places, in that instance
when they went to other Motion Capture production company they contacted me from there and said
‘Hey Marla I’m here now, I want to introduce you to our Motion Capture production guy and
we’d like to continue working with you.’ So that’s pretty cool because that meant
that what work we did was actually quality work and something they appreciated. With anyone who’s interested with becoming
an employee for Animation Vertigo, how do they become an employee and what do you look
for inside an employee? Well there’s a few things. If it’s going to be in the Philippines everybody
can actually go to my website at www.animationvertigo.com and there’s a jobs tab there where you can
sign in and fill out. I always ask for cover letter and a resume
because we want to know more about you not just what you do. Just send that to us and it can either go
to the US Company or to the Philippine studio. What do I look for when I hire employees? I’m looking for people who have an animation
eye. Who are what I call technical artists, that
they’re artists but they’re also pretty savvy with the technical part, programming,
knowing Python is a big thing, having an animator’s eye is very important and by that I mean if
you can look at a character… and you can see when something pops or you can see when
something looking unnatural that’s going to be a good sign for me that you know what
you’re looking at, you’d be surprised Henry the number of times where you’re looking
at something and when you apply in a position at our company we do require training and
testing because there’s not a lot Motion Capture. There’s actually no other Motion Capture
service provider in the Philippines so we do provide the training and the number of
times when a test would be given and as you apply, how many times people actually fail
to see a pop or an unnatural or non-natural… or a neck issue in an animation and those
are the things that we look for because that was sort of quality level that we expect from
our very, very basic employee. So if anyone out there is looking to be a
technical artist and wanting to do more in the Motion Capture side of animation, feel
free to visit my website. Awesome. Can you say that the businesses of your clients
have grown since they started working with you guys? Definitely. We have had more work that they can pass through
their stages. It used to be that they were kind of limited
by the amount of motions and shot and shoot days that they can do because they have to
imagine how much time it would take for a company to turn that around and make sure
that it goes into their motion capture animation pipeline. Nowadays that part of ‘Oh let’s only do
a few days, two days or let’s see they’ll have a best shot list,’ it’s not that
way anymore. They can actually really literally do hundreds
of motions, this side ‘Yeah let’s just go do this it’s pretty simple, Marla and
her team can get it done pretty quickly and then we’ll just select afterwards’. I think in that sense they grow because they’re
no longer limited by either time or how much work can come back to them to be able to be
animators so that’s a good thing because then the product actually come out better
because they’re able to choose animation and themes that are the best. What are the common misconceptions that you
usually face when you guys get clients? I think one of the biggest one is the potential
for IP to not be protected. The Philippines isn’t known for their high
IP protection, in fact sometimes you worry about piracy, you worry about well just making
sure that their IP is protected. It’s certainly something that requires further
government intervention, making sure that the government and the law are able to provide
reassurance to foreign companies that if they do bring in any technology or any type of
IP into the country, that any breach of that will be protected and will be rather not protected
but will be taken care of. A lot of the clients are very concerned that
their intellectual property might not be protected in the Philippines so that’s something that
I kind of have to reassure constantly because we can protect ourselves and we can do things
that will be, that would allow us to protect our clients’ IP. Another common misconception which I’m still
trying to work at is the fact that we actually work in beaches. I like to tell my clients are welcome to come
to the Philippines and visit us, see the company and things like that and then go to the beach
which is 3 or 4 hours away but we don’t actually work by the shore or on beaches and
that would be nice but I think I’d really like that, I think my team would like that
if we work by the beach but I don’t know if our production will actually be so efficient. And since you lived here in the Philippines,
can you share with us any memorable experiences that you’ve had here? I think something that happened just recently. I think it was one of the biggest typhoons
in Metro Manila that had hit and Metro Manila doesn’t get hit by big typhoons that much
and that particular time there were a lot of flooding. A lot of members of our team have actually
been affected and it was pretty amazing to me and I think it made a mark for a lot of
my clients and friends here in the US because I was telling them how some of my guys were
at the office during the height of the storm and they decided not to go home because they
