ACS expansion gives Ghana BPO vote of confidence

Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (ACS) has given a vote of confidence to the West African country of Ghana as a competitive location for business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities worldwide, with a planned expansion of its workforce there.

Dallas-based ACS will raise the number of employees in the country from 1,400 employees to 2,000 employees by the end of 2004, thus making the Ghana site its largest single facility for staff.

ACS provides diversified business process and information technology outsourcing to commercial and government clients worldwide, with service delivery and global operations reaching about 100 countries.

“The workforce, government and infrastructure have met and exceeded our requirements. The availability of interested, talented individuals to join ACS’ workforce, the support of the government to develop their people and nation, and the available infrastructure have all combined to create a very successful location,” said Tom Blodgett, managing director for commercial solutions, responding to questions via e-mail.

In spite of the growth ACS has experienced at its facility in Ghana, it has not been without challenges. According to Blodgett the biggest challenges have been the introduction and acceptance of ACS’ business and company culture to their employees in Ghana.

“As we develop the employees and train them in the technical skills necessary to support business process outsourcing services, this has introduced certain cultural changes to the employees. ACS’ culture includes a focus on meeting customer requirements and technical skill and production expectations,” Blodgett said.

“Proper education and two-way, employee-management communication has helped us be successful in introducing our culture in Ghana and developing a loyal and successful workforce who are appreciative of the opportunity to learn and grow,” Blodgett elaborated.

Aside from the challenges of introducing and accepting ACS’ business and company culture to their employees in Ghana, the company has to contend with managing rapid growth.

“Business process outsourcing is in great demand. As a result, ACS has achieved significant growth over the last few years and keeping pace with this change is our other biggest challenge and opportunity,” said Blodgett.

ACS is unfazed by the growing number of proposals by government officials in the U.S. and Europe that would curb the growth of offshore outsourcing.

According to Blodgett clients may choose outsourcing solutions that use offshore, onshore, or near-shore alternatives.

“We are in a unique position to provide solution services to our customers in various locations to meet their needs. Our clients determine the solution that works best for them,” Blodgett said.

ACS is not just stopping at data-processing services for its facility in Ghana. “With the introduction of land-based, T-1 lines to supplement the satellite communications, we are considering call centre activity as well as Tier 2 and 3 processing, which involve greater degrees of analytical and technical skills,” Blodgett said.