“More than a decade after starting the Wrocław branch, we reach for another economic, cultural, and scientific centre: the Tricity” – says Piotr Hepner, the Managing Director of the new facility.
We were brought here by the extraordinary potential of Gdansk and its development strategy close to the values, on which we built Objectivity 30 years ago in the United Kingdom. The Tricity’s social policy refers to the Residents, Education, Cooperation, Mobility, and Openness – which reflect similar values of our organization – adds the Director.
Objectivity is built on values of People, Integrity, Excellence, Agility, accompanied by the Win-Win philosophy. The company puts them into practice not only in terms of software quality and customer service but also by engaging in helping local communities. Objectivity actively promotes knowledge exchange by hosting local events like Wroc# Conference, Business Analyst Meetup, or PM in Agile that give professionals a chance to meet, exchange experiences and get inspired.
Here in Pomerania, we are working on creating business-friendly policies, developing infrastructure, and providing access to world-class education to attract businesses into the region while maintaining openness and caring for our residents. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Objectivity, which shares similar principles. Says Mieczysław Struk, Marshal of Pomerania.
According to Paulina Roszczak-Śliwa, the Head of People & Culture at Objectivity Pomerania’s friendly business environment was only one of the factors that led to the decision of opening a new branch in Gdansk. At first, the capital of Pomerania caught our attention with its attractiveness as the place to live your life. What drew us initially were all the surveys and awards that the region, especially Tricity has received, but we only truly got the true Tricity experience when we came here, and that blew us away. Hence, we chose Tricity, to be the next step in our growth journey – says Paulina Roszczak-Śliwa.
Objectivity believes in growing by knowledge sharing and is looking forward to learning from and contributing to the vibrant tech community in the Tricity. By the end of 2021 Objectivity plans to employ 200 specialists in its Gdansk office based out of GATO in Garnizon, including developers, testers, business analysts, project managers, and back-office support.
Going beyond the national arena is also an important investment factor for the British-owned software house. Objectivity’s international aspirations are to strategically increase brand visibility in Germany and the UK.
The ABSL awarded the companies that contributed the most to the development of the business services sector in the Czech Republic last year and, thanks to innovative projects, raised the standard of services, customer experience, talent development and the working strategies and environment. The winning projects in seven categories were selected by an independent expert jury from fifty nominations. The awards, called ABSL Diamonds, were presented at the ABSL Digital Conference, which took place digitally this year with the participation of over 1,300 attendees.
“The move of employees from business services sector to work from home was easy in the spring, thanks to the high degree of digitization, companies managed it practically from day to day. They didn’t know, however, that a few weeks would stretch for months and the majority home office would become the new common standard, which would make it necessary to adjust and innovate a number of processes and methods of communication and services. Today, we see that the extraordinary situation caused by the pandemic has spurred a very strong wave of innovation in our industry, ”says Jonathan Appleton, Director of ABSL.
The current ABSL Survey showed that more than half of the business service centers accelerated digitization projects under the influence of the pandemic and 44% launched new automation projects. “Thanks to this, our industry manages the current difficult situation smoothly and with stable productivity. The centers are expanding their scope, introducing new services, starting to serve new regions or taking over work from sister organizations, which have to temporarily reduce their operations due to insufficient infrastructure,” says Jonathan Appleton, adding that his year’s projects nominated for the ABSL Diamonds award are very diverse and are all extraordinary advanced and innovative. The projects reflect the industry’s high degree of flexibility and resilience to unexpected situations and crises, and show how well Czech centers have coped with the challenges posed by COVID-19 and adopted a new digital standard. That is why the ABSL association has decided to award more projects this year than in previous years. Instead of 7 new diamonds, 10 will be awarded.
The winners are:
In Customer Initiative category: Dixons Carphone
In Business Innovation category: Neoris Czech Republic and CEMEX
In Community and Citizen Support category: SAP
In Education category: Novartis and Kiwi.com
In Employer Branding and People Engagement category: Zebra Technologies
In Innovative Workplace and Remote Working Strategies category: Mercedes-Benz Parts Logistics Eastern Europe and Anheuser-Busch Inbev
In Value Creation category: BlueLink International CZ
A special award for COVID-19 response goes to Comdata
For those of you fluent in Russian, here's an interview of Thom Barnhardt, publisher of European Business Services Association, offering some ideas as Russia looks to Poland for inspiration to grow its SSC sector.
Business Garden Bucharest becomes the new home of NTT Ltd.’s new Global Shared Services Center (GSSC) in Bucharest. The company has leased over 2,300 sqm as part of their growth strategy, with potential to further extend the space in the future
NTT Ltd. is a leading global technology services company that achieves business outcomes through intelligent technology solutions. Their global assets and integrated ICT stack capabilities provide unique offerings in cloud-enabling networking, hybrid cloud, data centers, digital transformation, client experience, workplace and cybersecurity. As a global ICT provider, they employ more than 40,000 people in a diverse and dynamic workplace that spans 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries and regions.
French stationery supplies producer BIC inaugurated a new shared services centre in Bulgarian capital Sofia, in which it intends to hire 230 employees by the end of 2021, it said.