weren’t sure if the other people, other team members would be able to come in to work
and there were deadlines coming up and so they decided they’ll stay put, they’ll
continue working, they’ll work from the office, other members of the the team worked
to get back to the office so that they can go to the studio knowing that we had a huge
deadline coming up and waited through the flood waters and got to the office. And it was really something quite different,
my husband had said something about it’s pretty amazing the work ethic that the Filipino
people have when it comes to making sure that they’re able to do what they’re responsible
for doing. They care for the company in a way that’s
quite different from how people here in the US for example might care for the company. And in the other side of that, when we had
few members who had lost homes, property, we opted to gather together and we make sure
that the company itself was able to provide groceries, items that they could use so that
they can get back on their feet, things like that. I tapped clients then to be able, if they
were willing to send items to the Philippines to help not only my team but also those who
had lost things and I tell you there we’re probably 9 or 10 boxes that we were able to
send to the Philippines at that time with our marketing stuff and t-shirts and blankets
and things like that from our various clients and I thought that was pretty amazing. It was memorable for me because it reminded
me of what the people can do when things get tough, they kind of bond together, they are
family together and I’m pretty proud of that. That sounds very remarkable. And for our last question, how can anyone
who’s interested in working with Animation Vertigo get in touch with you? Our website animationvertigo.com you can always
find us on Facebook Animation Vertigo and again there’s that job tab that you can
use in our website or send us a message and we will be replying back to you. Awesome. Thanks for being in the show Marla and we
really appreciate you taking the time doing this interview. Not a problem. Thank you so much Henry for having me and
that was really fun. Thank you. Awesome. Again that was Marla Rausch founder of Animation
Vertigo, she founded Animation Vertigo back in 2004 and has been to help push forward
and lead the Motion Capture industry. She’s now not only very successful with
Animation Vertigo but she’s also a great philanthropist, she’s a great example of
everyone around the world who strive to build a successful career on what they want to do
for the rest of their lives. So thanks for being on the show Marla and
it’s an honor having you here and to all the listeners out there, thank you for sticking
with us. If you have missed the interview or want to
listen to it again it’s available on offshoring.com.ph, you can also find us on SoundCloud and iTunes
so please hit the subscribe button there. Hi, it’s the Outsourcing and Offshoring
in the Philippines Podcast and this is your host for today Henry Acosta. Today we have Frederic Joye, Fred has many
years of experience in growing international businesses. Fred has been leading the sales, marketing
and business development arms of Arcanys from Day 1. Arcanys is one of the most respected software
development companies not only in the Philippines but also by the start-ups it supports in Europe,
the US and Australia. Fred has a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship
enabling to solve global issues at an unprecedented scale through technology, working with and
being part of start-ups that one day will change the way people live and do business. He is the reason behind creation of Arcanys
Labs, the investment arm of Arcanys Group. Welcome to the show Fred and it’s a pleasure
having you here. Hi Henry, thank for having me. For our first question, can you give us a
quick introduction about who you are and what you do for Arcanys? Yes sure, so I’m Frederic Joye. I’m the co-founder of Arcanys and I’m
in charge of sales and marketing for the company. So what gave you the inspiration of having
the idea of building an outsourcing business specifically here in the Philippines? So I moved with my business partner in 2010
to Cebu, we purchased a company that was active in online games and from there we noticed
that the skills of not only the customer agents that we needed for the commerce business but
also programmers, the skills were very good in Cebu. So that when we first started to hire a few
developers in our own for our needs and then a lot of our entrepreneur friends from abroad,
Europe and the US started asking us to help them out with web development so this is when
we created Arcanys and started focusing exclusively on this. What do you think makes the Philippines different
compared to other countries that service offshore outsourcing? And what are the main benefits of outsourcing
here? So I would say mostly the people. The skills are good, the english level of
the Filipinos is the best you can find in Asia and also they’re very friendly and
easy to work with. So I think that’s one of the key points. I don’t think there is anywhere in this
land where people are a nicer to work with and also of course the wages are lower than
in many other countries. Were there any cultural barriers that you
faced during your transition period here in the Philippines? Some but much less than when I moved to Hong
Kong surprisingly. There were a few adjustments we needed to
