The current state of affairs in the BPO and SSC sector in Poland and CEE

Over 20 cities, more than 200,000 jobs, about 850 operating centres, more or less 40 languages used and a steady increase of growth ratios – such is the current state of affairs in the BPO and SSC sector in Poland.

The international event “Mazars CEE Business Forum”, dedicated to the current situation in BPO and SSC sector in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe, ended last Friday, 7th October 2016. The main conclusion is: the situation in the industry is good and it will only get better.

The main reasons to be optimistic about the future of this market in Poland and in our region are the numbers. Over 20 cities in our country opted for the development of BPO and SSC centres. According to the Tholons global ranking “TOP 100 Outsourcing Destinations” in 2016, Krakow ranked 9th among the best outsourcing destinations for the third year in a row. This is the highest position for a European city in this world ranking. Notably also Warsaw (ranked 25th) and Wroclaw (58th) are on this list. These three cities have been moving up in this classification continuously since 2011.

A clear trend in the origin of investors focusing on this sector in Poland is the loss of dominant position of the USA which has been the leader constantly since mid-1990 in favour of Western European countries, Scandinavia and India.

Kotwica Poland is no longer a place where the simplest services such as call centres or basic financial services are transferred (which was the standard 20 years ago). A large part of these elementary services are spun off and transferred to other countries so that Polish centres can focus on more advanced services, for instance, accounting, IT or R&D. A significant change is an ever stronger presence of robotics in BPO and SSC. However, the conference participants agreed that at the end it is human who will always be the ultimate authority and guardian of the correctness and quality of the automated processes.

It can be seen how dynamic the development of the BPO and SSC sector is in CEE when you look at the 17% cumulative growth rate of employment in business services centres achieved in the last 7 years, a result twice higher than that achieved by India (8%). Our region is often chosen by foreign investors because it gives access to a wide range of qualified multilingual employees and experienced managers. Other important factors are the diversity of available locations and the economic stability of the region.

The programme included a presentation of the attractiveness of the outsourcing sector in our region compared to the rest of the world, and in particular its strong position in  Poland (over 200,000 jobs) and in Romania (second player in our region – approx. 70,000 jobs) – countries in which its development is most dynamic.

The panel, during which the types, nature and dimension of support of different CEE countries for potential investments in the area of BPO and SSC were discussed also generated great interest.

“The sector of business services has been expanding particularly fast in the whole Central and Eastern Europe, becoming one of the key economic sectors in some countries. The purpose of our conference was to enable many experts and practising professionals to meet and determine together what the factors of and potential for rapid growth are over the coming years. As one of the leading advisory firms co-creating this market in Europe for over 25 years we know that creating communities of people engaged in developing BPO and SSC sector is crucial because it translates into real business” – summarizes Michel Kiviatkowski, Managing Partner of the audit and advisory group Mazars.

The conference was attended by CEOs, COOs, CFOs, operational directors, strategy, outsourcing and IT directors and SSC and BPO managers from Central and Eastern Europe and similar high-level participants.

Exact and CMS Cameron McKenna were partners of the conference. The event was held under the patronage of: the Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL), ASPIRE, DFCG (Association of French CFOs), The International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), ProProgressio Foundation, France-Poland Association, UFE and bilateral chambers of commerce: Polish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK), British-Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC), French-Polish Chamber of Commerce (CCIFP) and Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce (SPCC).

Mazars CEEE Business Forum 2016 media partners included: Information Agency “Newseria”, Outsourcing & More, Outsourcing Portal, CEE Shared Services and Outsourcing Awards, Magazyn Rekruter, Deutscher Outsourcing Verband e.V, Outsourcing Journal and CEE Shared Services and Outsourcing Directory.