Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Poland as an Outsourcing Resource

Thenews.pl has once again highlighted some interesting economic information, this time on the success of Polish cities in providing outsourcing services.

A company called Global Services (The gateway to the outsourcing of IT and BPO - business process outsourcing - Services) has published a Top 100 Outsourcing Cities List. The cities are largely in developing economies, with Indian dominating the top 10. Some of the commentary on the Global Services site supports my expectation that important conditions for these services are the combination of a large supply, and therefore not expensive, of high quality staff. The European cities on the list, with their positions, are:

7 - Dublin, Ireland
11 - Kraków, Poland
22 - Prague, Czech Republic
27 - Budapest, Hungary
33 - St Petersburg, Russia
34 - Brno, Czech Republic
37 - Belfast, UK
38 - Warsaw, Poland
43 - Bucharest, Romania
46 - Moscow, Russia
49 - Bratislava, Slovakia
51 - Sofia, Bulgaria
52 - Tallinn, Estonia
54 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
56 - Kiev, Ukraine
59 - Glasgow City, UK
60 - Istanbul, Turkey
61 - Cork, Ireland
63 - Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia
78 - Leeds, UK
84 - Wroclaw, Poland
95 - Belgrade, Serbia
97 - Novosibirsk, Russia

Although, as always, it raises more questions than answers, the places both included and excluded - note the countries completed unrepresented - are interesting. Notorious UK (or at least GB) employment blackspots are not obviously different from those elsewhere in the UK or in other 'advanced' European economies. I therefore take the list as showing places that are doing particularly well in the face of difficult economic circumstances. It is a positive indicator, but with question marks over long-term sustainability.

Global Services comments that "Krakow leads the Top 10 Emerging Outsourcing Cities List. The city, constantly moving up the ranks since 2008, has built expertise in delivering FAO (financing and accounting outsourcing) services with improving service delivery maturity for ITO (information technology outsourcing) and HRO (human resource outsourcing) services. Large multinational companies have established their presence in the city, like Capgemini, Google, IBM and Microsoft".

This emphasises the inward investment effect, but what of Polish companies? Global Services also produced a 2010 list of the 100 Companies That Define Global Outsourcing. The European companies are shown below. The lack of any Polish company is not surprising, and it can only be my feeling of national competitiveness that makes it disappointing when seeing that Czech and Ukrainian companies are included. (I suspect that the Russian presence reflects the state of the Russian market, rather than their exceptional competitiveness and entrepreneurship, so no jealousy there.)

Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA - Luxembourg
Auriga Inc - Moscow, Russian Federation
Ciklum ApS - Kiev, Ukraine
IBA Group - Prague, Czech Republic
IBS DataFort - Moscow, Russian Federation
Luxoft - Moscow, Russian Federation
MERA - Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation
Reksoft - St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
SoftServe Inc - Lviv, Ukraine
Xchanging plc - London, UK

1 comment:

Decoy said...

Having worked in Dublin (#5) for 5 years and now in Kraków (#11) for 1.5 years in outsourcing environments, I think that inclusion on such a list is a combination of sound educational choices along with business decisions.

Ireland's attraction as a source for outsourcing was having an English-speaking, university-educated and relatively cheap workforce that could adapt quickly to business needs to support outsourcing. I see the same in Kraków now, although I think long-term sustainability can be possible here due to starting at a lower cost base, and possibly having more varied university graduates.

As for Polish companies starting up outsourcing - I think it will happen, in time. I think the principle of outsourcing has to be 'learnt' in Poland by foreign companies coming in and passing on the ideas, or Poles emigrating and returning with newfound knowledge to do so.