Outsourcing a‘la Polish

Poland is a very popular state for foreign investors. This concerns mainly the PBO sector (Business Process Outsourcing). The questions arises whether we use our potential completely.

Poland is a leader among the states of Central-Eastern Europe, both as number of people employed in outsourcing services performed for foreign companies is concerned (so called offshoring) and participation in generating GDP (3 million dollars in 2010). It is not so much obviousy in comparison with the great worldwide leaders, India – the centre of financial and IT services and China where the investments are mainly made in manufacturing industry.

Poland is rather more similar to India in this respect. Financial specialists, accountants HR specialists, forwarders and IT specialists are mainly sought in our state. The main advantage of our state is relatively cheap and well qualified labour stuff that in addition to that has a reasonable command of foreign languages. Moreover, other costs of the activity are not so high, we can rely on the aid of the state, the European Union and local governments when making huge investments and additionally applying for the localization in the Special Economic Zone where (for above because of exceptional tax exemptions) the expenses will be even lower.

The confirmation of the above arguments are high places of Poland in the rankings of states that recommend making investments there. As an example the prestigious information technology research and advisory firm Gartner and the chillibreeze.com portal place us in the leading position of the states in the world (those first even at the 10th place) as leaders in the region. Apart from the previously enumerated advantages, they underline additionally: excellent localization (close neighbourhood with Germany and Russia and with other states of the European Union) and moderately stabile political situation (clashes between the PO and PIS political groups are undoubtedly nothing in face of prospective wars, upheavals and rebels in the states of Asia or Africa that are also relatively high in the rankings).

We can not be excessively optimistic. Firstly, the place of Poland lightly dropped in the rankings from the last year determining its attractiveness in comparison with the other countries what is mainly caused by the prices equalization in relation to other EU states. In particular the worrying factor is that as far as the number of people employed in outsourcing and the income generated by the them other states of the region catch up with us (the Czech Republic, Hungary), but other countries achieved a record-breaking increase in this field(Romania, Bulgaria). It should be remembered that our state is much bigger in comparison with the above ones. According to the research of the A.T Kearney Study group we dropped in 38th place in the world as far as attractiveness for offshoring is concerned.

On the one hand, we should be glad that our incomes rise enough that we become less popular for outsourcing. On the other hand, we con not forget about its advantages. They are not only work places but also economy boosting, development of the cities, achievement of experiences or new buildings. Apart from that this is a significant although not the only one factor attracting investors.
In order to increase the competitiveness of our state, other factors encouraging investors should be found. A good initiative is for example, however slowly introduced, cooperation of institutions of higher education with entrepreneurships (as an example recently Cracow University of Technology, Cracow University of Economics, MSCU in Lublin), that may at last change our theoretical traditional system of education into practical one that is a problem of Polish universities from many years.                                                                   

The students would acquire a knowledge  that will be required from them by their prospective employers and the entrepreneurships would have a wide section of appropriately qualified young people that may form stuff qualified in an appropriate manner in the future. The most of the arguments for such a cooperation has university. Its prestige grows, attracts a bigger number of the people willing to study and is connected with generous subsidies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

It should not be exaggerated as institution of higher education should stay a place where students acquire not only professional knowledge but have a general knowledge about the finished  faculty.

As far as money is concerned, private companies are sponsors of 80% of research in the field of R&D (Research and Development) that take place in research centres of the Polish institutions of higher education. A proof for the fact that not everything works that should work is our penultimate place taken in the ranking of innovation among that states of the European Union (we left Romania behind). The fields where Poles are appreciated and talented should be particularly supported. An excellent example are our young IT specialists that in spite of considerably less means than their colleagues form other states, win the contests in the field of IT.

A good example is Cracow that from several years takes a leading place  of the cities  attractive for outsourcing in the world (1st place in 2010 according to Global Service and Tholons). Slowly going away from the aided positions (for example accountants) and concentrating on those that use knowledge to a greater extent (so called KPO- Knowledge Process Outsourcing). It enables to use a huge database of students and graduates of the biggest university centre in Poland).

General outlines may sometimes set a limit on the willingness of the one of the parties. Individual negotiations should be conducted with especially attractive investors who are willing to invest their capital in Poland (state, cities, institutions of higher education, etc).
To sum up, Poland does well with the matter of inciting outsourcing investments, although the potential is considerably higher. The same in other investments of all sorts we can not only wait until offers appear but we should be an active player in this field. It also should be remembered not to exaggerate in this activity. 

Tags: BPO
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