As job losses continue to dominate the front pages, business process outsourcing is still creating jobs for South Africans.
Fusion Outsourcing Services, the South African business process outsourcing & offshoring (BPO&O) division of UK insurance provider BGL Group, has announced that it plans to double the size of its business in South Africa, from its current capacity of 600 agents to 1 200, over the next 24-months.
"We will appoint staff as new outsource agreements are attained," says Fusion SA MD Johann Kunz, adding that Fusion SA will mostly employ staff "at the high-end of experience and qualification requirement curve, as most of our clients are in the complex financial services industry."
Established by BGL at the end of 2003 to complement its four UK-based contact centres, Fusion SA started life simply as an offshore location for its parent company, to field calls solely from UK customers.
BGL has already demonstrated its commitment to South Africa by investing R140-million to establish Fusion SA, and based on its historical commercial and financial delivery, BGL has now taken the decision to commercialise the business beyond its own needs, underlining its confidence in the future of its South African division.
The move to expand the Cape Town office comes as Fusion SA looks to build on its business model beyond simply operating as a division of its parent and to begin winning work as a successful BPO&O company on its own terms.
For the first time, this new strategy will see Fusion SA offering its services to South African companies, resulting in a potential 600 new job opportunities.
"With Fusion SA moving into the local outsourcing arena, we foresee a 50:50 split between local and international business," says Kunz.
Last year, Fusion SA was awarded a R28-million BPO&O grant from the Department of Trade & Industry which it used to ramp up its infrastructure in order to field more work for BGL's UK customers and consider additional business opportunities.
With the improvements having been made to its infrastructure, Fusion SA can provide a "model office" service which enables prospective customers to test what the company can offer before making a decision.
The option of outsourcing BPO services such as back office work and contact centre services utilising a range of voice and multimedia technologies such as SMS and online, also enables South African companies to concentrate on their core business.