US election: Down to the wire

Michael Alan Hamlin

After winning a historic landslide election four years ago, US President Barack Obama learned Wednesday morning in Manila that his tight race for reelection—which few imagined even 12 months back when his opponent was locked in an uninspiring battle for the Republican Party nomination—returned him to the White House for what Republican candidate Mitt Romney calls “a second chance” to fix America. Mr. Obama says failure to reelect him would have resulted in a return to the failed and largely unregulated free-market policies of former president George W. Bush.

The irony of that argument is that Mr. Obama’s policies haven’t worked too well, either.

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Posted on November 9, 2012 | Posted in Business, Culture, IT-BPO, News, Politics | No Comments

Starting a business in the Philippines

Michael Alan Hamlin

There’s been so much good news coming out of the Philippines in recent months—three upgrades by international ratings agencies; Finance secretary Cesar Purisma was named 2012 Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney; the economy is forecast to be the sixth fastest-growing in the world between 2010 and 2050; there’s a new, credible peace agreement in the south; IT-BPO looks set to attain its stretch target of $25 billion in revenues in 2016; and, competitiveness is on the rise according to the World Economic Forum—that it was a bit of shock last week when the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and The World Bank announced that it’s still too difficult to set up a business here.

And it got tougher this year, not easier.

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Posted on November 3, 2012 | Posted in Business, IT-BPO, News, Politics | No Comments

Building Philippine competitiveness

Michael Alan Hamlin

FORTUNE magazine recently called Harvard Business School (HBS) professor and competitiveness guru Michael E. Porter “the most famous and influential business professor who has ever lived.” Mr. Porter devised the “diamond model” of competitiveness, which companies all over the world rely on to develop competitive strategies. But his influence extends beyond corporate competitiveness. The Harvard icon has also written extensively on national competitiveness as well.

Mr. Porter and a number of his HBS colleagues are now deeply immersed in the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project, an undertaking “unlike anything the school has attempted” with a specific goal: “making the U.S. more competitive.” Writing in FORTUNE with project co-leader Prof. Jan Rivkin, the two academics note that “America’s feeble economy reminds us every day that our global competitiveness is in trouble,” and they ask, “Whose fault is that?”

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Posted on October 24, 2012 | Posted in Business, Education, IT-BPO, News, Politics | No Comments

Healthcare Information Management: Set to soar

Michael Alan Hamlin

Healthcare information management (HIM)—a sector of the IT-BPO industry—grew more than 170% last year, employed almost 25,000 mostly healthcare professionals, and generated close to $300 million in revenue. Those numbers pale compared to the IT-BPO industry overall, which will generate more than $13 million this year and employ 770,000 Filipinos in a wide variety of voice and non-voice sectors.

But HIM is not only the fastest-growing sector of the IT-BPO industry, it has huge revenue and job-generating potential for Filipino healthcare professionals. According to international market research firm MarketsandMarkets, HIM is growing at an annual rate of 21.4% and will become a $330 billion dollar industry by 2016, making it substantially larger than the IT-BPO industry, which is forecast to grow to $260 million that year by Everest.

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Posted on October 20, 2012 | Posted in Business, Education, IT-BPO, Lifestyle, News | No Comments

IT-BPO: Thanks, Mr. President, and there’s more to do

Michael Alan Hamlin

“Mr. President, we have three main messages for you,” Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) chairman Alfredo Ayala said Tuesday afternoon in remarks welcoming Philippine President Benigo S. Aquino III to the International Outsourcing Summit (IOS). “Thank you, so far so good, and what lies ahead.” 2012 has been another banner year for the Philippine IT-BPO industry, and the industry is increasingly well positioned to address the inevitable challenges ahead, in significant part because of an effective partnership with government.

During the three-day IOS—the fourth in a series of annual meetings—BPAP officials announced that industry revenues are expected to reach US$13.4 billion this year, a 22% increase from $11 billion in 2011. Direct employment will increase to more than 770,000, up from 638,000 at the end of last year. Next year, IT-BPO revenues—including voice and non-voice services—is projected to reach $16 billion and the industry to employ 926,000 Filipinos.

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Posted on October 17, 2012 | Posted in Business, Culture, Education, IT-BPO, Lifestyle, News, Politics | No Comments