The most significant global providers of shared services met last week in London for an annual conference at the Hotel Russell, which was held from 10 to 12 March 2015. The event was attended by 110 delegates including top managers of service centres and representatives of corporations who are deciding on this form of internal processes in their respective firms. Because the Czech Republic is experiencing rapid development in the area of shared services, the conference was also attended by CzechInvest’s representative in the United Kingdom, Michal Mravinač.
Two trends are currently dominating the entire shared-services sector on the global scale. First, single-purpose shared-services centres are being converted into multipurpose centres. The second trend consists in centres’ changing geographic reach, i.e. regional centres are becoming global centres.
“We can see these trends in the Czech Republic. For example, Dixons’ centre in Brno is continually integrating new processes within the firm and, following the merger with Carphone Warehouse, it is incorporating all company processes into a single global standard,” Mravinač explains.
A longstanding topic of debate within the shared-services sector is focused on how to cope with cultural diversity, which is a typical feature of practically every centre. In this respect, the Czech Republic has a significant advantage, as the local work culture is very similar to that of globalised companies.
In the Czech Republic there are already expanded centres focusing on financial and IT services. Though they are currently less common, HR and legal services are gaining popularity.
“Brno has had the most success in recent years, though Ostrava and Olomouc are growing in popularity. There is also interest in Hradec Králové and Pardubice, but these cities are hindered by a lack of suitable office spaces. The Ústí region is attractive due to its low costs,” says Mravinač.