“Outsource Romania”: Why Romania is new outsourcing hotspot
Business Management

“Outsource Romania”: Why Romania is new outsourcing hotspot

The following is a contributed article by Paolo Marcattilj, UK director at Global Remote Services, Romanian independent contact centre outsourcer for enterprises across Europe.


At the “Outsource Romania” event last month organised by the European Business Awards and hosted by the Embassy of Romania, the newly appointed Ambassador from Romania to the UK, Ambassador Mihnea Motoc commented “Romania is now an outsourcing valley for BPO, research programmes, Information Technology outsourcing as well as for contact centres (either as shared services and/or outsourced.) The new age of outsourcing is more about innovation and outsourcing certain capabilities, cost effectiveness has replaced pure lowest cost.”

“It has been eye opening and quite exciting to discover what we could do in Romania. It really is a hidden outsourcing gem right on our doorstep.” This was the view of Kate Lester, CEO of Diamond Logistics  and typical of the responses of the 12 UK business leaders attending a private dinner hosted by the Romanian Embassy and the European Business Awards aimed at showcasing Global Remote Services and focused on the topic of Outsourcing in Romania.

Global Remote Services (GRS), a leading European provider of multi-lingual contact centre and BPO solutions, based in Romania, was asked to speak at the event to share their experience with companies they service from the UK, Italy and France. Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards said he knew there was a growing outsourcing business in Romania, but it was only when GRS emerged as one of the National Champions in Romania that they  were genuinely impressed and surprised by the skill and degree of capability in BPO and customer facing operations.

In welcoming the guests to Romanian Embassy in the UK, Ambassador Mihnea Motoc explained how Romania had over recent years used the advantage of its well-educated and multilingual population, very low cost basis and excellent broadband speed (5th fastest in the world according to Bloomberg) to build a high level of competency in the outsourcing field. He explained how Romania is becoming one of the fastest growing outsourcing destinations in Central and Eastern Europe, which has helped it to become one of the fastest growing economies in the EU.

The event certainly seems to confirm Romania’s ever increasing reputation as an attractive outsourcing destination. Indeed, the 2014 A.T. Kearney index ranked Romania 5th among the most attractive outsourcing destinations in Europe. Also, according to the Times Outsourcing Business supplement 2012, Romania occupies 6th position globally in the top 10 emerging outsourcing destinations. Also, a 2014 study by KPMG ranked Romania as the fastest growing market in the European Union in terms of IT outsourcing services.

At a recent event organised by ABSL in Romania earlier this month, Everest Group listed the key opportunities for companies to leverage Romania for global services delivery as;

  • Global Hub in multi-lingual voice and back office operations
  • Regional location to fulfil specific considerations and/or diversified to offshore locations
  • Selectively explore opportunity to create multi-fold impact on the enterprise by evolving beyond cost focus 

 

So what is making Romania a preferred outsourcing destination?

Attractive prices, flexible, skilled and multilingual workforce

With attractive prices versus performance, young motivated and flexible workforce with strong language skills, and only a 1-2 hour flight away, with a close cultural affinity and similar mentality to US/ Western Europe, and a high level of commitment to projects and overall relationship with the client, Romania is interesting both for outsourcing and for investment.

Main global players, such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, P&G, ING Bank, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, Unicredit and others, choose Bucharest, together with some other Romanian cities, as main service HUB.

Due to the country’s university tradition, Romania’s human capital is considered to be one of the most educated in the CEE and SEE Region. More than 900.000 students are studying in over 100 public and private universities from across the country and more than 200 000 graduate yearly.

Romania is one of the countries of the CEE & SEE region where language skills are most proficient.  Eastern Europe in general, Romania in particular, is perfect for those markets where French, Italian, Spanish and English are required languages.

The country’s multilingual and large labour force and student body are among the main lures for global companies to outsource in Romania.  For example, GRS provides customer interaction in more than 12 languages.  The linguistic capability makes it particularly attractive for BPO operations that require interaction with customers all over the world.

The official language, a Latin language similar to Italian, Spanish and French and with Slavic elements, offers to Romanians the perfect mix of elements for learning with ease foreign languages and be multilingual. As an example, a Eurobarometer special survey states that 31% of the entire Romanian population speaks English and 17% speaks French.

Labour regulation is highly flexible in Romania thus allowing both efficiency (workload peak management) and quality (recording, supervising, incentive management, etc.)

Price has been seen as a particular advantage in the past, however Paolo Marcattilj, CEO of GRS argues; “The cost efficiencies are really a by-product to the work Romania is doing to help grow global businesses through building great customer relationships and the benefits we bring through our language capabilities and highly skilled work force.”

Whatever the many reasons are for Romania becoming an outsourcing destination of choice, Romania is growing its position as home to more offshore and nearshore centres than any other Southeastern European (SEE) country.

As Paolo concludes; “Romania definitely represents, today, a sizeable, and ready-to-get, opportunity as a BPO nearshore “smart” sourcing area, still to be fruitfully leveraged, especially by the UK companies.”

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