How Big Can we Grow – the largest meeting of the BPO sector

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In the photo Marshal Marek Sowa is greeting participants, archival material from Centrum Business in Małopolska
„How Big Can we Grow?” – the international conference relating to shared services industry (Shared Services Center) and business service (Business Process Outsourcing) was held under this title on 23rd-25th May in Cracow.

The BPO famous names and specialists arrived in Cracow in order to discuss the opportunities and obstacles in the development of outsourcing in Central and Eastern Europe. The conference was organised by Centrum Business in Małopolska, ASPIRE and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers in the past).

The Conference started with the pre-conference day on 23rd May. That day not only Cracovian firms from the BPO/SSC sector, but also Cracovian higher education institutions and their students had an occasion to actively debate during the meeting entitled “Say YES!”. The main conference took place on 24-25th May in Sheraton Hotel’s conference centre.

All the guests were welcomed on 24th May by Andrew Hallam, General Secretary ASPIRE. Then Marek Sowa, the Marshal of Małopolska Region, expressed his satisfaction with the increasing number of global companies, which make investments in Cracow. The head of the region also drew attention to scientific potential of the capital of Małopolska, “The outsourcing industry is developing considerably in Małopolska and this is the reason for the local government to be proud. This success can be supported by the fact that we have well-educated young people and the best university in the country.”

Wiesław Bury, Chairman of Małopolska Regional Development Agency, highlighted Cracow’s good position in the outsourcing industry. This statement was supported by the fact that so far nearly 60 global concerns have located their head offices in Cracow. The Chairman pointed out the numerous advantages of Cracow, which contribute to its high position in the ranking of the largest outsourcing centres. Among those advantages are: a modern airport, educated personnel, and an easy access to highways.

A debate on the global outsourcing trends was the next part of the conference. The first lecture was above all about global economics, economy, and the euro-zone. Niall O'Leary Head of EMEA Portfolio Strategy State Street Global Advisors discussed this issue on the example of specific countries. He noted, among other things, the fact that German people have done a good work job in controlling inflation.

The lecture and the short discussion preceded a panel. During which Rakesh Sangani, Managing Director Proservanter, Kuba Więcaszek, Director, Accounting Plaza CEE (Genpact), and Vic Khan, Diector of Global Client Service Centres Alexander Mann Solutions, talked about the outsourcing development strategy and the geographical impact on the outsourcing industry.

After a short break, the participants had an occasion to take part in a lecture displayed on huge screens by Professor Geoffrey West from Santa Fe Institute. It was about the strategy of sustainable development for cities and corporations, and the problem of excessive urbanisation. The next speaker, Ben Knapp, Senior Brand Consultant Saffron Brand Consultants, indicated the importance of building up a good reputation by specific cities. He noted also the fact that cities are more and more frequently better recognised than countries in which they are located.

An afternoon session was held after a lunch break, it contained four thematic blocks: financial block, technological block, localisation block and human resources block. During the block related to geographical location Cracow’s different alternatives were discussed, while the block related to technology was mostly about new technologies. At the end of the day, Jerzy Owsiak, the founder and invariably the head of Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, spoke about social values.

On the last day of the conference Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, said hello to the guests. The Minister thanked for people’s interest in Cracow, simultaneously stressing the importance of the outsourcing industry in Cracow and its contribution to the creation of new job opportunities especially for young people. The Minister also drew attention to the reconciliation of professional and private life. He appealed to employers to create such circumstances for their employees to make it possible.

Then all registered participants listened to two another lectures. The first concerned the role of offshoring in the Polish economy strategy. Whereas the second one dealt with Google, the global network. The lectures containing four thematic blocks were presented later. They raised topics such as creating a corporate social responsibility or Cracovian students’ knowledge and opinions of the SSC, DPO, and IT.

The conference was finished with the lectures and training courses on building a culture of sustainable development. They were led by Fons Trompenaars, one of the five world’s best business consultants. He is also Chairman of Trompenaars, Hampden-Turner.

I’m of the opinion that the quality and level of discussion topics are at the global level. I hope that what we are doing now will be a benchmark for others. There is also a lot of people from abroad. I do not mean that somebody has been delegated for instance from an American company, also located here in Poland. People arrived from Croatia, Italy, the United States, India and many other countries. They came here not only to hear about what is happening in Cracow. It has gained world-wide renown and now we are discussing what is happening in the world, not only here,” - Roman Lubaczewski, partner in advisory services and consulting practice leader at PwC, commented on the conference.


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