BIC also plans to invest over 10.5 million euro ($12.4 million) in Bulgaria by the end of next year.
With the opening of the new centre BIC has established a new unit - BIC Services Sofia, to consolidate the French company's administrative tasks and activities in the field of finance, accounting, transactions, supply and other corporate functions across Europe, the company said.
BIC did not disclose the value of its investment in the new service centre.
Earlier this month, the Bulgarian economy ministry said that the investment in the project amounted to some 2.0 million levs ($1.2 million/1.0 million euro).
The shared services centre is part of BIC's global business transformation plan for 2020, aimed at increasing efficiency and creating a structure of sustainable growth maintenance.
"BIC Services Sofia will manage activities ranging from logistics to human resources, as well as financial processes, customer relations and supply to Societe Bic," Georgi Menev, executive director at BIC Services Sofia, said in the statement.
At present, the Sofia-based centre provides services to the markets of France, Italy, Germany, Benelux, Portugal and Spain. It plans to expand its operations towards Romania, Ukraine and Russia as well as a number of African countries where BIC is present.
BIC, based in Clichy, France, produces stationery, lighters and shavers, which it sells in more than 160 countries worldwide.
US outsourcing company Computer Generated Solutions (CGS), one of the leaders of the local business process outsourcing (BPO) market, has increased its team in Romania with 500 new employees this year.The most recruitments took place in the Brasov and Bucharest centers, followed by Galati, Sibiu, and Targu Jiu.
"This year, we concluded a series of contracts with new clients, or we extended the projects with the already existing ones, which translated into a substantial employment volume," said Vladimir Sterescu, Country Manager CGS Romania."The recruitment process has shifted from a face-to-face to a remote approach, in line with the new safety rules dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the recruitment process has become a bit longer than last year, as the candidate has several steps to go through. However, the main advantage is that we have the chance to communicate more with each of them and, thus, to find the right people," Sterescu explained.
At this moment, about 70% of CGS Romania's employees work from home, including new colleagues who joined the team in 2020.
The company has invested in a remote network for the entire company to allow its employees to work safely from home.
Next year, CGS Romania expects a similar increase in its number of employees as this year.
Endava Romania, the British software company present on the local market, with seven delivery centres, announced that it is searching for candidates for over 90 job positions in November. The openings are distributed in all the cities where the company operates: Brașov, București, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Timișoara, Tîrgu-Mureș and Pitești. Besides the job openings, the company is rolling programs for juniors in five of its locations from Romania.
The Romanian delivery teams are collaborating with clients from the payments and financial services area, TMT (Technology, media, and telecom), FMCG, logistics, but also with most of Endava’s global support services.
In terms of vacant roles, the company is searching for developers, testers, application management engineers, data experts, employees in shared services, analysts, project managers, software architects and recruiters.
On the local market, the company continues to focus on developing programs with technology communities and supporting the strategic partnerships created in the last couple of years with all the technical universities located across Endava’s delivery centres.
The focus on supporting the growth of the IT market is also underlined by the different junior programs oriented in developing skills in areas such as development, testing, DevOps, or CRM. The junior programs available now are covering Brașov, București, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, and Pitești.
Since the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, the company’s priority was to ensure health and wellbeing for all the employees and their families, working along with its clients to adapt to this new context, to secure jobs and to increase their safety.
Lead country manager Jeroen Kirschbaum tells the Budapest Business Journal what it is that makes Hungary such a great location for international SSCs, and talks about the new “world-class” office and ExxonMobil’s COVID learnings.
BBJ: ExxonMobil has signed to move into purpose built new offices. When is this due, and has the COVID crisis caused you to review your space needs at all?
Jeroen Kirschbaum: We’re excited to move to a new world-class facility in the Váci Corridor early in 2022. In terms of COVID learnings, flexibility seems to become even more important. We have the unique opportunity to incorporate such insights in the design of the new building, such as the importance of optimizing the space for collaboration, learning, and innovation.
BBJ: When do you expect to be back at full strength in the office?
JK: The safety and well-being of our employees remains the number one priority, so the return to office approach depends on the virus situation and government regulations. We have provided ergo equipment for home offices and extra screens for productivity, but also have the safeguards in place to offer a safe working environment in the office and thus can provide employees a flexible choice. Previously we have given employees full flexibility to work from the office or work from home, at their discretion. However, with the current situation in Hungary, we have recommended employees to be a good corporate citizen and stay home as much as possible.
FULL STORY: https://bbj.hu/promotion/exxonmobils-budapest-global-business-center-proving-part-of-the-solution_191775
Shared services centers and business process outsourcing, now often referred to as the business services sector, have become one of the major industries in Hungary and one of the main drivers of success for Hungarian and Central European office markets.
The first SSCs came to Hungary in the 1990s and the industry has expanded rapidly over the last two decades, creating employment opportunities and enabling high quality office complexes to be developed, which in turn upgrades the infrastructure and attracts investors.
Central European governmental agencies such as the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency have successfully been promoting their respective countries as quality but cost-effective SSC destinations, and there are now around 120 such centers operating in Hungary according to KPMG.
