The modern services sector in Poland consists of over 1.5 thousand centres, and in 2019 53 new ones were established. - I am very optimistic about the year 2021.

Shared service centers quickly adapted to the coronavirus crisis. The extensive ICT infrastructure and management flexibility made the vast majority of companies quickly switch to remote operation.  Poland has proved that even in times of crisis it is possible to maintain continuity of work, so we anticipate that the development will be faster than this year and the previous year," said Wiktor Doktór, President of the Progressio Foundation.

- The market of shared services centres in Poland has been developing for nearly a quarter of a century and the last four months have shown how unprecedented circumstances can affect this sector. The coronavirus has caused an almost immediate transfer of work to a remote model, which Poland has managed to do very well in comparison with other regions of the world, e.g. Asia," says Wiktor Doktór in an interview with Newseria Biznes.

According to research conducted by the Association of Business Service Leaders of ABSL, the modern services sector quickly adapted to the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One in three companies has switched to the remote operation mode already one day after the kindergartens were closed, and 85% of them did so within five days.

- The coronavirus situation showed that it is possible to maintain continuity of work by remaining outside office structures. The sector of shared services centres is one of the few that has found itself in all this uninteresting situation," says the President of the Progressio Foundation.

For companies, the transition to the remote work model required the implementation of new tools for communication or work monitoring. One of the major challenges for the industry, as emphasized by Wiktor Doktór, was to develop standards for remote personnel management. The second one turned out to be the introduction of solutions that would provide the greatest possible cyber security.

- Transferring process support to a remote, distributed model required appropriate vigilance and securing access to data. This process is quite challenging and cyber security will be one of the main topics that shared services centres will continue to deal with if they think about continuing to work in the distributed model - says Wiktor Doktór.

The surveyed representatives of the centres declared that they are ready to transfer 35% of employed people to remote or mixed work.

ABSL data indicate that the modern services sector in Poland consists of 1513 business process service centers, shared services, IT and R&D centers. In 2019, 53 new facilities of this type were created, of which 19 were created by Polish companies. Among 970 companies with business service centers in Poland 71 percent are foreign investors, but new centers are opened mainly by Polish investors. The next positions are occupied by American, German, French, Dutch, Swedish and British companies.

- Last year there were 29 new investments in shared services centres, in 2020 we have 11 entrances to various Polish cities. This number may double this year, so it will be very similar to last year. I am very optimistic about the year 2021, which is due to the fact that Poland has proved that it is possible to maintain continuity of work even in times of crisis. Therefore, for 2021 we expect that the development will be higher than in 2019-2020 - analyzes Wiktor Doktór.

The Polish market may gain from the phenomenon of nearshoring, i.e. returning to local markets and shortening supply chains in the global economy. This may mean that Poland will take over investments and orders directed so far to e.g. Asia. According to ABSL studies, such a trend is expected by nearly half of companies.

More than half (56%) of the newly established centers is a result of new investors entering the Polish market As the expert points out, although a lot is said about reshoring or nearshoring, the best location for investors is still Europe.

- I am fresh off conversations with experts from Great Britain and the United States, who clearly say that Europe has shown itself as a stable market. So you can see interest in locating shared services centers in Poland, Lithuania or Bulgaria. We can expect further investments in this region - convinces the President of the Progressio Foundation.


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