make, notably their relationship with time but other than that I think we were pretty
close culturally speaking and of course the language barrier didn’t really exists since
their English is so good. How has been the experience of your clients
and can you give us any testimonials from them? Yeah, I mean mostly it’s been great for
our clients and I got a testimonial yesterday from a client and I can read it to you. So they wrote: “Together with Arcanys we
developed an innovative mobile … platform for android and iOs. The management and team of Arcanys is extremely
professional, responsive and flexible to all our projects’ needs. They’re indeed one of the best development
teams we have worked with in SouthEast Asia.” So this was written by Mike Fredman the co-founder
of Quiz Biz. What makes Arcanys different from other outsourcing
agencies here in the Philippines? I think it’s because we have such a long
track record of building companies. One of which was selling close to a hundred
million dollars in sales per year with more than 350 people working for us. And I think we also understand the needs of
the companies that want to innovate through software tools, I mean that’s what we’ve
been doing through the last ten years and I think we can really help them with this
difficult but I think at the end very rewarding process. What is the main vision and mission of your
company? Yes, so our mission is to help businesses
to do more with less money and help them generate revenue quicker – that’s really our core
mission. And I would say for the vision is to keep
on helping those companies but also for start-ups. We have recently launched a venture capital
back program where we invest technology and money for equity in these start-ups. How is your process for recruiting clients
or how do you get clients to get interested in Arcanys? I would say it’s mostly through our network
and referral from other clients but we also create content, reach out to companies that
we know have certain needs and this is also interesting flow of clients for us. For any interested employees out there, what
are the processes that they have to go through and what do you look for in hiring employees? So mostly we hire people through our staff
referrals that’s the best working. We also advertise of course but mostly through
our staff and so once we decide to interview a candidate when we’ve looked at his resume,
the candidate goes through a series of personal interviews and technical tests so we can assess
their skills and most of the time after being hired our staff goes through a I would say
training program where we teach them how to work with our clients following our specific
methodology. What we’re looking also for iss that we’re
looking at experienced developers that are also fast learners. So we were looking at their abilities to grow
over time because the projects they work on are usually pretty challenging. Can you say that the businesses of your clients
have grown considerably since they started working with Arcanys? Yes. Most of our clients have and what is nice
is that we grow with them so the reason is that they can simply do so much more with
the same financial resources since we’re 2 – 3 times cheaper than what they could get
in their own countries and at the same level of quality. What are the common misconceptions that you
usually face about outsourcing here in the Philippines? I think most of the time it revolves around
the cultural issues, they’re afraid of that but there are much less cultural problems
than with other Asian countries. I’ve been working in India and in China
and the Philippines is not that complicated. And also I think some prospects are asking
us about the internet and other infrastructure questions and although these used to be a
problem years ago, I must say this has gotten so much better in recent years and it’s
not a problem anymore. Do you have any memorable experiences that
you can share with us ever since you started staying here in the Philippines? Everyday is a memorable experience because
when we’re interacting with Filipinos it’s just great, they’re always nice and friendly. And other than that I mean the Philippines
has so much to offer in terms of nature so like swimming with the whale sharks or diving
is always pretty incredible. And for our last question how can anyone who’s
interested in Arcanys get in touch with you, either potential clients or even employees? So for clients they can get in touch via our
website, arcanys.com or by email directly to me so [email protected] also through Linkedin. And for employees, the best is to go through
the career stage where we always have our open jobs. They’re listed there and they can apply
for specific jobs, we’re currently looking to hire about 20 people. Thanks for being on the show Fred. It’s been great having you here. You’re welcome Henry, thanks for having
me. Again that was Frederic Joye, one of the founders
of Arcanys helping push and innovate our world with technology while solving one global issue
at a time. Arcanys is one of the most respected software
development companies not only in the Philippines but also in Europe, USA and Australia. It’s Henry Acosta and you’ve been listening
to the Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines Podcast. Thank you for listening to us, if you’ve
missed this interview or want to listen to it again an audio file is available on SoundCloud
