Back Office & Information Technology
Back Office cluster operations include such services as call centers, technical support, processing facilities, and data centers. Financial Services is one industry that historically has outsourced support operations to third party firms specializing in back office support. Other industries continue to examine the possibility of outsourcing their back office operations as cost savings resulting from outsourcing become evident. Support personnel perform recordkeeping duties, including transaction processing. Businesses in this category may also be hired to handle payroll, procurement, and auditing services for clients. Information technology is increasingly integrated within the Back Office category. In addition to IT being an important backbone to any industry, it is particularly important to a region’s ability to support in-bound and technical client support back office operations.
The Lowcountry has a relatively strong concentration in the Back Office cluster at present. Employing more than 4,300 workers in the Lowcountry, the cluster has an LQ of 1.1 and grew 7.7% from 2005-2010.
The region’s largest employer in the field, CareCore, provides a boost to the cluster’s future potential. The company helps large health insurance companies manage their customers, provide higher quality service, and keep costs down. The company has grown to over 400 employees in the Lowcountry in just three years and is located in Buckwalter Place. CareCore’s willingness to partner with Clemson University to create an entrepreneurship center is a unique opportunity to the Lowcountry economy. In addition, the company will create a workforce in the Lowcountry with skills that previously have not existed in this combination: cost management, record maintenance, customer service, and back office technologies. These skills are highly transferable and would support a number of other vertical industries. CareCore offers a seed for expanding the fast-growing medical-related back office and records management niche in the Lowcountry.
Several factors will support the growth of the Back Office and Information Technology cluster in the Lowcountry going forward:
- An exiting military workforce, which is a good match for process-oriented support services and customer-orientation
- A greatly expanded Computational Science program at USCB, especially in applied studies related to other target industries such as logistics, light manufacturing, and aerospace
- A tourism-oriented workforce, which has been trained in customer service
- A growing college population in neighboring Savannah
- Increasing emphasis on entrepreneurship as an economic development engine, creating firms that will increase demand for local technical and IT support services
- Low cost of doing business
- The Lowcountry’s appealing natural environment and attractiveness to executive visitors and retirees, making the region an ideal setting for corporate campuses and regional headquarters.
- A regional distribution cluster will make logistics-related back office and IT an emerging opportunity.
- Lowcountry Economic Alliance committed to encouraging develoment and training of qualified Back Office employees
Back Office and Information Technology Niche Targets:
- IT and Technical Services
- Records Management
- Medical-Related Back Office
- Regional Headquarters
- Logistics-Related Back Office and IT