Guest: Sohan David
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Sohan David has been part of the outsourcing industry since 1997. He has worked with companies such as Telstra, Allianz and Platinum – leading Australian companies in telecommunication and financial services. In 2009, he set up D&G Call Solutions which would eventually change to Tactical Business Services as an Australian based BPO for the financial and telecommunication services. Sohan is passionate about helping people meet their true potential and finds great reward in working with people across developed and developing markets.
Segment overview: Tactical Business Services started as a Australian outsourcing solution for financial services in 2004. In 2008, Tactical Business Services decided to offshore their services from Australia. When Sohan David visited Philippines for the 1st time it was evident that this is the right place for them. By meeting the people here, it became very clear to Sohan that the type of BPO they want to develop – where that focus on the people was priority had to be here in the Philippines. Tactical Business Services provide at cost efficiency, scalability, best practice methodology and providing work force excellence – however, their true point of difference is their agile management approach and how quickly they implement changes for the success of their client campaigns.
Address: Unit 4B, JMT Condo, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center Pasig City, Philippines
Contact Number: INTL +61 409932827
To know more about Tactical Business Services, listen to the podcast below.
The interview will start at 1:55 mark of the podcast episode.
Henry Acosta: Hello everyone, welcome to the Outsourcing Philippines Podcast. Today we have Sohan David, founder of Tactical Business Services. He’s been part of the outsourcing industry since 1997, he has worked with companies that lead Australia in telecommunications such as Telstra, Alliance and Platinum. Back in 2009, he set up DNG Call Solutions which would eventually change to Tactical Business Services – an Australian based BPO for the financial and telecommunication services. Sohan is passionate about helping people meet their true potential and finds great reward in working with people across developed and developing markets. Hi Sohan and welcome to the show.
Sohan David: Hi Henry, thank you for having me.
Henry: It’s a pleasure. So let’s get started, can you give us a quick introduction about who you are and how you found Tactical Business Services?
Sohan: Sure. So my background is that I grew up in Australia and worked in the financial services but there was definitely a need in my mind for companies to have third party outsource services. But in Australia I guess in the early parts of 90s, it was difficult to bring in this type of business concept because it was new to business from an internal perspective so one of the challenges that we had was to come up with a way to do business as a third party service provider. So I remember talking to friends and sharing with them my view and eventually I just decided one evening I’m gonna do it, so I resigned my job and started at that stage what was called DNG Call Solutions. We were very, very early to the market but I’m glad we persisted.
Henry: So where did the inspiration come from of building an outsourcing business specifically here in the Philippines?
Sohan: Well, the Philippines was always considered a strong outsourcing location. So I think back in 2009 our business got to a stage where we needed to expand offshore and my job then was to travel to a few destinations and look at what the best fit would be for us. So we went to India which was the number one destination, we also went to Sri Lanka where I was born and we stopped off in the Philippines and I absolutely felt that this was the right place for us simply because of the people I met. I think it was great to work with people who were so passionate about providing services, really talented people in customer service, in sales, in technical areas so it became a very, very easy decision for us to make.
Henry: So it was an easy decision for you to make?
Sohan: A very easy decision for us to make and we also found that once you’re on the ground setting up business while it has challenges it wasn’t difficult to get pass to that next level. So setting up business, registering businesses, all that needed to be done could be done relatively easily compared to some other places that we were considering.
Henry: What do you think is the biggest difference that the Philippines has compared to other countries that specialize in outsourcing?
Sohan: Look, I think having a massive workforce who are so open to the outsourcing industry is the biggest advantage. I think the fact that the education system here has specific courses designed for people to get the most out of companies who outsource. I think that definitely helps and I think one of the biggest advantages that the Philippines have in this region of Asia is that most people speak English and I think that stands up because there are more and more other locations within Asia that are coming up as perspective outsource destinations and one of them major differences I would see there is that naturally they’re not English speaking compared to the Philippines.
Henry: Were there any cultural barriers that you’ve faced during your transition period here in the Philippines?
Sohan: Look, there’s always cultural barriers. I think no matter where in the Philippines and in other destinations as well. Personally I found it easier for me to settle in to the Philippines and I think that’s probably because of my own cultural background having to grow up in Sri Lanka for a while. But I think in terms of the major cultural barrier that I needed to understand and adapt, it is the way that the resource, the staff members, the team members respond to each other and to the management directions. I think in the western world including Australia it seems to be a very direct, black and white approach to treating people. What we didn’t want to do is to bring that type of methodology to the Philippines, we wanted to understand how people work here. We wanted to bring the quality and ensure that our clients would receive a superior quality without compromising on the individuals – how they react to each other, how they get along with each other and to embrace their own culture while not compromising on the output.