and iTunes. Transcripts and archive are available at offshoring.com.ph. You’re listening to our regular podcast,
Offshoring and Outsourcing and now one of our sponsors is joining us to have a chat. It’s Adam O’Connor, Adam’s the Sales
Director with Cloudstaff, a business process outsourcer based predominantly in Clark, in
the Philippines but also with offices in Manila. Adam welcome to Offshoring and Outsourcing. Thanks Wayne, good morning. How are you? I’m very well and thank you for joining
us as a sponsor. Adam can you fill us in on what it is that
Cloudstaff offers to the market? Cloudstaff offers a wide range of different
skillsets to the market. We provide a low cost offshore solution for
western businesses to be able to utilize the skills that we have here and make sure that
they’re getting the right people at the right cost for their businesses. Now Adam, where would you position Cloudstaff
in the spectrum of business process outsources, I mean some have a few as 10 or 20 staff and
some have thousands of staff. Where do you fit into the spectrum? Currently we’re just over a thousand staff. In terms of the skillsets that we do, we focus
on a wide range of skills which allows the companies to have a team of differentiated
skills and competencies within one location. We don’t focus on just one area such as
accounting or teleservices, we bring teams together that work for the same company. Adam some of the businesses that we talk to
make a big distinction between offshoring and outsourcing, where do you see Cloudstaff
sitting? I think we are a offshoring company. I think you can outsource within the same
country as you’re in. A lot of companies, if we use Australia as
an example will outsource their IT functions to a company within Australia. The offshoring element means we do have an
Australian entity but we primarily focus all of our talent that we give to companies from
the Philippines at this moment in time. And who’ your typical customer or if that’s
not a fair question, can you give us a portrait of some of your customers? Our typical customers are from the SMEs, small
to medium enterprise category. Anywhere from sort of five people in their
office all the way up to 2,000 – 3,000 people within their western office with their teams
over here. So Adam SMEs who are only looking for a few
staff shouldn’t be put off contacting you then? No, absolutely not. We’re happy to help everybody and we look
to help everybody that we can. And what about the larger players who are
looking for a particular service? If it be someone looking to do accounts receivable
for them or someone looking to trace their outstanding debts, do you do that kind of
one service arrangement that some of the bigger BPOs do? Yes, we do. We do large teams within one vertical for
companies but we find that once somebody’s got something working quite well that they
will look to expand but we definitely focus on one vertical if a customer wants to. Now Adam I noticed on your website that the
catch cry or the slogan if you will and I’ll mention the website, www.cloudstaff.com, the
catch cry is “People and Technology at the Heart of Everything we do.” Can you unpick that for us and explain how
people are at the heart and how technology’s at the heart of Cloudstaff? The people are at the heart of everything
that we do because we feel that we can supply the talent of a similar standard to the west
in the roles that our customers were looking for at a fraction of the cost. To make this easy for our customers, we provide
a technology suite that we developed ourselves which faces both the employees within Cloudstaff
and the employees within Australia and also the customer’s manager view to have a look
across everything. We have web applications, we have mobile applications
and we have systems to help make the transition really easy as well. Pretty much everyone I talked to says the
two things or three things that kind of everyone in the Philippines in the outsourcing industry
talks to me about is that they have excellent infrastructure and they have excellent technology
and they have excellent tools of recruits. You developed a lot of your technology in-house,
is it unique? A lot of it is unique, Wayne. We bring together systems that we have developed
ourselves into a suite which is easy, accessible and gives you an advantage I guess if I can
be bold to say that allows you to train staff, keep communication with staff all from one
portal. This allows us to keep up to date with what
the customers are looking for, what their account managers on the ground in the Philippines
are looking at and keeps everybody informed on a real time basis. I see. I understand that you’re an Australian firm,
is that the extent of your corporate structure? No, we have entities in the UK, Australia
and Hong Kong as well as in the Philippines here. And is there an advantage to the customer
in you having that multiple entity arrangement? The customers are able to bill out of either
Hong Kong or Australia. Some of our customers, not all of our customer
bases based out of Australia depending on where customers are based. They can choose which entity to bill out,
which entity to actually hold a contract with. What about management? Is your management Australian based? No, our management is all on the ground in
the Philippines and we combined Filipino management and western management as well. Now that’s another thing that I hear a lot
