In becoming a key leader in Jamaica’s BPO industry, Ibex continues to be a catalyst for growth and prosperity in the region.
Robert Dechant’s strong affinity for nearshore expansion started before he joined Ibex as CEO. Prior to joining Ibex, he was chief sales, marketing, and client services officer for Qualfon. During his time as executive vice president for Convergys, previously Stream Global Services, he helped the company grow a nearshore expansion of over 5,000 seats. With over 25 years of leadership experience at IBM, Convergys, 3Com Corporation, and Modus Media, Dechant is a proven executive in the business process outsourcing and technology industries. At present, he is based in Ibex’s headquarters in Washington D.C.
What were the highlights for Ibex in 2018, with specific regard to operations in Jamaica and the Caribbean?
First was a meeting with our Board of Directors in Kingston in January and an event with top BPO industry analysts. That was followed by the grand opening ceremony at the IBEX Waterfront center, attended by local government officials and the business community. In August 2018, we hosted 150 top performers from all our Jamaican and Nicaraguan sites at a resort in Montego Bay as a reward for their great work. As part of the event, we visited a local orphanage and brought food and other supplies to them as part of our Ibex Gives Back program. In October, we opened our newest center in Kingston, Ibex Courtleigh, and welcomed a new client to the center. As a result, we have been able to offer over 2,500 new jobs with opportunities to advance with us.
What factors triggered your interest to invest in Jamaica?
On my numerous trips to the island prior to Ibex entering Jamaica, I saw a skilled, motivated, and committed workforce. It was not only their work ethic but their ability to do so with a smile on their faces and a welcoming demeanor. These were the kinds of people we wanted to attract because they mirror the personality and culture we have created at Ibex. Jamaica also offers a committed pro-business government that is supportive of the BPO industry. For example, there are organizations such as JAMPRO that encourage and promote business in Jamaica. The common myth in the US was that Jamaica was a great vacation destination but not a place to operate a business. This misperception continues to provide an amazing opportunity for Ibex because we know and understand the real Jamaica.
Given the recent establishment of the regional headquarters in Kingston, can you tell us more about the strategic partnerships involved in the process?
There are many strategic partnerships that have encouraged us and allowed us to grow within Jamaica. Digicel has become an important partner for us and allowed us to grow within Kingston. We have found great partnerships with the local investment and financial community who now understand, believe in, and see the benefits of the BPO industry’s growth in Jamaica. Equally important, economic development companies and the local media have been supportive and welcoming. For instance, the Heart Trust is an important partner because it provides education about our industry and helps a potential employee prepare to join Ibex. The result of all of our partnerships is our explosive growth and expansion in the region.
What benefits can the expansion of the BPO sector bring to Jamaica?
The expansion of the BPO industry brings opportunity for the people of Jamaica because of the indirect benefits of its growth. It is reflected in the amount of money we spend visiting different parts of the country, which improves the entire economy. Moreover, Ibex uses local printing companies, photographers, caterers, and other services. For example, Ibex has worked with Intcomex, a local company, for its IT needs and has spent over USD8 million on related facilities. Our partnerships with the Development Bank of Jamaica and First Global Bank in the financial community improves their operations. The benefits are far reaching, and as the BPO industry grows and thrives, so does all of Jamaica.
What are your main goals for 2019?
Our goal is to exceed what many people thought was a lofty goal: hiring over 5,000 within three years. We will continue to look aggressively for further expansion in Jamaica, including a strategic move into the Montego Bay market. We have become the unquestionable leader among all the BPO companies in Jamaica. In 2019, we will continue to work to extend our reputation as the employer of choice. Ibex will continue to give back to the community and be a catalyst for continued growth and prosperity in the region.