The Evolution of Poland's Shared Service & BPO Sector

“Poland is a major source of IT talent, and this has sped up the evolution of the country’s shared service and BPO industry.”

As the war in Ukraine continues, Poland has recorded a very deep deficit in foreign trade in goods, but they’ve been able to finance it with a high surplus in the trade of services. This has allowed the country to maintain quite solid external stability. However, this seemingly rapid development has been possible only due to the gradual evolution of the shared service and BPO industry across the last 15 years.

We invited Ewa Baranek, Partner at Amrop Poland and a member of our Global Digital practice, to comment on the evolution of the shared service and BPO industry, the focus on advanced IT services and changes in the type of leadership profiles which executive search partners are looking at to support the evolving needs of the industry.

Ewa Baranek

“The shared service and business process outsourcing industry in Poland is vast and exporting extensively, which has shielded the country from a looming crisis – in October the surplus in trade services was estimated at 3,1 billion euros, compared to the 2,4 billion euros a year ago. This has mitigated the risk related to growing cost of fossil fuels and generally represents a large part of Poland’s economy.

What started as the outsourcing of simple accounting and financial services approximately 15 years ago, when headquarters of companies or mother companies located their hubs and centres of excellence in Poland, has evolved into a business value proposition, where high-level business services are now delivered. It is no longer only SAP implementation, but also part of consulting and added-value services. The operation in Poland is now much more client-focused, which, I believe, is due to the fact that the knowledge and experience accumulated across these years is combined with culture and attitude which makes flawless communication with global clients possible.

The industry now is heavily linked to IT services: software delivery, bespoke software and the whole ecosystem related to large technology companies like SAP, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and others. In recent years Poland has proven also to be a great source of IT talent and is home to a large number of software companies with international clients, where the same global delivery model is in place. They deliver high quality technology-oriented products: AI solutions, data analytics, marketing automation, and e-commerce solutions.

These shifts in the industry have, of course, also impacted how we as the executive search partner work with them, as the candidate profile for leadership positions has changed. At the beginning it was all about cost – the companies moved their operation to Poland to save on costs, therefore, the profiles we were focussing on  quality improvement, cost cutting, cost control, and very attached to the bottom-line. But in time, as the portfolio of the services started evolving, the profiles of the leaders needed to change too: it became someone who would nurture the operation, and work on boosting not only the quality, but also the creativity. It also had to be someone with a customer-focussed mindset with more orientation towards the end users.

What started with very simple operations evolved in data analytics, much more complex business support models, digital transformation, and cloud operation, and, in my experience, it is for the most part driven by the personal ambitions, involvement and evolution of individual professionals.”

To find out more please contact Ewa Baranek or the Amrop Digital Practice members in your country.