What you need to know about Trinidad's IT–BPO opportunities
This year's report by Tholons, the leading strategic advisory firm for global outsourcing and investments, on the value proposition for an expanded and globally competitive IT-BPO industry in Trinidad and Tobago deserves another mention.
Commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) a few months ago, the report, Trinidad and Tobago: Exploring Opportunities in the Global IT Services Market, considers Trinidad’s challenges — small market size, comparatively higher entry-level salaries and office space rental costs — against its many strengths.
By looking at its strong economic performance, robust infrastructure and cost competitiveness, among other things, Tholons concluded that Trinidad stood to realise significant benefits “through its exploration into the services outsourcing industry.”
Tholons pinpoints Trinidad’s geographic advantage given its location at the gateway to the Americas, specifically, the US to the north and the expanding Latin America markets in the south.
In economic stability, the report noted the country’s continued focus on diversification of the economy to non-energy sectors in a bid to minimise any fallout from contracting energy revenues.
It also endorsed the high scores Trinidad got in the latest Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Freedom, particularly in the quality of our management schools and overall educational system and in laws and policies aimed at protecting foreign investors.
Given its small size, labour pool scalability presented a challenge to Trinidad’s success as an IT-BPO destination, but, according to Tholons, a high literacy rate of 99 per cent mitigated such factors. The report goes on to state:
“Although in absolute scale, Trinidad and Tobago only churns out about 7,000 annual tertiary graduates from 81 higher education institutions (HEI’s), the country has higher concentration of graduates, accounting to 531 graduates per 100,000 people. Compared to mature outsourcing destination like India, Trinidad and Tobago has nearly 100% greater concentration of graduates.”
The energy sector has certainly skewed Trinidad’s GDP per capita upward, but, on the other hand, it has been the driver of physical development of the core infrastructure across the country.
The telecommunications network, in particular, is modern and well-developed.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011: Transformations 2.0 which measured different countries on the basis of Information and Communication Technologies, Trinidad ranked 63 out of 138, better than most Latin America and Caribbean countries.
It's one reason global powerhouses like Fujitsu, Microsoft and IBM have been running successful operations in Trinidad for years.
An additional boost comes by way of government support for the ICT sector. Policymakers have identified ICT as a key sector for development in segments like data processing, hosting, disaster recovery, systems design and animation.
The push now is to achieve an overhaul of public sector operations and the recent commissioning of the single electronic window TTBizLink to simplify the process of getting licenses and business registrations is a step in this direction.
The Tholons report is incisive. Read it in full for a thorough understanding of Trinidad's IT-BPO potential.