International Finance

ccc by stc: Empowering Saudi’s business growth via outsourcing

IFM_ ccc by stc
ccc offers comprehensive solutions designed to modernize financial businesses as per the outlook of the Saudi regime

ccc by stc is a Saudi Arabia-based leading Customer Experience Management provider, which is progressively pioneering the advancement of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country through local, digitized services with international standards such as COPC OSP standards.

While ccc empowers businesses in Saudi Arabia and beyond to strategically optimize operations for various service lines including Customer Lifecycle Management, HRO, F&A for multiple industry segments, it also boosts operational efficiency through an enriched experience to achieve more impactful and long-lasting business outcomes.

ccc is the subsidiary of Saudi Telecom (stc), the largest telecommunications provider in KSA and is headquartered in Riyadh. ccc operates from three strategic locations across the country, assisted by state-of-the-art facilities and technology that ensure the best quality, consistent services to its customers.

The company has employed more than 6,000 people, including 2,300 women, so far with a very high Saudization rate. With digital technology playing an increasingly important role within the large socio-economic set-up, ccc’s approaches make it well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities it holds. The company has a wide range of solutions spanning the entire spectrum of customer care, technology services, digital businesses, consulting, back office, and all other specialized services focused on ccc’s primary aim to provide customers with an enhanced experience.

How ccc envisions the future of BPO

BPOs enable companies to streamline their operations by undertaking most of the monotonous duties from their core teams, thus allowing them to focus on important responsibilities which result in increased productivity and higher cost reductions.

The industry is currently on the evolution path and here are some other key trends ccc thinks will happen in the Saudi’ outsourcing industry going forward:

Digitization will give BPO services a new lease of life

Digitization has broadened the range of services that the future of the BPO industry can provide. ‘Traditional’ outsourcing has declined as new technologies are offering newer alternatives.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is beginning to take over, supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can lead to more agile outsourcing services offering customers higher quality experiences. Technological advancements and solutions will change the way businesses interact, engage with their customers and fulfil their service obligations.

Automation will be a key driver

BPO providers will be aiming at automating first-level customer interactions and work processes with tech-like chatbots instead of completely relying on manual tasks. This will help lower attrition in the long term. Automation will greatly impact the type of services provided by BPOs.

Increased benefits of remote-work

During and post the COVID pandemic, remote/hybrid work culture has become the sort of the new normal. Going forward, BPOs will increasingly gain from utilizing part of the workforce as it can reduce a great number of physical overheads.

Push for right shoring

A combination of both onshore and offshore outsourcing models can optimize companies’ operational costs. Known as right shoring, the process involves outsourcing complex and higher-valued customer interactions onshore, while moving regular high-volume tasks to cheaper locations.

Promoting self-service systems

Traditional dialogue-based IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems with complex menu trees don’t meet the needs of the tech-savvy consumers of the 21st century. IVR systems are getting augmented with AI technology, thus significantly improving the efficacy of self-service systems.

Newer BPO specialities

The BPO sector will adopt new trends like the Outsourcing of Knowledge Processes (KPO), Outsourcing Legal Services (LPO), Research Process Outsourcing (RPO), services aided by Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES).

The BOP industry will continue to be a customer-centric one and the changes and new trends here will all be based on customer experiences. There is a growing demand for CX consulting services, thus providing new growth avenues of growth for contact centres.

While omnichannel service delivery and customer analytics solutions are the key trends shaping the future of CX, a few other important aspects for delivering top-notch customer experience and differentiating it from competitors are providing personalized services, having efficient addressing of issues, and gaining the customer trust through accuracy and follow-ups.

Enterprises are increasingly looking to partner with operators who are not only capable of embracing the customer-centric approach but also can proactively suggest innovative solutions for transforming their CX operations.

BPOS need to focus on three global trends that are improving customer experience:

CX consulting: Several operators are expanding their portfolio to offer CX consulting services – from conceptualization to integration and implementation of comprehensive customer-centric solutions to enhance CX.

Omnichannel CX: Customers are now relying on multiple interactive platforms to connect with businesses and this approach focuses on having consistent communications and engagements across all channels.

