Doing it the Conduent way

L YNDA LANGFORD is the country director of the Jamaican operations of Conduent, the largest such in the world. The firm is in expansion mode, with plans for an additional 2,000 jobs over the next few years. BPO Jamaica spoke with her on how Conduent is positioning itself to retain its place as the largest firm, while transitioning to expanding into next-generation outsourcing services. BPO Jamaica: How long have you been in the industry? Lynda Langford (LL): I have been a part of the business process service industry for close to 17 years in varying roles. BPO Jamaica: What can you remember about the industry in the early years? LL: Having lived in Jamaica for approximately thirty years, I have seen the first-hand transition of the sector - from the days of getting paper in the island for processing and sending it back to North America - to the use of electronic processing - to where we are now, where the BPO sector continues to evolve in the world of technology and the operations of the sector now demands higher skilled employees. It is extremely exciting to see how the sector will transform in another five years. BPO Jamaica: What is Lynda Langford’s management style? LL: My team is the core of my operations and so I value the input from team members at all levels. Conduent believes in investing in our people not just for career mobility but also creating an environment that fosters great camaraderie. That approach of creating #OneConduent fits perfectly with my personal style of management, as I manage by relationships. I am very people oriented and I am not afraid to roll-up my sleeves and do what needs to be done with my team. The highlight of my day is the interaction I get to have with team members when I visit any of our ten locations across the island. BPO Jamaica: Tell us about your company, Conduent. LL: Conduent is the world’s largest provider of diversified business process services. Conduent creates digital platforms and services for businesses and governments to manage millions of interactions every day for those they serve. We are leveraging the power of the cloud, mobile and IoT, combined with technologies such as automation, cognitive and blockchain to elevate every constituent interaction, driving modern digital experiences that are more efficient, helpful and satisfying. BPO Jamaica: Tell me about Conduent in Jamaica? LL: Jamaica is home to one of Conduent’s largest delivery centres, with more than 5,300 employees based at Montego Bay in St James, Portmore in St Catherine, and Kingston. The Conduent Jamaica personnel are engaged in a range of activities, including transaction processing, technical support, insurance claims processing, order processing and customer experience services. These operations serve the banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, airline and automotive industries. BPO Jamaica: Jamaica is moving to be in the ‘high- level BPO business’. What is Conduent doing to support this ambition? LL: Conduent has more than 730 employees engaged in finance and accounting services that support our North American clients doing various types of work, from payroll processing (at all levels, including executive level) to all levels of back-office accounting tasks. The skill sets of these employees range from basic accounting knowledge to chartered public accountants or equivalent certified employees. Conduent also has more than 900 employees engaged in technical support who provide services from the simplest to the most complex technical issues for large North American technology and transportation companies. Jamaica is very well positioned to accommodate higher-skilled tasks, helping to enable Conduent to continue to grow and expand its opportunities for employees with higher-skilled tasks. BPO Jamaica: What does the future of Conduent in Jamaica look like? LL: Conduent has identified four key growth locations over the next five years and Jamaica is one of those. With positive developments happening in the sector and the thrust by the Government of Jamaica, JAMPRO, the BPIAJ and other key stakeholders to position the BPO sector as a key economic driver, we see our footprint expanding in the medium and long term. BPO Jamaica: What can be done to support Jamaica’s BPO industry? LL: The BPO industry has the potential to contribute foreign direct investment at a faster pace than traditional industries and, as such, requires investment frameworks that are competitive relative to other near- and farshore markets. Jamaica’s high youth unemployment rate and a median age of 25.6 years reflect a labour pool that can be leveraged to support economic growth – a vision being realised – as the BPO sector is now being labelled as one of the key sectors in Jamaica’s Economic Growth Council’s much-anticipated five per cent growth by year 2020. The price competitiveness of Jamaican labour that has a distinctive service orientation is a comparative advantage to be leveraged. The BPO Finishing School at the HEART College of Innovation and Technology in Montego Bay is a step in the right direction, in ensuring our labour force training for the sector is consistent with current and emerging market trends. This is critical for medium- to long-term economic success. Key focus should be placed on education and skills development at the secondary-education level to increase Jamaica’s service delivery capacity in higher-value knowledge process outsourcing services. In light of recent mergers and acquisitions, the pace of modernisation, diversification and price competitiveness of Jamaica’s telecommunications and ICT infrastructure needs to remain a critical enabler of economic diversification and growth. 2 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2019 BPO JAMAICA: FEATURE BPO BY NUMBERS MONTEGO BAY FREE ZONE COMPANY LTD: sq ft of space BPO firms other entities 10,600 25 20 665,000 employees Up close with Conduent Ja country director Lynda Langford