Yes, without further ado, I start with my main gripe of the month. It has been growing for months now and now the cup overfloweth.
In a nutshell, the Kenya Business Process Outsourcing and Contact Centre Society rates according to mr. maneno (myself) as the worst imitation of a society ever to grace this earth. Ok. Strong beginning, I know so let us start slowly.
I joined the KBPOCC as I think the acronyms are (at the hefty price of kshs. 35,000 – which for a start up is no joke) because i believe and in my past experiences as an accountant and a project manager, societies are crucial. As a matter of fact, this particular society would be very important in my view because i would expect it to open doors for me in places that i couldn’t, i would expect that it would develop my capacity as a bpo operator, and that it would link me to other like minded operators and with clients.
My experience on joining was that I had the chairman and another member of the executive start by selling me some @magic software in their company capacity of course, with the solemn promise that if i did, i would be assured work for sure – the investment outlay for the software was in excess of kshs. 3 million at the end of the day. Thankfully i did not go into that because i sought advice from good operators who told me i don’t need to spend that kind of money.
But I joined the society even though the integrity of the executive had hints of doubt in my mind and set up my business.
Since then, I have not had one word from that society and its executive. I have not seen where my money and that of the other members has gone. I have heard that people went for trips – e.g. outsource world conference last year etc. but not once has the society invited me to join. Only members of the executive went – facilitated by the Kenya ICT Board (by the way).
Even in local events such as the Aitec Conference at the end of last year, we saw their businesses – Skyweb Evan (Chairman’s), Oriak Digital (Treasurer – who by the way was fully sponsored by the board to have a stand as a needy SME – as was I) and others. Interestingly, there was no KBPOCC stand in sight. It was there at the beginning but since they put up nothing some small time BPO guys from Kimathi took it over.
Speaking of that stands business: you would think that the BPO society would call for entries telling us that the stands were up for grabs. But such as it was, the society executive was asleep right through. The ad caling for entries was the Kenya ICT Board’s, the stands were sponsored by the board and even during the event, we had Al Kags of the Kenya ICT Board, Eunice Kariuki (deputy CEO in charge of marketing) and even Paul Kukubo (the CEO of the Board) checking up on us and finding out how we were fairing. Not once did the executives come and check on us. We saw them imbibing info at the conference networking heavily.
The Board organised for filming by the Kenya Film guys, brought the international guests around – more than once Al Kags brought people over to the stands and introduced them to us – one of whom actually became a good lead for my business! I never did thank them for the hard work they did.
If one looked at the presentation that the Kenya ICT Board had at their stand, the level of preparedness and organisations write down to a carpet and lush sofas which they made available to us for one-on-one meetings, one is clear that the board is taking us places. One is inclined to believe PS Ndemo when he said last year that the government is pulling out all stops to make outsourcing a reality. It is that level of commitment that we saw at the conference and expo that makes us want to work hard to build the industry.
By contrast, the Society executive – even with the 35k i had paid them and others – did nothing. They didn’t even try.
A few days after the conference, the Kenya ICT Board organised for a workshop at Safari Park hotel, where they got us to meet people from Call Street – a big time outsourcing client from the USA. Their VP, Mwangi Wamae gave us invaluable tips and even helped us to get started with the applications and some of us got jobs. Was the Society represented? No.
This year, as the country has gone through tough times, we have seen hard times as clients pull out. A functioning society would at the very least be seen to communicate the strength of the society and the continued viability of the industry. Who do I hear? Paul Kukubo of the board on Capital FM talking about things we are doing to safe guard and market ourselves even with the difficulty. I see him at various forums emphathising with the industry – for example lately KIF luncheon (organised by KIF)
Even worse, it emerges that the software that those executives led by the chair and the work attached to it was a hoax and people actually lost money going for it.
i recently went to South Africa and learnt that our society could form partnerships with them to share networks and capacity resources and such – Ditto: UK society and others. Guess what. Society has done nothing about it.
I could go on. and I probably will. But these guys have to if we are to remain credible. Thats my position and I am sticking to it.
Filed under: outsourcing | Tagged: Africa, ICT, KBPO, Kenya, outsourcing | 1 Comment »