from BPOs is that they have a Filipino managers. Are there senior managers within Cloudstaff? We do have some senior management, the senior
management overseeing with Cloudstaff is split between western and Filipino. I see. Adam we’re running out of time but if you
have a message for prospective customers about why Cloudstaff is a place they should be looking
for for their offshoring, what would the message be? I guess Cloudstaff has four key differentiators
from ourselves and the competition. One of them is how we recruit, everybody has
the same set of talent that they recruit from but we have recruitment locations situated
in Makati, here in Clark and also down in Cebu which gives us the breadth of the Philippines
and we use the training simulated that places candidates the real world situations so when
they come to our customers they’re fully prepared, we’re able to write those training
systems with the help of our customers specifically for them. And our systems that we’ve already covered
previously make the ongoing relationship between the staff here in the Philippines and the
staff in the west wherever you may be seem this an easy. Our ecosystem outsource where mobile apps
for the staff here allows them to be able to carry on work in no matter what’s going
on and our culture we have a name to be the number 1 workplace in the Philippines. We put in a lot of strategy around retention
and keeping our staff happy we have a number of different social event outside of work
such as monthly barbeques but we also have clubs that the staff join with outside interest
to make sure that we are one big family. And I would encourage anybody who’s interested
to actually come over here and have a look at the operations themselves which I’ll
be happy to show them and they can see it themselves. Adam, speaking of people coming over to see
you, how do people get in touch with you? They can either find us the website which
is www.cloudstaff.com or alternatively they can email me directly, [email protected] And that’s the Cloudstaff all one word. Correct. Adam it’s been a pleasure having you on
Offshoring and Outsourcing and we do thank you for your sponsorship of the podcast. Thanks Wayne, I appreciate the time. Hi, I’m Henry Acosta and welcome to the
Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines podcast. Today we have John Manzano, the country manager
of Teledevelopment Services. He provides consulting services and solutions
to the world’s biggest companies and has been helping them achieve their goals for
the 25 years. He has over 20 years of experience in start-up
operations, corporate management, service delivery, digital transformation and account
acquisition. He previously served leadership roles both
captive and outsourced companies such as QBE,Cognizant, 24/7 Incorporated, TRG, Convergys, DGL and
HSBC. Today we’re here to talk about Outsourcing
and Offshoring here in the Philippines and about what Teledevelopment Services can bring
to you. Hi John, welcome to the show. It’s a pleasure having you here with us. Hi Henry, thanks as well. Thanks for having me. Can you give as a quick introduction about
who you are and what you do for Teledevelopment Services? Yeah, so I’m John Manzano, I’m currently
the country manager … we do have a sister company as well which is the BPO Career Hub,
so we’re re-packaging that in a couple of months so we’re gonna just call it to work,
which specifically a job portal that’s actually catering now, currently just catering to the
BPO industry as well. So I manage both day-to-day operation, client
acquisitions, as well as managing, again making sure that we deliver on our clients’ expectations. And what do you think makes the Philippines
different compared to other countries that service offshore and outsourcing services? I think the key attraction for a lot of locators
here in the country is, one is our ability to speak in English, of course I think, I
believe were in the Top 3 in terms of English capabilities in speaking, that’s one. The second component I believe were actually
much more catered to customers service. The Philippines being very Westernized culture,
we have the passion to have the service and support a lot of vertical, may it be in the
telco industry, may it be in the financial industry. Slowly now, we’re seeing a lot of migration
as well from an insurance standpoint, retail, and of course a lot of other industries that’s
also looking to consider here in the Philippines. A lot of it who have brought mostly in the
social media aspect, Uber, Facebook, Grab are also starting to set up here in the Philippines. What makes Teledevelopment Services different
from other outsourcing agencies that are already established here in the Philippines? I think our key differentiator is, with us
having more than 12 years of experience in the Market. We have really set up and affected a lot of
start-up companies, particularly from their market entry option. Just this year alone, for example, we’ve
assisted, we’re working on a 6 (six) start-up companies and these are companies that we
have heard that the Philippines have great location to outsource and do business with
and …and then based on labor arbitrage. Our advantage is our ability to assist these
companies with their options. There are varying requirements for some businesses. For some businesses they would just want to
