ACE BPO Case Study
Philippines credit cooperative accelerates growth of new outsourcing business with Asian-first virtualized Unified Communications and Contact Center solutions
ACE BPO’s exponential growth plans supported by ShoreTel UC and Enterprise Contact Center solution
ACE BPO is a business division of Abucay Multi-Purpose Cooperative (‘AMPC’), a credit cooperative founded in 1999 to provide savings and lending services to members from the Abucay region in the province of Bataan, Philippines. The cooperative currently manages more than 300 million pesos on behalf of its 3000 plus members, with revenues generated by the business used to support community initiatives, such as education and housing programs.
In 2015, AMPC decided to diversify its business and invest in the rapidly-growing business process outsourcing (BPO) space. With agriculture the dominant industry in Bataan, many of the region’s younger generation were leaving the community to work in the big cities like Manila. ACE BPO (the AMPC Center of Excellence Bataan Peninsula Outsourcing) was established to provide local employment opportunities for young people, with 100 million pesos earmarked to building a BPO operation that will eventually scale to 1800 agents.
Technical Challenges of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
To ensure optimal cost efficiencies, maximum flexibility, standardization and the highest levels of data security, ACE BPO designed and implemented a Dell™ Wyse™ virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. ShoreTel’s solution, together with Dell VDI, integrated seamlessly, providing faster time to value, and reducing overall total cost of ownership.
This deployment of a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE unified communications and contact center solution on a Dell VDI environment is a technical first in Asia.
For the VDI solution, all the applications and the complete compute function, including hard drive and operating system, run entirely on the server.
However, ACE BPO encountered some serious challenges when it came to choosing a telephony and contact center solution to work as part of the VDI environment, as there is no configuration possible on the agent’s desktop. “All the setup is in the server, even down to how much RAM and processing power we give to each desktop device,” explained Mr Armando Osias, Managing Director, ACE BPO.
“WE ARE OPERATING WITH ABOUT 95% INBOUND AND 5% OUTBOUND CALLS AND, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE ON OUR SHORETEL PLATFORM, THAT IS VERY EASY FOR US TO CHANGE. WE CAN RECONFIGURE AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT IN FIVE MINUTES.”
Mr Armando Osias, Managing Director
“All the setup is in the server, even down to how much RAM and processing power we give to each desktop device,” explained Mr Armando Osias, Managing Director, ACE BPO.
“That caused a lot of issues with all three telephony providers we approached for a soft phone and contact center solution. Avaya, Cisco and ShoreTel clients couldn’t be installed on a Dell VDI solution like ours – they needed a local operating system and each client to have its own MAC address.”
“We were told by each of the vendors that we needed 1800 hard drives!”
Of the three vendors consulted by ACE BPO, ShoreTel was best positioned to work with Dell on a solution. Local technical staff from ShoreTel and Dell successfully collaborated on research and development, and completed a proof of concept for 50 agents, which was put into production by ACE BPO for two of its Australian clients and a third outsourcing client based in the US.
“As a result of ShoreTel’s innovation, we are now able to implement one telephony image and one client across 1800 devices,” said Mr Osias.
Opportunity to meet growing capacity demands
The successful proof of concept gave ACE BPO the confidence to say ‘yes’ when one of the world’s largest telecommunications providers asked the outsourcer if it was able to deliver a service with 500 agents. That requirement has quickly expanded to 1000 seats and is now expected to scale to 1800 by the end of 2016.
The benefits of integrating the UC components as part of the VDI solution are much greater than just scale, explained Mr Osias. “We have the flexibility to move anyone in the company anywhere without any setup needed. If we need to grow our customer retention or billing operations from 20 to 50 agents, we can do that immediately.”
It’s also enabled ACE BPO to deliver unprecedented levels of security in relation to its clients’ data. There are no local drives on the agent’s desktop, no ability to transmit or save data externally, and all desktops are reset when the agent logs in on their next shift. The environment is fully redundant, with 99.99% availability and a full disaster recovery and business continuity set up in a separate facility.
With the solution in place, ACE BPO can offer its clients a 24x7 operation, optimizing space by assigning two agents per workstation, and can maintain simplicity in its operational design. “Currently we only need eight agent profiles set up for our eight departments,” said Mr Osias. ACE BPO’s main offerings are contact center services such as billing and collection, data entry and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), with a number of premium services in development.
“We are operating with about 95% inbound and 5% outbound calls and, like everything else on our ShoreTel platform, that is very easy for us to change. We can reconfigure an altogether different environment in five minutes,” said Mr Osias.
“AS A RESULT OF SHORETEL’S INNOVATION, WE ARE NOW ABLE TO IMPLEMENT ONE TELEPHONY IMAGE AND ONE CLIENT ACROSS 1800 DEVICES.”
Core Unified Communications and Enterprise Contact Center Functionality
ACE BPO has been able to take advantage of all the core features of ShoreTel’s IP telephony and Unified Communications solution, utilizing ShoreTel’s softphone client on the agent’s desktop, with a Plantronics USB headset as standard for each workstation.
ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center has been deployed, with ACE BPO utilizing the solution’s extensive supervisor monitoring and reporting tools, and its integration capabilities with third party call recording and predictive dialer solutions.
“I’m a believer in the ShoreTel platform,” said Mr Osias. “Throughout the design of our ACE BPO operations we have held to the highest quality standards for our physical space, our technology, processes, infrastructure, and telephone system. ShoreTel provides us with the solid baseline we need for all our unified communications and contact center functions.”
After officially launching its operations on 10 February 2016, ACE BPO is now expecting to be at 1800 agents by the end of the year. That means the company will be bringing on an average of 200 new staff every month.
Most importantly, this new outsourcing operation will play a significant role in providing a meaningful career path for the region’s younger generation as well as attracting people back to Bataan who had left to find work in bigger cities in both the Philippines and abroad.
“Our people are more than just employees earning a salary. They also become part-owners in our business as members of our cooperative,” said Mr Osias.
ACE BPO is expecting to see a return on investment (ROI) on the entire cost of setting up the business – which includes the construction of ACE BPO’s office buildings – within three years – with future profits benefiting the local community.
“With the success of ACE BPO, we will be able to invest more money in education, scholarships and housing programs, and return more money to our members through increased dividends,” concluded Mr Osias.
Complete functionality in a highly virtualized desktop environment
Ability to rapidly scale operations
Flexibility to easily reconfigure environment and redeploy agents
Reliable and easy-to-manage telephony environment
Extensive monitoring and reporting features
Cost savings on infrastructure and IT administration