Henry: With regards to Tactical Business Services, what do you think is the main difference compared to your other competitors? Like let’s say what are your advantages compared to everyone else who’s doing outsourcing here in the Philippines?
Sohan: Sure. Henry we’re a smaller more targeted and a customized outsourcing company. We have great growth potential but the real difference that we provide for our customers is our ability to very quickly provide a solution. We are very rapid in our change management process unlike some of the other BPOs and outsource centers. We don’t need a long lag time before we need to change. We’re very proactive when it comes to our customers’ accounts and we will be the ones who require change and advise our customers and we will be also the ones who manage the changes very quickly. From a staff perspective, I think the difference is that we create a friendly family atmosphere. We understand that it’s very important for our staff to have that relationship and what we always say is you spend a lot of time traveling to come to work and you spend a lot of your day at work, we need to make sure that they’re in a safe, friendly environment for them to perform better. So those are the real differences for us.
Henry: And can you give us any standout experiences from your clients or any testimonials from them?
Sohan: I think there’s been a number, I think the I guess the biggest, I guess reward for us when our clients are happy. We’ve had a client who’s been with us for the last five years and they started off with 6 seats with us and now at the moment I think they have over 50 seats with us. But I think the great reward for us last year, what they wanted to do is to consolidate all their service providers between the Philippines and India and all together there were 6 outsource centers working for them and now that’s been consolidated to two and we are one of them so that’s a massive achievement for a company of our nature.
Henry: Can you give us an insight on the process for recruiting client?
Sohan: Sure. Recruiting client, we actually take two separate strategies one is an external strategy so we will have online marketing, an SEO strategy for customers who are looking to potentially work with outsource centers here in the Philippines. And what we do with that is we provide them a helpful type of questionnaire to understand what their values are, what their requirements are and then we will set up a proposal structure. We also have a very active direct marketing team that works internally and their job is to identify industries and companies and even small to medium businesses and we will then engage in a strategy of building relationship, understanding what they need but that would include cold calling, that would include appointment setting but we find that that seems to be the best strategy for us.
Henry: And what about employees? What do you look for when you’re hiring employees?
Sohan: Well we’re very focused on this, what we look for is attitude. We strongly believe that we can train people with skills and we can train people on processes. We love the fact that most of our staff have experience in the call center environment and we love the fact that they have worked in other companies. That gives them a level of greater appreciation for what we offer but the key component that we look for is what type of person they are – how can they add value to our organization and in return how can we find ways to improve them.
Henry: Can you give us misconceptions that you’ve faced when you were looking at the Philippines as an outsourcing place?
Sohan: Sure. I think when we are talking about the international market whether it’s the UK, the US or even Australia I think the common misconception is that the Philippines has not developed to the stage that it has right now and I think it’s because of a lack of media attention in the Philippines. So one of our challenges is to be able to show to them that ‘Hey here in the Philippines there are buildings, there are offices that’s very much like in any part of the developed world’. Yes there are extremes of poverty but at the same time the infrastructure exists for people to come in and be able to work without any issues. So that becomes I guess the greatest barrier that we need to overcome. There’s I guess the second part of this is to help people understand that how well educated the talent and the people in the Philippines can be, how well experienced they are in dealing with some of the requirements. So those are the two really big barriers for us to overcome.
Henry: Since you’re here in the Philippines… visiting can you share with us any memorable experiences that you have here in the Philippines?
Sohan: I have so many experiences in the Philippines, it’s like my second home now. I’m here almost every 2 months but look I think for me personally it’s about people. One of the things I always try to do in my trip is to find someone who we can encourage and take them to the next stage. We found someone within our own team who had a lot of different education to what she was doing right now and what we did with that person is to encourage her to take on more of a project management role and on my trip here it was just great to see how much she has learned and gone to that next level to see the level of confidence that she has and what an asset she has become to the company. So for me those are the real rewarding moments.
Henry: For our last question, how can anyone who’s interested in Tactical Business Services get in touch with you? Either potential clients or even employees.
Sohan: Sure. Well look I’m more than happy to leave you with my direct email address. I tend to be very hands on and involved with my clients and potential staff members so my email is [email protected], drop us an email, tell us what your challenges are. If you’re a potential client, tell us about you if you’re a potential employee and someone from our team if not myself will definitely get in contact with you.
Henry: Awesome and we appreciate your time Sohan. Thank you for being in the show.
Sohan: Thank you so much for your time.
Henry: Again that was Sohan David, founder of Tactical Business Services. If you’ve missed this interview or want to listen to it again you can go on outsourcing.com.ph and you can also find us on SoundCloud and iTunes.