outsource, maybe 1 (one) or 2 (two) XPEs, then we provide them a very good consultation
and overview of what are their options to consider here. At the other end of that market, is once we
have guided them on their market entry options, we then provide them as well with a list of
what are their enablers for them to make it successfully here. Typically we do have partnerships with most
of the brokers and landlords here in the Philippines’ space, so if they want to find the space to
set up the office, we have partnerships existing with that. We also assist them with their connectivity
and telco and IT infrastructures, so we do have key partnerships in that areas as well. And at the back end of that of course, is
the people component where we come in. We help a lot of these companies, we help
recruit their first few key hires, that would be in the form of a country manager or a director
for operation and then of course the other components that we help them hire would be
their HR people, HR directors, HR VPs, well those start the company. After which of course, we do have a lot of
resources looking in from the training standpoint, so if you, if they need trainers as well to
assist with their rank, we also have that ability to support their growth. So I think from an industry standpoint our
advantage really is we know the market, we can help them find the location, build their
site, assist them with those things, and also help the people components. It is very critical, especially being with
the market being competitive right now, so I think that’s the value that we put in
a lot of these engagements. And what will be your advice for anyone who’s
planning to outsource here in the Philippines? We always get that, I think that’s the first
and foremost advice is they need to have a client already. I have seen a lot of businessmen that would
just say, ‘Okay the Philippines is a good location to put up a business.’ They would invest millions but a key driver
for that is they need to have a client that will go through the business, so that’s
my first advice. I think the second advice of course is, they
really need to look out what type of service they need to consider outsourcing. So that’s a very important one because the
back end of that is you need to hire the right people for those specific jobs that they need
to outsource. Maybe in the field of finance, maybe in the
field of HR, or maybe in the normal call center work of a basic customer service. So those are, I think, my top 2 advices. For some cases as well, you need to be also
very dependent also on the client. So there are some clients that, for example,
would have already… and they would want to leverage on a particular location, really
from business continuity standpoint, so a lot of them will have the vendors in Manila,
so we do advice them to make sure that they probably would need to locate in another city,
maybe at Cebu or another top… city for as continuity standpoint. So those are my usual advice and consultation. Again, it really depends as well on the number
of FTEs that they need to outsource, because if you’re going to do less than 300-250
FTEs, there are several options that you could really consider in doing business here which
is not very capital intensive. So basically, it really depends on the engagement
of the client Henry. And I see that we’re talking about clients
already. Can you share with us any experiences from
some of your clients and any testimonials from them? Yeah, I think some of the existing engagement,
we have a client that was into starting up their first operations here. They are actually a captive so they also needed
to understand the market. So one of our pre-engagement there, was to
help find the partner for them to set-up their operations here, so we did that. Second stage of that is we actually hired
their first key leaders from country manager up until their HR, training and get operations
and they’ve been very successful, they’re now have grown too easily a hundred FTEs. They have now plans to even grow because of
their success they have now plans to now even not only do their support functions from their
insurance but they’re also looking to consider by next year, their growth plans for a helpdesk
to support their Australian IT requirements. That’s one example, again it varies from
one customer, there is one client that is actually assisted as well wherein there were
a new player, they didn’t have a brand out day in the market, so branding here is important
so we actually used our digital marketing recruitment approaches for them to hire their
first few ramp. So they already have the client coming over
here there were also requirements for them to ramp up to 40 FTEs, just by doing a lot
of our digital marketing, we were able to fulfill that requirement in a span of less
than 1 (one) month as compared to an industry average of usually around 45-60 days and they
have been very successful. They have grown now already from last year
to around 60 FTEs, they’re now growing to close to 300 growth plans by next year. So those are some key examples of how we have
assisted a lot of these start-up companies here. With regards to any interested employees,
what is your process when you’re recruiting for employees and what exactly do you look
for or what are the values that you’re looking for within employees? Well I think it’s very common across all
