Interest in outsourcing is not waning, just the opposite: a growth in this sector is expected both among enterprises which have decided to make their first steps in outsourcing and those which already have their centres but want to extend the range of activities.
What are the activities of PwC company at the moment and why has it changed its name?
Our operation in PwC can be divided into three main business areas: business consulting, audit services and legal and tax consulting. We are continuously extending the range of our services - in February this year we have opened a brokerage house and in 2010 our business was extended by PwC Academy, which offers training services. The reasons for changing the company name in Autumn 20120 were the rapid growth of the company in recent years, extending our range of services and entering new markets. However, the short name PwC and the new logo are only an external expression of deeper changes. These changes help us, together with our clients, to co-create the business value sought after by them, as well as to reinforce and modernise the way in which we communicate with the market, employees and other societies around the world. In Poland this change went paired with a very symbolic moment – 20th anniversary of starting our operation on the Polish market.
Is this related to a change in scope of operation of the company?
Answering the market needs, PwC continuously develops its competency teams. In recent years, it has strengthened HR consulting and IT consulting teams, as well as the team dealing with the development of intellectual capital in private enterprises and in public sector. The company is prepared to assist foreign investors - among others, within PwC there is an expertise team assisting German speaking customers. The company is consistently developing its offer directed at Polish private enterprises, which are developing dynamically and more and more often they decide to expand abroad.
What is the current strategy of PwC?
PwC knows the global trends very well but it focuses primarily on the reality and on the needs of customers in Poland. We approach every customer individually - we establish lasting relations, offering services tailored precisely to concrete needs. This results in understanding and fulfilling of customers expectations. PwC also has both sector teams as teams specializing in particular services. It is the customer who determines how a team dealing with the problems of his company will be structured. In this way, an interdisciplinary group is created which addresses the issue comprehensively and thoroughly. Also, PwC operates on the basis of sectoral specializations, as only the knowledge of a sector, where the given customer functions, can allow us to offer him best quality services. This is why we have separate teams for dealing with a variety of sectors: energy, gas-oil, pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, real estate sector, financial sector, insurances, media and entertainment, telecommunications and many others.
What do you think is the reason for the growing popularity of outsourcing in the last years in Poland?
Growing? I think it has been on a similar level. Maybe 10 years ago we didn't hear about BPO so much directly in business, and now its popularity is indeed starting to grow. This trend has also established itself in Poland, mainly because of very good conditions for the development of outsourcing. We have a lot of cities, where population is over half million people. Among others, Warsaw, the capital, and about 20 cities where the populations are more or less half million. This number is so important because it means that around 30-50 thousand people are studying at the universities. Therefore, there is a continuous flow of people and potential workers. When setting up a business, you have to think about the years to come - what will happen in a year, or two, or three. With such cities you can be sure that every year people graduate. They are our potential employees. We are looking for cities where there are young, smart, wise people. This is why it is so important. In Romania there is a similar situation. Also there you have a lot of cities with similar population, where there are quite a lot of universities, which every year can provide companies with new employees. In Czech Republic and Slovakia you have the capital city and then one, two more such big cities. The capital is usually too expensive and the second city is too small. This is exactly why Poland is such a perfect place to develop this sector.
What are the characteristics of outsourcing, let say in Cracow, when compared to other Polish cities?
Cracow is certainly the largest outsourcing centre in central-eastern Europe. Cracow is number one in developer cities. It is not so easy to say what is the reason for it. Maybe because this is very much a university city and there are always a lot of students here. We should also look at the history of the city - it was Cracow where the first outsourcing centre in Poland was opened. When for example Wrocław was beginning its activities in this area, Cracow was already experienced, it had a few thousand people in operation, the hard beginnings behind. To tell you the truth. I don't see a big difference between Trójmiasto, Cracow and Wrocław. But the fact is, most companies choose Cracow.
Do you think interest in BPO sector will grow?
Three years ago the situation was so that the number of people in outsourcing became stable. It was about 15-16 thousand people. Today we have 26 thousand. I have no idea what happened in this time. I don't think anyone can point any particular reason and explain why this has happened. Surely, the fact that more and more companies wants to open their own outsourcing centre has had influence here. These companies usually choose Cracow as umber 1 in outsourcing, then they compare other cities to the capital of Malopolska - it is a reference point. When I talk to companies which already have their outsourcing centres, they definitely plan expansion of their business. They forecast an increase in employment. So, if someone has 1000 employees, he expects to have 200-300 people more in two, three years. Even if there are no new companies, I expect that the number of people employed in outsourcing will still grow.
And new companies? Do you expect any inflow or emergence of new enterprises operating in BPO in Poland?
No one knows it, and no one can predict it. If I had to answer this question, I would say: defintely yes. I think it won't be such a big increase as we have noticed in the last years, but there will definitely be more companies.
How do Polish cities look at the world stage?
I think there is no comparison to India for instance. India is absolutely the number one, and there is nothing to compare. Why? They are cheaper, Poland has 26 thousand people, while India maybe 26 milion people. In india a city which would be considered too small has about 2 million inhabitants. Philippines have been equally popular recently. They surely stand out when it comes to price - they are 30, even 50 per cent cheaper than Poland. Where is Poland’s advantage? There are very many languages in Europe, we have this privilege that we can find, let's say 30 people who can talk Italian, Dutch, Czech and so on without a problem. Philippines and India don't have it. So, this is where our chance lies. This is an enormous advantage. Because there are no other countries in this sector, apart from Poland, where linguistic possibilities would be so developed.
Can outsourcing deal with the crisis?
Our newest reports show that interest in outsourcing is not waning. Just the opposite, a growth is expected in this sector, both among enterprises which have decided to make their first steps in outsourcing and those which already have their centres but want to extend the range of activities. The world crisis may delay the decision about outsourcing in some cases, but it equally often happens that it accelerates this decision. This is related to the fact that most companies consider outsourcing from the perspective of making savings, which is reasonable; although there are more advantages to outsourcing than that.
Thank you for conversation.