BUSINESS FOCUS: Business service sector shows resiliency to pandemic crisis

Lay-offs, digitalisation, robotisation, business environment as well as the new home office legislation are among the highlights of the latest Business Focus.

After Bratislava, Košice is the second centre of the business service sector in Slovakia.After Bratislava, Košice is the second centre of the business service sector in Slovakia. (Source: TASR)

In January 2021, The Slovak Spectator published its Business Focus on business service centres. Here is your overview of stories from this focus issue:

Pandemic drives appetite for automation and robotisation

Shared service centres (SSCs) and business service centres (BSCs) have operated online since their very inception. This digital DNA makes them extremely flexible and better prepared for crises. The current crisis, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, has forced these centres to search for new forms of work and collaboration and to speed up digitalisation and robotisation.

“Pandemics and other crises force companies to look more intensively for ways to increase the extent of their adaptability to new conditions,” Peter Rusiňák, AmCham senior policy manager and AmCham Business Service Center Forum (BSCF) coordinator, told The Slovak Spectator.

Related articleThe pandemic drives appetite for automation and robotisation Read more 

What is behind mass layoffs in business service centres

For more than 20 years the business and shared service centre sector has silently grown into the third-most important pillar of the Slovak economy, after the automotive and electro-technical industry.

The recently announced mass layoffs at some of the centres and the removal of entire departments to India, have resulted in some fears over the sector's future in Slovakia.

In January, Johnson Controls and AT&T confirmed that they were scrapping hundreds of jobs at their Bratislava-based business service centres. IBM announced plans to scrap 10,000 work positions in Europe, including Slovakia, in November 2020. The company operates shared service centres in Bratislava and Košice.

Related articleNot just labour costs. What is behind mass layoffs in Johnson Controls and other BSCs Read more 

Favourable business environment creates competitive business centres

Stability and predictability are key preconditions for a well-functioning business environment in every country. Firms and entrepreneurs need to have rules that are fair, well known in advance and that lead to the creation of a competitive business environment. For their adjustment and subsequent adherence, the credibility of public institutions is important at both national and local levels.

A stable and predictable business environment in a country with functioning and trustworthy institutions is a prerequisite for the success of all sectors of the economy, including the business service centre industry, Peter Rusiňák, AmCham Senior Policy Manager & AmCham BSCF Coordinator, writes in his op-ed.

Related articleFavourable business environment creates competitive business centres Read more 

Going remote and still meeting customers’ demands. Business centres adapt to the pandemic

Business and shared service centres are used to working remotely and use the latest technology in their operations. The pandemic has thus not been as much of a blow as in other sectors, say the people who represent the sector in Slovakia.

The Slovak Spectator spoke with representatives of Lenovo Slovakia, Henkel Slovensko and Head of GBS+ Bratislava, IBM International Services Centre, Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia in Košice and Dell.

Related articleGoing remote and still meeting customers’ demands. Business centres adapt to the pandemic situation Read more 

COVID-19 has let the home office genie out of the bottle

After the novel coronavirus and anti-pandemic measures hit Slovakia earlier this year, the home office has become the new norm for those with jobs that can be done from home. The government has responded to the new situation with a so-called small revision to the Labour Code, redefining the institution of working from home, the rights and duties of employers and employees as well as the self-employed, while working from home.

“We needed to adjust the concept of the home office because an increasing percentage of people and employers are using this way of working during the pandemic,” said Labour Minister Milan Krajniak in early November, as cited by the TASR newswire.

Related articleCOVID-19 has let home office genie out of the bottle Read more 

BSCF 2020 Survey: Business centres continued growing

Business service centres (BSCs) and shared service centres (SSCs) have shown flexibility and resistance towards the crisis.

As many as 97 percent of them continued in their activities while keeping high labour productivity during the coronavirus crisis without any significant restrictions. At the same time, up to 84 percent of them have not asked for any state aid, indicate the results of the survey conducted by the Business Service Center Forum (BSCF), running under the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Slovakia, between January 1 and July 31, 2020, among its members.

Related articleMore home office, virtual teams and digital transformation: Business centres adapt to the crisis Read more 

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