SSCs are increasingly undertaking increasingly complex functions beyond a merely administrative role such as R&D. Tenants therefore require more sophisticated specifications and higher sustainability accreditations, thus companies are looking to source centers at offices at the very top end of the market.
The ratio of SSCs/BPOs in the total take up of the Budapest Office Market in 2019 was 25% according to Nikolett Püschl, leasing and development manager at Atenor Hungary.
Thom Barnhardt, organizer of the annual “CEE Business Services Summit & Awards” in Warsaw, estimates that, based on various research reports from organizations such as the European Business Services Association and the Hungarian Outsourcing Association, as well as real estate agencies, 40-50% of Central Europe and Hungary office demand/take up is from SSCs/BPOs.
“The SSC sector is a key component of demand in the office sector and a vehicle for inward investment across CEE,” he comments.
From a demand perspective, SSCs and BPOs are widely regarded as one of the major components of demand in the Budapest office market.
“The profundity of talent base and affordability of labor are key drivers. The amount of competent human resources obviously correlates with the size of the destination country and the actual city,” says Balázs Simonyi, leasing director at CPI Hungary.
“On the other hand, smaller countries with a centralized geographical location and easy accessibility, like Hungary, can become a kind of regional hub of talents by being attractive enough to temporarily relocate to,” he adds.
Full Story at BBJ.HU: https://bbj.hu/special-report/sscs-operating-at-top-end-of-office-market_191771
In the early 2000s, the then newly established offices were called shared services centers, the name implying that they shared mainly transactional activities within a group. Today they are often called business services centers; it is certainly the name preferred by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency to show that there are higher value added services provided with more business-related decisions.
“Nowadays, many centers try to differentiate themselves from the original structure of transactional SSCs, and they are called GBS (Global Business Services) to represent their global footprint, CoE (Center of Excellence) or even R&D centers,” Balázs Horváth, director of advisory services at KPMG Hungary, tells the Budapest Business Journal.
The general trend in Hungary is that transactional activities are either outsourced or are being automated, which in turn leads to the increasing number of value added activities coming within the scope of BSCs. With these tendencies, the SSC (or BSC) concept is continuously expanding its palette with complex finance, sales, marketing, procurement, information technology and human resources activities being taken on.
How does the country compare to Europe and its Visegrád Four peers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, though?
“Hungary is still home of captive SSCs, that means that they provide services within their own corporate. There are fewer outsourcing companies in Budapest compared to the rest of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). There is a willingness and the potential to add the countryside of Hungary with cities like Debrecen or Szeged to the map of SSCs or via outsourcing,” Horváth explains.
Top DestinationIn Poland, especially, but also in Czech Republic and Romania, larger cities beyond the capitals are attracting large investors into the shared services center vertical.
“From a cost, talent and infrastructure point of view, however, Hungary is still a top destination with relatively large IT potential that will be key in the coming years,” the KPMG director adds.
During the last few years, the most critical differentiating factor between business services centers were costs and the talent availability. However, COVID-19 has introduced some disruption in this regard.
“Today what matters is skill, skill and skill [….] and certainly safety, and resilience,” Horváth says.
Hungary’s SSC industry has seen a more than 10% annual growth in the past decades. In 2020, the core business of some centers was hit by the virus, yet, in general, the majority of them are still growing, despite the crisis.
“Every company is cost conscious and the SSC concept is a great and proven way to take cost out of the organization. Albeit new investments arriving to the country are slower than in the last few years, which is probably understandable,” Horváth added.
Remote Revolution?As the first wave of the pandemic hit in March, SSCs sent employees home in quick order and since then the majority of centers have been working remotely. As with any change in life, this comes with challenges and opportunities at the same time, as the KPMG director puts it. And change is coming, he says.
“It is hard to imagine that, once the crisis is over everybody will go back to work the same way as they did in 2019. In the short- and medium-term, companies will work remotely and are likely to grow in size and scope. In the long-term, I mean in a year’s time, the IT, automation, digitalization skills and safe business operations will make Hungary (or even one SSC vs. another) more competitive. European companies will think twice about outsourcing to Asia,” Horváth believes.
Working from home, however, does not represent that much of a disruption for employees working in many shared service centers as they are technically digital nomads. Employees from many different nationalities work in the business services center sector. In this context, working from home, or remotely, seems to be a viable option for anyone whose job does not require daily personal interaction with others.
It is hard to put precise figures on it, but it has been suggested that during the pandemic, many white-collars have at least toyed with the idea of moving to a Mediterranean or Caribbean island, and working from there. However, doing so may not be that easy.
“Today there is no clear regulation within the EU (not to mention globally) on immigration, taxation and from the legal point of view on how to treat home office or working from abroad. This may have an impact on the way we work today in the next few years,” Horváth concludes.
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11th annual CEE Business Services Awards
Build it or Buy It?: Outsourcing in Poland and Central Eastern Europe
BSC Directors VIP WineTastings, June-September 2023
BSC Charity Beach Volleyball Tournaments - June and August 2023