Pioneer outsourcing firm invests in new BGC hub, eyes expansion

Chris Schnabel

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Pioneer outsourcing firm invests in new BGC hub, eyes expansion
B&M Global Services Manila invests in a 1,000-seat hub as it aims to add people and services to keep up with demand

MANILA, Philippines – B&M Global Services Manila Incorporated, one of the pioneers in the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, marked its 15th anniversary in the Philippines by investing in a new hub in Bonifacio Global City.

B&M Global Services Manila is the shared services center of international law firm Baker & McKenzie (B&M), providing support to the firm’s 77 offices worldwide. It was established in 2000 and now employs over 800 people.

B&M Global Services Manila’s new investment stemmed from its plan to expand staff and services, said the company’s executive director Gabriel Pardo.

The new hub occupies 3 floors at the BCG Corporate Center in Taguig City. It has a current capacity of 780 seats with the potential for 280 more.

“We’ve grown at a sustained rate of about 10% per year for the last few years. With the new office, we now have a capacity of 780 seats and we can grow to over a thousand seats, given current growth that can be filled in the next 3 to 4 years,” Pardo said at an event marking the milestone on Wednesday, March 9.

He disclosed that the investment in the new hub was between $5 million (P233.6 million) and $10 million (P467.2 million).

B&M has moved office several times in the past few years as it expanded before settling into its new office. “This was our opportunity to consolidate and plan for the future. The chances are very good that we’re going to exceed our expansion of 1,000 seats,” Pardo explained.

As for services, Pardo noted that growth is expected in the billing and finance support sector due to sustained demand.

The BPO sector continues to be a hotspot for the country, generating revenues of around $22 billion (P1.027 trillion) last year. It is estimated to provide 1.3 million jobs and contribute 8% to the country’s GDP.

“We are always looking for different types of talent depending on the opportunity in front of us. We want people who want a long-term career and who are interested in working with a full spectrum of business processes,” Pardo said.

OPENING. B&M Global Services Manila head Gabriel Pardo poses ahead of the ceremonial opening of the firm's new BGC hub.

Enhanced services

“Global Services Manila is somewhat unique in the non-voice BPO field. It’s BPO in the sense that it provides different support services to the firm’s 77 offices, but it’s also a knowledge process offshore that’s an integral part of our offshore center,” said Craig Courter, chief operating officer of B&M.

Aside from the Manila office, B&M also has two similar business support centers in Chicago and Belfast, Ireland, with all 3 providing largely the same functions.

“At its essence, it’s part of the global support team … providing services such as network monitoring, finance and billing, talent management, software development,  IT helpdesks, knowledge management, and creative services,” Courter explained.

“When we started in 2000, we started it for cost saving, but we quickly found that extremely well-educated, English-speaking teammates that coupled with the relatively low cost allowed us to do much more than we could have,” he added.

The development team in Global Services Manila was responsible for creating a map app for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry that gives clients the various legal codes, sector issues, and real-time updates in each of the 77 countries B&M has a presence in. The app won the 2015 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers award for Most Innovative Technology.

The Manila office also plays a lead role in developing B&M’s digital intellectual property portfolio management system, which manages the renewals of B&M clients’ trademarks.

Global Services Manila also builds research indexes that compile different legal codes around the world, such as environmental standards or privacy laws.

Noting these, Courter said that the “Manila office has become a multiplier for the firm that includes accountants, developers, researchers, lawyers, web and database designers, and other diverse fields.”

He added: “There’s a bias in our organization and with me personally, and I’m the one who makes hiring decisions, that Manila is a prime place to hire people because of the experience we’ve had here. We’ve seen good results.” – 

$1 = P46.74

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