CasaNearShore: The Advantage of Proximity - Anouar Atmani

As European companies become increasingly attuned to the value of multi-sourcing, they are looking for reliable partners to whom they can outsource non-core processes. With its excellent connectivity, large pool of human resources and positive business environment, Morocco-based CasaNearShore can provide a comprehensive solution, as Anouar Atmani tells Elly Earls.

Multi-sourcing is becoming increasingly popular among companies looking to reduce costs and enhance their commitment to core business processes. And as different processes are outsourced to an ever-widening range of destinations, nearshoring is gaining credence.

The benefits of proximity offered by nearshoring mean that an increasing number of 'front line' processes such as client management or help desking can be managed effectively from overseas; live exchanges are possible with a team only a couple of hours from head office.

"We will be talking much more about the roles of particular destinations in the next 12 months," predicts Anouar Atmani, strategies and business development director of Casablanca-based nearshore park, CasaNearShore, which primarily focuses on IT outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO). "Moreover, advances in technology mean the industry will be revolutionised, allowing new applications, new services and new business."

CasaNearShore, the first Moroccan nearshore park and the largest in North Africa with over 2,691,000ft² of state-of-the-art office space, provides services mainly for the BPO and ITO sectors of both European and global companies, including customer relationship management, human resources, IT, finance, insurance, supply chain management, consulting, back office and training.

"We try to waive any potential challenges for our clients as far as the operational aspect of nearshoring is concerned," says Atmani. "There are many challenges in setting up operations abroad, but we put everything together from conducting due diligence studies to providing ongoing support for client development.

The function of CasaNearShore's one-stop administrative counter is not only to assist companies in their initial set-up in Morocco, but also to help with business processes throughout the length of their lease. It provides a convenient point of contact linking businesses to several government bodies including the Ministry for Trade, Industry and New Technologies (the body that initiated the Morocco offshoring programme), the Regional Investment Centre (CRI), the Social Security Fund (CNSS), the Investment Directorate and the National Agency for the Development of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC).

Morocco's pool of human resources is one of the main attractions for many companies as Capgemini, one of CasaNearShore's customers, testifies: "Morocco is a destination well suited to serve our clients thanks to the abundance of its qualified and skilled talent pool and the targeted training programmes. Our local management team is motivated and excited about the idea of developing the activities of Capgemini in Morocco."

But it is the park's outstanding connectivity that Atmani is most keen to emphasise. "CasaNearShore has full redundancy in terms of fibre optics that goes all the way to each and every company," he says. "We boast unlimited bandwidth and everything is equipped with IP technology. The idea is that any operator or supplier that comes into our infrastructure can start up in the most positive environment and within a short time span."

Moreover, Morocco as a whole is an appealing location for businesses looking to outsource from continental Europe; indeed companies such as Genpact, Logica, Tata Consulting and BNP Paribas have already set up delivery centres at CasaNearShore and Technopolis Rabat, also in Morocco. "The proximity and flight connectivity are two of the most critical points," says the park's strategies and business development director. "We are only a couple of hours from the main European cities, which makes us similar to Eastern Europe, albeit much more cost effective."

Government policy is another key draw for corporations. "Our administration is clear about its strategy and puts the right incentives and the right training in place," Atmani remarks. "The government is extremely committed and income tax is capped at 20%, including a full exemption of corporate tax for the first five years and a 50% break beyond that period, further enhancing a company's competitive advantage."

According to Atmani, Morocco is one of the most stable destinations worldwide. "Our country was extremely resilient last year," he insists. "Consequently, our government has forecast a growth of 5-6% for 2010. It is recognised internationally that there are steady, tangible and pragmatic improvements in terms of economic reform and economic results."

While cost remains the backbone of any outsourcing business decision, companies are increasingly taking other factors into account. "Today, corporations are looking much more at the scalability of the resources, the continuity of their business, the sustainability and the stability of the country to which they are outsourcing processes. We also see a mounting interest in Corporate Social Responsibility and green practices, reflecting how evolved the industry has become and how demanding outsourcing service buyers are now, which we fully endorse here at CasaNearShore and Technopolis Rabat.

"Morocco and CasaNearShore offer everything companies are looking for, right on Europe's doorstep," Atmani concludes.

Anouar Atmani, strategies and business development director, CasaNearShore