The choice for contact center solutions
Jamaican computer specialist, Jackie Sutherland started out as a software developer in the United States, where she lived for many years. Her professional background includes broad exposure to different facets of software development and technologies, work with a consulting firm that interfaced with companies that were looking to develop software solutions for their organizations, and interaction with customer service representatives in the newspaper and call center industries. But she always had the desire and passion to return to Jamaica to start a business. “I saw a lot of opportunity in that sector – with a talent pool I was familiar with,” she says.
In the early 2000s, Sutherland moved to Florida to work for a financial services organization and started looking into customer service and call center opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean, sensing that the region was primed for some sort of local operation since, at the time, a lot of companies there were outsourcing their business to India and the Philippines.
Using her knowledge as an IT executive and business manager, Sutherland founded Global Gateway Solutions (GGS) in 2007, opening her first call center in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 2008. “I got my first very small contract with a local provider in the telecom space,” she remembers. “We had quite a bit of success with that campaign and rapidly grew.” By the end of that first year, the company had over 60 employees.
Today, GGS has 600 employees, and is the largest owner-managed business process outsourcing company in Jamaica, serving clients in the telecom, health care, financial services, insurance, media, order fulfillment, and travel and hospitality sectors. While about 99 percent of its clients are in North America, the company does have a global footprint with calls transacted daily as far away as Europe, Singapore, and Australia.
Over the last ten years, the ICT (information and communications technology) outsourcing industry, now, with 15,000 workers, has become the fastest growing employment sector in Jamaica. The government recognizes it as the best source for economic growth on the island, and has taken numerous steps to encourage investment. Two redundant fiber networks have been laid around the island with a connection to Miami. Companies in the industry enjoy “free zone” status, with tax and duty exemptions.
Global Gateway Solutions markets its services aggressively and, according to Sutherland, the company has “good partners that have operations in North America who may have clients looking for opportunities offshore. And, once they come, they meet the community, they listen to the quality of the calls that we do, they look at the capabilities that we have, and they’re pretty much sold on the location. I think that Jamaica sells itself,” she says.
Sutherland acknowledges that the call center business is very competitive, but believes that her company offers potential clients several key advantages. She explains: “I think being situated in Jamaica has become a great opportunity for companies to explore, based on proximity and cultural affinity to North America. Jamaica is the largest English speaking country in the Caribbean and the third largest in the Americas. So, for those looking for a rich English-speaking talent pool, Jamaica affords quite a bit of appeal. It is competitive, but I think we’ve managed to grow based on both the location and proximity, and the talent that I feel we have in the organization.”
Since Jamaica is quickly emerging as the preferred destination for near-shore outsourcing, Sutherland has ambitious plans for her company’s future. “I’d like to see us have a footprint on other parts of the island,” she says. “I think there’s great talent there. I’d like to see us break the one thousand agent mark in the not-too-distant future. One of the things that I’m hoping to accomplish is to tap into the other skills that we have in Jamaica. There’s an opportunity for us to grow in the higher end of outsourcing solutions to companies as it relates to financial services. And we’re also looking to broaden our vertical base.”
Clearly, Jackie Sutherland has turned her dream of establishing a successful business in Jamaica into a reality. And it is the mission of Global Gateway Solutions to keep evolving so that it can enter new markets and industries as it continues to provide its outsourcing services wherever help is needed.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Global Gateway Solutions
WHAT: The largest owner-managed, business process outsourcing company in Jamaica
WHERE: Headquarters in Plantation, FLorida
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