Blagovest Kirilov, CEO of OutsourceBG Services, tells us more about how the company started, its vision and values.
What is the goal of Оutsource.bg? Why is there a need for such online place?
The online portal Outsource.bg was started at a time when outsourcing was becoming a "negative" word, implying cost saving and few development opportunities, where many young graduates started drifting off towards getting a job abroad rather than in Bulgaria, the consequences of which are still felt today.
We started the portal as a motivation centre, giving current and potential employees all across Bulgaria working in the BPO sector a collection of learning materials, links to inspirational stories as well as articles compiled by their peers, showing the opportunities and benefits of staying in Bulgaria and developing in this sector. We also conducted several surveys the results of which we shared on the portal, providing insights into the development of the sector. Bulgaria's BPO sector, representing a mix of local as well as international companies focused on providing best-in-class services to customers across the globe, offers great opportunities for everyone wanting to make an impact with innovation and knowledge, and we like to showcase this on a constant basis.
How often do you update the information in it?
Information is updated once we create an interesting article or find links to materials we think are worth sharing. The focus in the portal, as with all our services, is on quality, not quantity.
Tell us more about your company's history and the professionals in it?
The portal started with five specialists creating content for it. All of them came from BPO companies in Bulgaria, having held different positions and being eager to share their experience. This is how our story started – as a means of helping peers, and it achieved quick growth – with our partnership with universities in Bulgaria, we started providing different trainings, allowing students to dig into technologies and certifications as a beginning of their future careers. The next step came as a logical consequence – the company started its own services branch, growing our number of professionals and focusing on acquiring first customers. At the same time, we began building up our next generation employees, starting whilst they were still in university and working closely with them to have the right skillset in order to receive the jobs they envisioned themselves in and, more importantly, to give them all the knowledge and tools to be successful in it.
As all beginnings, it was not easy and different challenges needed to be overcome on a daily basis, but with constant motivation and strive for success, our team currently consists of over 50 members with various international certifications in IT and project management, providing services for leading companies across Europe in different sectors. We also invested in innovation with blockchain technology services and processes for automated handling and categorisation of big data. In 2018, the company started a subsidiary in Germany, EurIT Services GmbH, where Bulgarian and German IT professionals work locally for our customers. Currently, we're in the process of kicking-off our newest service, hiring.bg, to be utilised as a new advanced way of recruiting talented professionals in the BPO sector for Bulgaria and Europe.
What trends do you see in outsourcing industry in Bulgaria in 2019?
Over the last ten years, Bulgaria has established itself as a proven outsourcing destination, and continues to follow the global trends in the industry. Being in the EU with a multilingual and tech-savvy workforce, the country has a very good prospect of receiving more and more BPO business in the years to come. Going forward, the requirement for talented specialists for outsourced customer services will rise further, as companies are shifting more of their internal processes from in-house teams to outsourcing providers.
Cost is still one of the main deciding factors, but the relationship between client and vendors steps ever more in the foreground, especially with process automation and a requirement for working as partners on each assignment, sharing risks and having quality as the main driver rather than only cost.
Quality as a goal will require new relationships, where more and more core businesses could be outsourced, providing also new contract models for multi-vendor outsourcing and cooperation. Moreover, new, smarter software-products are being developed and implemented into companies, reducing workload and aligning each action towards value analysis and reporting.
Trust will be a keyword for upcoming relationships, as a growing number of processes will be merged into a single automated ecosystem which needs to be maintained in order to add value for the companies. In addition, given the growing number of cloud services by the day, providers as well as internal company processes will need to focus more and more towards security and pro-active monitoring.
Workforce will be shifted from repeating tasks to value-add services which require specific skillsets with ever more automation models being implemented. This is coupled with a skilled workforce shortage faced by companies in the last years, as employees tend to shift from one company to another and fresh staff are harder to come by. Universities can't fill the new openings with candidates, who additionally need appropriate training before they can be utilized effectively. Retention of skilled workers and training the remaining workforce in preparation for upcoming requirements will be key aspects for each company that wants to remain active in the outsourcing market. This includes new social packages, ways of providing continuous improvement of skills and different approaches to the workplace – from home-office work to knowledge-sharing sessions between team-members, focusing on trustworthy teams and not only competition.
Recruitment will also need to adapt to the changing environment. Automation of the hiring process with artificial intelligence supporting the reviewers in their sorting and ranking of candidates together with meeting all mandatory legal requirements and GDPR as well as new smart tools for interviews and scoring of applicants will be implemented so that companies can hire the best suited candidates for each position and candidates can receive skill-based relevant offers instead of generic jobs. Turnover will be harder to cover if the average workforce needs a higher base skill level to perform their assigned tasks. This will also lead to a new way of handling candidates sourced from external recruitment agencies, with more planning required and more transparent relationships. Companies are also more actively starting relationships with universities to include the base skills required in the BPO industry in the lectures and training programs so that potential candidates can be assessed and prepared even before starting their careers, and also as a motivation tool for them to apply for a job in each area.
To summarise, outsourcing will continue to grow in the future in Bulgaria. Given the ever rising competition, vendors will need to be more innovative and quality oriented, utilising the edge of technology for their services in order to stay afloat, whereas companies will have more choice when it comes to whom to outsource their processes, forming new collaborations and opportunities for growth. Specialists will be given more control of which skills they want to develop and a chance to improve and use them actively.
Insights from our team
"We value a transparent end-to-end processes. This is why we've focused on providing insights from business experiences, culture and values as well as a clear communication path between candidates and employers for any job position. Thus, we focus on the people and their strengths, showcasing how to utilize them for their and their companies' benefit."
IT Support Lead
"With our services you remain in control of your IT, getting also the benefit of an outsourced, highly skilled workforce. We rely on best practices for best-in-class service delivery, quality and IT-governance. We’re set on long-term partnerships, based on visibility, mutual trust and competitive pricing for highest quality standards."
"A highly motivated team is the key building block of any successful customer service. At OutsourceBG Services, we value the individual contribution and pro-active innovation, creating a highly flexible environment focused on thinking outside the box and focusing on solutions instead of problems."
OutsourceBG Services Ltd
Bul. Andrei Saharov 23
1784 Sofia, Bulgaria