Business services centres assuring services in the field of information technologies R&D and logistics grew the fastest last year within the terms of the Czech business services segment. The entire sector reported 19% growth and the number of employees reached 89,000. Adoption of modern technologies will slightly slow this growth in future years, but on the other hand it will provide considerable support to its development in the sphere of quality and the scope of the provided services. We can expect that 100,000 people will be employed in this sector by 2020 and the global market will reorganise by 2025 – routine work will either be robotised or will move to cheaper countries. The Czech Republic aspires to become a sought after world centre of technological development. This information is the result of an extensive survey of the Czech business services market realised by the ABSL Company.
”This year’s survey has revealed two significant trends. The first is expansion of the services provided by individual centres, the other is the increasing IT specialisation of these centres,“ Jonathan Appleton, Director of the ABSL Association, which associates companies in the business services sector, said.
“Specialised centres are becoming multi-functional centres and the number of supported processes rose in 2017 by a whole 33%, which means that centres support 4 processes on average today. They therefore do not provide services only in the field of finance for example, but also in the field of personnel management, marketing, logistics, IT and similar, “ he added. According to Jonathon Appleton investors have found quality in this country, which is why they continue to expand their investments here.
New processes, new services, new languages
Expansion of the scope of centres results in their growth. An average of 385 employees work in one centre, which is 50 more than last year. The number of languages spoken in centres has also increased and has reached a total of 33, with Lithuanian and Japanese being new additions. 81% of Czech business services centres count on further expansion of supported processes and services in oncoming years. “Technologies play a big role in this aspect, particularly robotic automation, which allows us to eliminate routine work and devote activities to research and development, communication with customers or design of new services,“ says Jonathan Appleton, with the understanding that these technologies are currently capable of providing performance comparable to the performance of 1,500 people, which means that an average of eight employees in each centre can devote time to more qualified work thanks to automation.
63% of centres wish to start providing services to new customers in the future, which means that purely in-house service centres will gradually become hybrid centres, which support not only the branches of their parent company, but also provide services in the form of outsourcing to other companies.
2018 – growth slowed to 11 %, expansion has accelerated
Technologies will also have a considerable influence on the business services segment in the oncoming period. On one hand they slow the dynamic growth that the sector has reported in recent years, but they also result in creation of new professions and enable centralised handling of new processes and services. New types of services, such as automation management or data analysis and interpretation, are already appearing today thanks to robotics. According to Vision 2025, which was prepared by leading experts from Czech business services centres in collaboration with the ABSL and its partners Deloitte and Randstat, the entire sector will continue to focus more on research and development and IT services. “The Czech Republic will therefore become a sought-after centre of world technological development,“ says Jonathan Appleton.
Jobs in the future will change the world map of business services
Various surveys forecast that within three years 50 – 60% of positions in the business services segment will be replaced by technologies. Some of the “free” labour force can then be employed in development of new specialisations focusing on management and fine-tuning of robots and generally on adaptation of utilisation of technologies tailored to companies. “Centres already employ chatbot communication tree designers or robotic software trainers for example, and there will be many more positions according to Vision 2025. Specialists in WOW moments will find employment in customer centres and Big Data analysts who have a combination of knowledge of technologies and psychology will find employment in practically all centres,” Jonathan Appleton explains, with the understanding that creation of new positions will lead to completely new requirements for employee skills and subsequently also to changes to the distribution of business services centres in individual world destinations.
How can the Czech Republic remain competitive?
Closer collaboration between centres, educational institutions and also the government will be necessary for this vision to become reality. The Czech Republic has managed to successfully compete with other countries in Central and East Europe in the field of business services over the last decade and also with other countries offering mainly cheap labour (China, India…). “In order to maintain the competitiveness of the Czech Republic in this sector the educational system now needs to be focused more on informatics, technologies and innovations. These branches should be prioritised from primary school,“ Jonathan Appleton commented. According to him close cooperation between the academic world and the business sector is also necessary, so that school curricula are adapted to market requirements and so that education involves compulsory practical training. The government should use various means to promote technological development, whether this concerns tax policies or establishment of incubators or start-ups.
ABOUT THE ABSL
The ABSL (Association of Business Service Leaders in the Czech Republic) is an organisation associating companies active in the business services segment. This is a segment representing a strong source of employment in the Czech Republic. The ABSL originated in 2013 with the goal of supporting companies in the field of business services, sharing best practice and assisting in development of the activities of its members and other subjects active in this segment. The ABSL also provides support to foreign investors who wish to establish their business services centres in the Czech Republic. You can find more information here www.absl.cz.
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