Guests: Victoria Basinang – The Chief Technology Officer of Pointwest
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Segment Overview: Victoria Basinang, the Chief Technology Officer of Pointwest joins the podcast to talk about their roots, values, and long-term success as a 100% owned BPM company here.
Pointwest is one of the pioneers in the IT-BPM industry here in the Philippines, with experience for over a decade, they have instilled Filipino values in their work and cultivated a culture that gave great care to their employees and clients at the same time.
The culture that they cultivated has led their company to its own evolution, which has given them a long list of accomplishments that helps them stand out as a company that you should not only look at but be part of.
Makati Office – 12th Floor Citibank Center, 8741 Paseo de, Roxas
Quezon City Office – 3rd Floor Pointwest Building, UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub, Commonwealth Avenue
Contact: LOCAL – +632 814 1100 ; +632 814 1100 || [email protected]
Listen to our talk here:
– TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW –
Henry Acosta: Hi, this is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast and I am Henry Acosta, the host of the podcast. So our guest is Victoria Basinang or better known as Veck and she’s joining us today. She is the CTO or Chief Technology Officer at Pointwest Technologies. Pointwest Technologies, they are considered as one of the pioneers in the BPO industry here in the Philippines and she’s joining us today to talk about what has made them successful so far and how they’re doing and what they do. So with all that said, thank you so much for coming on the show Victoria and I appreciate your time.
Victoria Basinang: Good morning everyone.
Henry: Well to kick things off and to get everyone familiar with you in Pointwest, can you give us a brief intro about yourself Victoria? And tell us a little bit more about Pointwest Technologies.
Victoria: I’ll make this short and sweet. So Pointwest Technologies Corporation or simply known as “Pointwest,” because we have other subsidiaries, is a 100% Filipino owned IT-BPM company born and started in the Philippines in 2003. So we’re solid Pinoy. We’re also considered in the industry as the largest 100% Filipino owned IT-BPM company in the country. I’ll explain that later why the largest. Growing from eight way back in 2003 to more than 1,080 BPM professionals with more than 1 billion peso annual revenue since 2010 and servicing the global market.
Henry: Wow those are very impressive numbers. It’s an honor to have you guys on the show. I mean having been in the industry for over 15 years, I’m sure that’s a very impressive achievement for you guys. Congratulations.
Victoria: Thank you.
Henry: So can you tell us a little bit more about what you do at Pointwest Technologies?
Victoria: So before I answer your question Henry, let me just clarify the term “BPO.” I think now the politically correct word that’s circulating in the industry is “BPM.” Politically correct because outsourcing is a sort of a sensitive word for other markets especially the Western market. So right now, they prefer to call it “Business Process Management” or if we say BPO or BPM, by the definition of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, it’s defined as the delegation of service-type business process to a third-party service provider. So it’s a business-related operation that you outsource to a third-party provider maybe within your own country or to another country. And the industry or the BPO/BPM industry itself is divided into different sub-sectors, you have the first and foremost “Contact Centers” where the Philippines is the number one globally. You have back office services, such as accounting, financial risk management or knowledge processes. You have transcription when it started before or revenue management for healthcare. Then there’s engineering, game development, even animation. So Pointwest belong to the software development or software services combined with a little bit of business process management. That’s why I mentioned earlier that we’re the largest 100% Filipino-owned because we’re doing software services. Our clients are outsourcing their software development or custom development, maintenance, testing services to us and recently, we’ve launched our digital solutions and services. So when we say digital solutions and services, these are services or solutions that has to do with the newer technologies, like if you’ve heard about cloud, mobility, analytics, block chain or now we’re trying to delve into machine learning and AI. So those are the newer technologies that we are trying to do service with our clients and we’ve also developed our own software products and most of them are mobile applications that we make available in the iOS, and Android or Google Play stores. So it’s a varied service from what we call as the DM services or the Development and Maintenance Testing Services to Digital Solution Services as well as software products or packages.
Henry: Thank you for sharing that. “Outsourcing” is a very sensitive word, I agree with you. I guess from now on, I’ll be saying BPM instead of BPO and thanks for letting me know. So you mentioned about your services with Pointwest and you guys started out with just eight people. So what do you think has been a big factor in your guys’ success with clients and growing as a company?
Victoria: Our primary market is still North America with some clients coming from Australia, New Zealand and in the recent two years, Japan. So depending on the market, you encounter different competitors. So for example, if you serve the American market, or the Australian or European market, then you’d encounter India as your primary competitor in the software services because they’re still the number one. But I think while our challenge is primarily scale, of course how can you compete with the 1 billion population in terms of providing services? But I think our advantage as Filipinos is still our service orientation, it’s services after all. So we can compete head-to-head when we were pitted against them in a client. So Filipinos aside from being very good in speaking the language of the Western countries, we’re very good software engineers. So our challenge really is just when we’re asked to scale or provide a large number of software engineers, as we call them to our clients.
Henry: I agree with you there. The Philippines offers a lot of talent and the people I’ve talked to before they would tell me that their clients are very surprised with what the Philippines has to offer. I mean they first come in with a simple service and then they realize how complex the BPM industry is and they’ve seen good results.
Victoria: And I think one testament to that Henry is we see Indian companies establishing presence in the Philippines. So I think they’re taking advantage of the Filipino service orientation, whether it’s BPO, it’s contact center or it’s software development, to serve their own market. So it’s a testament to how good Filipinos are in terms of service-oriented business operations.
Henry: About your clients, how do you guys usually get them? Do you guys market yourselves online or do you guys get them mostly from referrals?
Victoria: What’s surprising is when we started Pointwest in 2003, we don’t have dedicated salespeople. So it’s really networking and word-of-mouth. For example, we have accounts that we started just by being recommended by a former executive that we served in one of our clients, so that’s how we grew. So you can say that we grew organically in our first 10 to 12 years but now, since with the advent of digital business or digital technology, digital disruption as we’re now calling it, we need to have focus in business development as well as sales to stay relevant in the market. So in a nutshell, we grew organically in the first 10 to 12 years but we’re now building our own business development and sales group to market our services and solutions.
Henry: Well that’s very impressive how you guys grew organically and it’s all Filipino. So I really admire you guys for supporting local talent and making sure they stay here.
Victoria: I think what our president wants is to establish a Filipino brand when it comes to IT software services/BPM sub-sector of the BPM industry.
Henry: And are your clients usually startups? What’s the usual size of your clients?
Victoria: We have currently and have had Fortune 500 clients from the U.S. We also serve the small to medium enterprises. So one example is for the small to medium enterprises, so say you’re a product owner, you have a concept of business and you have the funds but you don’t have the capability to build a product that you want to launch in the market and we can offer product development services. On the other extremes, we’ve served multinational airlines, and banks and healthcare companies. So in terms of serving the market, it’s extreme to extreme in terms of size.
Henry: Wow, I’m very impressed by you guys. And for those interested in finding you guys here in the Philippines, can you tell us where you guys are located?
Victoria: Yes, our headquarters is in the Philippines. So we just have sales office and in the U.S., no presence in Australia and New Zealand so we deal directly with our clients. Also in Japan, it’s the same way. So the strategy comes directly from the Philippines and in the Philippines, we have three delivery centers, the largest would be in UP Ayala Land TechnoHub. If you pass by Commonwealth, you will see Pointwest building beside the other buildings in TechnoHub. Then we have one in Makati where our headquarters is and the last would be in Tower 3 of Rockwell Business Center in Ortigas.
Henry: Awesome. And with regards to your location, have you ever had clients talk about your location and ask about the talent pool that you guys offer?
Victoria: Yes. We’ve had clients inquired if we want to relocate outside of Metro Manila. It has been considered before but for now, we’re sticking in the Metro Manila area. For talents, we have a pressure program, we have our own learning and development department or sort of our Pointwest University because we understand that there’s a gap between what’s being taught in the universities and what’s being used in the industry, because if you’re serving large companies, then you need to have global standards so you can compete with the competitors from different countries. So given that, we try to address the gap by having our own boot camps. So we have different curriculum for different technologies and roles that we offer. So from a fresh graduate in the university, they go through a two and a half bootcamp before being fielded to projects. So I think Pointwest, if you read the forums, is considered one of the best starting, shall we say when you’re starting your career, it’s one of the best place to start your career.
Henry: So it’s a great place to get your career started and have a jump start so to say.
Victoria: So what we offer is career. We’ve always say that you have a choice between being a small fish in a large pond or a big fish in a small pond. I mean relative to the size of the multinationals operating in the Philippines.
Henry: Since you guys are located in Manila and I’m sure clients, some of them wants to be hands-on with the people that they hire, do you guys have clients who have ever went to your offices and are they welcome to be hands-on and train their people that they hire?
Victoria: Yes, we’ve had those inquiries. But right now, we’re limiting the training to our own employees but our clients do visit us occasionally and it’s always an opportunity for us regardless of where they came from – U.S., Australia, or New Zealand or Japan – to showcase the Filipino culture because that’s one of the things that you need to address when you’re doing business process management or outsourcing to showcase the culture of the Philippines. And normally, we’re usually asked by DTI or the Board of Investment of DTI as a company where they bring companies thinking of investing in the Philippines, they usually ask us to entertain those visitors and present a sample case of a Filipino IT-BPM company.
Henry: That’s a great recommendation from the government itself. I’m sure you guys are great partners.
Victoria: And just a note, our senior leadership especially our president is very active in terms of participating in industry matters. In fact, Ms. Coronel, our first president is now the president of the HIMAP or Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines. It’s one of the sub-sectors of the BPM industry, as well as a Director for Philippine Software Industry Association of the Philippines in terms of capability development. So we cooperate with the government because in outsourcing, you need to sell the country first before you can sell the company.
Henry: I see, that’s the first time I’ve heard of that. So to wrap up the interview, I just wanted to ask, can you tell us where your physical location is at and do you have a takeaway message that you’d like to leave our listeners?
Victoria: Our headquarters is in Makati, Citibank Center, 12th Floor. And I think my takeaway message is IT-BPM industry is one of the largest contributor to the Philippine economy but I think one of the most misunderstood or an industry that’s very hard to explain to laymen. So in terms of selling the jobs associated with the industry is a challenge but in terms of profession, I mean personally, it’s a very fulfilling and lucrative profession. And just a note that Pointwest, as a company in terms of equality, we’re 50-50 when it comes to male-female population. So women power, Filipino power, Pinoy power, I think that’s the brand also that we’d like to tell the world about Pointwest.
Henry: Sounds great. I very much support you guys and thank you for sharing your time with us and giving us some insight on Pointwest. I think you guys are a great company and a lot of people should support you guys more since you’re 100% Filipino-owned.
Victoria: Thank you. Thank you also for giving us the opportunity to tell more about Pointwest.
Henry: Well that was Victoria Basinang, the Chief Technology Officer at Pointwest Technologies. We have just finished talking about Pointwest and how they are 100% Filipino-owned and what’s been the factor of their success in the past 15 years since they’ve been in operation since 2003 and they started out with only eight employees. If you want to get to know them more, please visit their website at pointwest.com.ph. If you like this interview, you can go ahead and visit our website at offshoring.com.ph and you can know more about the BPM industry here in the Philippines and find the companies that offer the services you might need. This is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast and I am Henry Acosta.