businesses, when you recruiting for the right people, I think the first process is really
creating that profile for you to look at. So for example may it be from a call center
that would want to do say a helpdesk, if we sit down with the client and say what are
the specific requirements. Helpdesk could vary from just being doing
text support for a wireless modem, or it could go as far as a … platform wherein they’re
really looking at the connectivity of the platform with the existing systems that that
company is using. So it really varies so we really sit down
with the profile first with the client, do calibration sessions. At the back end of that Henry, from recruitment
process, I think what we’ve done very differently here in the market since it’s a very competitive
year, is we’ve approached it the way we looked at applicants as like consumers. We looked at the attractions standpoint first,
so we make sure that we did some analysis that 80% of people prior to joining a company,
they would need to do a research first on what company they’re joining. So we do a lot of … saying what are your
key differentiators for you to attract that person? So that the attraction component, so we do
that recruitment marketing component for them to be considered, we ask them to be, we put
something engagement, gamification as part of their assessment, as you know the millennials
are the new people that we want to attract, so we’re keeping them engaged. At the back end of that, the industries here
Henry, still very competitive. So once you’ve got them into the door, we
need to assess them. With the industry averages at around 10-12%,
so if a hundred (100) applicants come in looking to screen for voice, half of the applicants
will probably … have around 10-12 people only. Basically, based on english speaking fluently,
so we do have as well, under Teledevelopment we are a distributor for an assessment tool
called Versant which is actually an AI type of assessment tool. So it assesses a person’s capability to
speak and write in an English manner. So that’s how we recruited and of course
the final interview we partner with the client, make sure that you’re very calibrated and
more of a job fit. So that’s how we recruit here in the market. And what’s the biggest challenge that your
client usually face within they’re transferring or starting outsourcing here in the Philippines? I think, the first one of course is always
where to locate, and they need to understand where the market is. I think one of the biggest challenges sometimes
is a lot of the companies specifically for the last players to consider outsourcing,
they would probably being the, as the least considered, a company from branding itself
a big component of that. So that’s the biggest challenge that they
would probably look at, how to attract the right people, not only from an entry level
position but also from key leaders. The second challenge that they face as well,
of course is, when you’re starting your biggest challenge is how do you get that support
function? So we come in there, as well as consultants
and guiding them on what are the tools to use, what are the, when they’re building
their cost model don’t forget to become very efficient and profitable in this industry. We give them a very good detailed market study
on the compen-benefits salary structures of the industry, that’s very critical when
they’re building their own cost model. So that’s the biggest challenge that they
have, so for example, in our current engagements for some of our clients, we spend more than
at least 2-3 days building that cost model for them to make sure that they do it right
because they would lose money if they don’t build their cost models very well, so that’s
the pre-market entries. The challenge that they going their operating
of course, would how to be to make their employees engaged and retain them, attrition is still
going to be a key factor and a key challenge for a lot of these industries. So making sure that they’re very competitive
from a compen-ben standpoint that’s one, what are the types of engagement activities
that these companies would do and what now what we’re seeing in the market is they’re
creating a lot of these google-type environments that are … space rather than the usual workstations
and cubicles. So those are the types of engagements that
we also sit down with the clients. For our last question, how can anyone who’s
interested in Teledevelopment Services get in touch with you guys, also where is your
physical location? Yeah, well you can easily get in touch with
us thru our website www.teledevelopment.com. They could see the full range of products
and services. They could also reach to us through Linkedin
as well, and then our offices we’re located in Ortigas area, so we are at the 35th floor
Robinson Equitable Tower across ADB Avenue Pasig City. Or they could reach us if they would want
to get some businesses, they could reach us at [email protected] as well. Well John, thank you for being the show. Well, thank you as well. And that was John Manzano, the country Manager
of Teledevelopment Services. I’m Henry Acosta and this is the Outsourcing
and Offshoring in the Philippines podcast. If you want to listen and find out more about
Outsourcing and Offshoring in the Philippines, you can go on our website www.offshoring.com.ph. You can also find us on soundcloud and iTunes.

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