CX analytics: This is the key in getting the context on-point for every customer interaction. It also captures the most updated customer insights, helping enterprises make strategic decisions on products and services.

The current situation in KSA

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) these days have to face immense pressures, given the economic environment and the changing global landscapes. Apart from meeting the dual mandates of leading their financial functions with digital transformation, these professionals also need to ensure that their organizations accelerate on the progress path.

This factor is guiding businesses now to use outsourcing, in order to drive transformational changes, improve business results, and create profit-driving platforms. ‘Vision 2030’ is about building a strong, thriving, and stable Saudi Arabia that provides fair economic opportunity for all. Another pillar of this vision is the determination to become a global investment powerhouse based on the idea that the country holds strong capabilities and these can be harnessed to stimulate the economy and diversify revenues.

There’s an appetite for outsourcing customer care services and the key drivers behind this are improving effectiveness and saving cost. Saudi has a price-sensitive market and this factor makes many BPO service providers enter a price-war mode to gain a larger market share. On the other hand, a large segment of the market is not quality-driven, especially retail, hospitality, and food.

Thus, clients will evaluate the BPO providers on the prices in higher weightage over the services’ quality. Industries like banking and finance (BFSI) and government services used to be the greatest consumers of BPO services. However, recently, the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance Council (CCHI) and National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) put pressure on the BFSI sector to insource the BPO services and nationalize the expertise.

Having said that, manpower-based services will witness increased adoption by the government, like facility management, paid parking management, and revenue-sharing business. These types of activities will help further BPO services by some service providers.

That apart, some of the other high-growth verticals are:

E-commerce, which has a 41.0% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) currently, will continue to grow, but not at the same pace as online shopping becoming mainstream. The market would witness increased competition and the existing platforms will become more efficient in order to deliver better customer service.

Healthcare at 31.6% CAGR as the Ministry of Health deployed several applications and services, apart from increasing its contact centre capacity to respond to citizens’ queries related to the COVID-19 medical consultation. The privatization of hospitals will drive the contact centre business both in voice and digital formats.

The government at 15.7% CAGR is looking to rebound from the fall in oil prices and the pandemic, and will invest in the contact centre to cater for the high demand for new services in tourism, culture, sports and investment.

The moderate growth verticals are:

Retail and wholesale at 9.4% CAGR were heavily impacted by COVID, as the pandemic and the resultant social distancing norms refrained consumers from visiting retail shops and diverted them towards e-commerce. Businesses in this field will be under continuous pressure, as they will be forced to opt for cost-cutting measures including renegotiation of outsourcing contracts.

Travel and transport at 7.4% CAGR will have to contend with the large contracts in aviation which will be subjected to heavy negotiation. The sector growth will be supported by the contracts for metro Riyadh and public transportation.

The energy sector at 7.0% CAGR is mainly manpower outsourcing driven. The falling oil prices will result in heavy negotiations with contact centres and BPO providers.

Others at 7.7% CAGR include automotive, pharmaceutical, real estate, manufacturing, agriculture, media, and entertainment. The drop in 2020 was majorly driven by sectors like entertainment and automotive, which will turn to digital channels to serve their clients. Currently, utility, hospitality, BFSI and telecom are the slowest growing verticals, thus needing steady revival efforts.

Talking about outsourcing, CFOs are still the key decision-makers. Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing a growing demand for front-office process outsourcing. Over 77% of the spending can be attributed to front-office processes while around 23% can be attributed to back-office activities ’outsourcing. The front-office outsourcing market will grow at a five-year CAGR of 10.2% while the back-office market, although small, will grow at a CAGR of 9.5% in the same timeframe.

The aim is to improve the business environment, so that the economy grows and flourishes, driving healthier employment opportunities and long-term prosperity. This promise is built on cooperation and on mutual responsibility, and ccc has chosen to step in to help the country attain this vision. The ccc F&A spectrum of services can provide businesses with next-generation capabilities, digital playbooks, and underlying systems that can help their clients to optimize their finance functions and create financial intelligence.

The company also leverages technology, automation, industry and domain expertise to digitally transform F&A (Finance and Accounting) into the value addition of its client enterprises so that these businesses can grow and attract global investments. ccc also offers comprehensive solutions designed to modernize financial businesses as per the outlook of the Saudi regime.

