The Manguang Local Municipality has opened a centralised contact centre that it believes will contribute to its vision of creating a powerful regional economic centre.
The contact centre is part of the Re Hodisa Moruo economic development partnership between Mangaung Local Municipality and Fujitsu. It will not only improve the municipality's service offering to its 850 000 citizens, but open the region’s doors to further investment by improving the region's skills base and its attractiveness to business.
The project’s first aim is improved communication and service provision to the community. Mangaung residents can expect to see an improvement in the coordination and control of their service related enquiries and concerns as a first step to empowering the municipality to provide superior delivery on all fronts.
“From now on, Mangaung citizens will have one number to call as a single point of contact to the Municipality,” says Neil Claasen, acting MD at Fujitsu. "One number that will provide access to trained personnel able to assist residents in a variety of services.”
Amos Goliath, acting city manager of Mangaung, adds: “We are looking forward to standardisation of service, service quality enhancement, efficiency and effectiveness, all at a high level of productivity provided by highly skilled employees. This will also bring about transparency and accountability. In short it will bring a high quality of services to the community within the community.”
Claasen says that, as a strategic partner in this initiative, Fujitsu will contribute to increase the skills of citizens in the region, making Mangaung an attractive destination for business investment.
"The centralised contact centre will serve as a starting point for launching the business process outsourcing and off-shoring (BPO & O) centre in the heart of Bloemfontein.”
Suitably qualified local experts, and a number of new entrants to the profession who will gain their skills in the associated training academy, launched by Fujitsu and its partners, will staff the BPO&O centre.
Claasen adds that, in order to facilitate the success of the services venture, Fujitsu is investing R7,2-million in Re Hodisa Moruo infrastructure and will continue to invest R3,5-million in training programmes over five years.
The contact centre has the capacity to run two shifts of 24 agents each with a target to expand to more than 400 positions in the BPO & O hub within the next four years. Laready, 37 new positions have been created.
According to DTI research, these positions will result in about three times as many indirect jobs being created in areas such as security services, cleaning, catering and other supporting services.
In addition, the contact centre will contribute to economic activity in the region, as most of the service providers secured for construction, maintenance and management of the centre in from the Mangaung area.
The project will also see the partners working to establish a training centre capable of producing skilled ICT staff for the Mangaung Local Municipality and commercial environment. Microsoft will support the initiative with its Student-to-Business programme (S2B) and Cisco will provide support through its Networking Academy programme, while UniNet will deliver broadband managed services using its locally developed converged services platform.
The programme is a ‘skills for employability’ effort, where graduates are employed for the duration of their training and internship period, possibly retaining them once qualified. It also strives to provide students with the key competencies they need to excel in their future jobs.
Of the contact centre staff already employed, 93% are youth, 86% are black, 47% are male and 53% are female. The positions filled by unemployed people represent 53% of the staff compliment with 93% being recruited from the Mangaung area.