Ocular set to cash in on SA’s rising BPO status

Ocular Technologies, a contact centre solutions provider, is banking on South Africa’s expected rising status in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/ off-shoring success, to boost its earnings.

In an interview with BusinessTech, group CEO, Pommie Lutchman, highlighted turnover for the group of R31 million for the full-year to February 2012, and forecast a substantial rise to R42 million for the full year, ending February 2013.

Ocular Technologies currently supports ± 2,000 agents, spread over 18 different sites, as well as one site with 10 separate satellite centres countrywide.

“South Africa is poised to be the next global BPO/ off-shoring success. India and the Philippines are slowly starting a downturn in BPO business due to a number of factors.

“We, as an industry, are pursuing large-scale initiatives to drive this potential business and should we succeed, will allow South African contact centre vendors, technologists and innovators the opportunity to become a global player in the BPO marketplace in the shortest of timeframes,” Lutchman opined.

The group head said Ocular will spend between R3 million and R5 million in capex during the course of 2012.

“Social Media Integration into the enterprise seems to be the focus of companies wanting to take advantage of consumer-driven data and applications. We already have a solution for this, and plan to market it aggressively to the public in the near future,” Lutchman said.

The chief executive said he is mostly excited about the emergence of new technological innovations, and the consolidation of a national effort to increase offshore business in our sector. This, coupled with the chaos in the marketplace around vendors and suppliers in the sector, will drive companies like Ocular to the forefront, he said.

Operating within the current economic environment, Lutchman said “having multi-national clients who are feeling the pinch of the global recession is not the most comfortable position to be in.

“In the past two years, we have been squeezed for discounts; asked by many for a reduction in yearly maintenance charges; and are always having to negotiate terms on payments, regardless of customer type, size or industry.

However, he added that being a 100% South African, privately-owned company, affords Ocular the advantage of being able to offer customised solutions and financial models to existing and prospective clients.

This is without the trouble that some direct competitors face – either due to being part of a multi-national enterprise, or being a company with various diverse shareholders, public or private, that would dictate the business for- and on behalf of the management team.

“This is a mammoth advantage that has proven itself time and time again,” he concluded.

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Ocular set to cash in on SA’s rising BPO status