business services sector

in the czech republic

ABSL Report 2021

Tech-Driven Change

Digitalization & automation driving transformation

Traditionally, business services drive efficiency by processing large volumes of standardized work. This environment creates the opportunity for introducing large-scale digitization and new technologies to increase efficiency and reduce service costs.

Centres are often pioneering new technologies that are later adopted by the rest of the parent company, even while leveraging them to enable broader service options and greater value delivery to the organization. As innovation and digitalization rates increase, so does the pressure to integrate technology solutions.

Automation performs work equivalent to:


full-time employees across the sector
compared to 5 000 in 2019


full-time employees per centre
compared to 16 in 2019

Automation experts: Building robotics and automation capabilities

The growing digital workforce must be managed by an increasing number of automation experts. Over the last 2 years the number of the automation experts operating within the sector has almost tripled. The centres further plan to expand their automation teams by 60% within the next 3 years.


full-time employees across the sector
almost 3 times more than in 2019


of the robotics and automation capability is built by the centres in-house


average size of automation team (FTEs) per centre in 2020


average size of automation team (FTEs) per centre planned within 3 years

Where do the automation experts come from? 70% come from the centres themselves. More than a half are a part of in-house teams trained within the centre and additional 19% of the capability is built by allocating the robotics projects to existing roles within the company. This shows that the centres are essentially becoming automation innovation and training hubs.

“The responsibility for finding the technologies and tools that international companies need to develop and operate is increasingly being taken over by the service centers themselves. This is one of the reasons why their share of positions related to IT, research and development is growing.”

Jonathan Appleton
Managing Director
ABSL Czech Republic
Scope of automated services

Finance & Accounting is reported to be the most automated area, in which 85% of the centres have already implemented automation on some processes. On average, 24% of processes have been automated within F&A – most commonly scanning of invoices, AP/AR or reporting.

IT Services show a great potential for further automation, since the centres report on average 21% of processes within IT being automated (such as automated approvals, ticket management or helpdesk).


of centres have implemented automation on some of their processes

Use cases of activities performed by automation within that area

Scope of services using Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is being increasingly implemented especially in HR, F&A or notably Customer Operations, where 24% of the business services centres have already implemented AI on average on 11% of their processes. These tend to be chatbots, however, other use cases for AI within business services include invoice processing, talent management or performance review.


of centres have implemented AI on some of their processes

Winner 2020 in category Customer Initiative
ABSL Diamonds Winner

In the Customer Initiative category, Dixons Carphone earned the award, providing finance, HR, logistics, customer support and IT services from its Brno center to its electronics parent company. At the same time, however, they are also involved in innovative projects, robotics and the development of an e-commerce platform. The pandemic caused a significant increase in the company’s online sales, which changed the way we communicate with customers, leading to a tripling of the volume of interactions with the customer line in Sheffield, UK. On congested lines, which operate from 6 am to 6 pm, customers often had to wait 60 minutes for the operator. The Brno team identified areas of queries that could be solved much faster and more efficiently with the help of RPA (robotic process automation), where the customer just fills out a simple form and practically immediately gets the answer needed, 24/7. The whole project from idea to implementation took only 5 weeks. Today, the robot can work as 110 full-time workers, and thanks to its scalability, its capacity can be further increased.

Automation methods on the rise

The two most common methods of automation implemented and planned to be used in business services are Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR). However, the ABSL Survey 2020 shows that in the upcoming year a significant increase in the implementation of Machine learning, Artificial intelligence and Chatbots can be expected.


of centres plan to increase automation in their centre in the upcoming year

Towards an effective automation strategy

The surveyed centres continue to report that the main obstacle to an effective automation strategy are processes and systems, which are not sufficiently aligned and standardized. This is a crucial obstacle to overcome since automation is identified as one of the key tools for the business services to transform into high-productivity GBS hubs.

"Always challenge any resistance to automating tasks in your organization. An automation-first mindset will help you forge the right corporate DNA and working habits until it becomes second nature. "
- A Leader's Vision for Business Services -

Reasons for investing in robotics and automation


of centres invest in automation to boost employee engagement

Automation brings several benefits to the company, but the main focus continues to be on employee engagement. The reduction of manual workload frees up the time of skilled workforces to develop into the automation experts or higher-value workers, which the centres need on their journey towards becoming partners of the parent company.

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