Outsourcing Finance & Accounting for KSA’s business growth

Having a CFO professional to handle the bookkeeping and accounting work is something which remains on top of any company’s priority list. The reason big businesses are choosing to outsource their F&A activities lies in the fact that this option gives them access to highly-skilled, well-trained and knowledgeable financial expertise, which in turn, helps these enterprises to ensure smooth operations, faster growth and improved cash-flows.

Having an outsourced F&A activity also helps businesses to focus on their core functions and move up the value chain ladder. The choice is between an advanced outsourced accounting team and customized controller/CFO services, but the point here is that the particular activity will transform the concerned business’s finance functions and maintain foolproof accounting, which will help the enterprise to generate a solid brand name.

Having an outsourced F&A activity gives businesses better cost-saving options and a sound ability to solve capacity issues. Some of the other advantages are:

Access to F&A expertise: Outsourcing helps businesses to access the specialized knowledge of highly trained accountants/finance professionals. These individuals have the experience and expertise to produce the best results, irrespective of whatever businesses they are working in.

Higher time and cost savings: Outsourcing is cheaper, as you don’t have to face the prospect of facing overhead expenses, which is faced by businesses in case they are hiring and maintaining a team of dedicated in-house staff to handle the bookkeeping job. Also, the employees get spared from these mundane tasks and they can use this extra time to give priority to solving other operational issues.

Increased scaling ability: Outsourcing F&A gives businesses the ability to scale up or down their operations based on the workloads. Businesses can increase or decrease the number of people working on projects and not be bound by time or cost constraints to deliver as per clients’ needs.

Better business intelligence & business continuity: An outsourced accounting team gives businesses the element of proactivity as financial experts can spot red flags beforehand and offer appropriate solutions.

The role of digital finance & outsourcing

Some of the commonly outsourced services are payroll accounting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. However, most businesses are now eyeing more strategic and high-level functions such as budgets, forecasts and internal audits. That’s where Digital Finance & Outsourcing comes into the picture.

This solution has the technological advantage, as it brings from Robotic Process Automation (RPA), automated bill payments, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, apart from being adaptable towards global operating models that help companies save on time and resources of manual F&A.

Digital Finance & Outsourcing is, however, not supposed to replace the manual finance functions in the client companies. It’s more about the effective harmony between the man and the machine, which in turn, will help companies to work more on operations and sales while ensuring that their daily mundane and repetitive financial tasks are being taken care of consistently.

Digital finance depends on proven cloud technology solutions that provide comprehensive finance resolutions, starting from key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, to financial reporting automation, in order to ensure timely and accurate outcomes. Digital Finance & Outsourcing simplifies and standardizes processes to enable companies to develop better benchmarks and meet regulatory requirements faster.

Digital finance advisors also leverage tech to advise clients about how to further their offerings and make them more convenient and accessible to make the digital transformations of businesses a solid one. Ideally, digital transformation through outsourcing should look at enhancing processes in three key areas: automation, analytics and collaboration. Finance companies should look towards SaaS (Software as a service) solutions, cloud migration, and other innovative technologies to assist in the digitization of their finance functions.

A digital finance department of any company brings these advantages:

Reduced error margins: With digital F&A, teams get a 360-degree view of their data which makes human errors easier to identify. Also, the data gets updated into a centralized system which makes for better compliance.

Enhanced security: A digitalized system helps businesses to store sensitive data within secure cloud-based systems, and also offers SaaS solutions devised for finance functions that offer sophisticated security processes.

Advanced analytics: Digital finance can give businesses access to advanced analytics by leveraging AI, real-time data processing and innovative machine learning.

Improved employee performance: Digital tools replace the repetitive, tedious tasks that slowdown employee performance and helps to streamline processes such as vendor management, cash flow forecasting, accruals, and audit preparation.

Irrespective of their sizes, businesses have reached a point where they have realized that it pays to collaborate with trusted, proven BPOs that can help make these enterprises optimize operations and make workflows workable, so that these businesses can stay resilient and relevant.

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