Finding the optimal location for new Support & Services Centers has always been talent driven. But now technical skills are becoming decisive and this has a profound impact on location decision processes.
A talent strategy which is more and more implemented by many Support & Services Centers is a digital strategy. Top technologies invested in by Support & Services Centers include Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Big Data & Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A recent study of the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network among existing Support & Services Centers in the European market shows that especially in tight labor markets, intelligent automation is a big enabler of performance. Most international support centers in Central and Eastern Europe are currently at a 35-40% level of implementation. As a result of these technical developments within the Support Centers 45% of respondents in the study indicate that they need fewer but larger centers in the future, while 30% state that they expect more, but smaller and more localized, centers in the future.
About 10 years ago most tech jobs were concentrated in the ‘tech’ industry. Today, almost every company is trying to transform itself into a tech company. Tech jobs are spreading out and Support Centers are now no longer ‘just’ competing amongst each other, but also with the traditional tech companies and many other industries relying on Internet of Things, big data, automation and robotization of production and/or mobile apps to deliver value to consumers. Many of these non-support centers or ‘new’ competitors on the labor market can offer a more attractive working environment and better compensations packages, including stock options and other perks.
This battle for talent which challenges many international Support & Services Centers can be structured around: availability, skills and cost challenges. Especially the availability of technical experts and software engineers is keeping many HR professional awake at night. For more than 10 years now, programmer jobs have been amongst the hardest to fill all over the world. The top hiring challenges include the availability of the right technical skills, a lack of experience or soft skills, and demanding a too high salary. In the USA, Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ is further hindering the availability of foreign tech talent.
When it comes to selecting a new future proof location, the key stakeholders or decision makers mostly mention a whole array on factors that are important. The top 10 talent related location factors could help you to select the best location now and for the future: