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Interview with Milosz Aleksander
In February 2015, during a coffee break at the 6th Annual Shared Services Forum in Prague, we talked with Milosz Aleksander, Director, Finance & Shared Services Optimization at Polish Sony Pictures Entertainment. He had a lot to share about launching a new SSC based on his many years' hands-on experience. Enjoy!
Which criteria play a decisive role when selecting a location for Shared Services?
-I think labour arbitrage, language requirements & cultural closeness and the availability of other shared services in the area.
What surprised you most after you set up shared services in Poland?
-I think in general, the business environment in Poland is very encouraging and the level of investment is very generous. When we were setting up the company five years ago, we got a grant from the European Union, so overall it is a very positive business environment; also very positive was the fact that the market had not been fully penetrated by other companies. We were one of the biggest names there.
Have you identified any obstacles in Poland you haven’t been able to eliminate entirely?
-There is no shortcoming which cannot be overcome. At least I don't think so.
What are the most popular locations for Shared Service Centres nowadays?
-It depends on the region, but I think it's Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania… These are the hot spots at the moment. We see some emerging hot spots in Asia and in countries with developed economies like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. As for Latin America, the situation hasn’t changed – Costa Rica is the leader.
How about mainland China?
-China has been in the game for the last few years. However, I have noticed several companies are transferring their operations from China to other countries as China has relatively high labour costs in shared services. I would even say China is expensive. But it is still somewhere in the middle of the ranking for other reasons.
Where do you think shared services should go next?
-Definitely higher-value processes, sophisticated budgets, cost and performance analysis, as well as to optimise shared services centres, set up lift and ship processes and, after stabilising, there is a huge potential to implement best practices, e.g., process-based organisations, implementation across regions, establishing of clear responsibility, double-ownership and implementation of constant improvement programmes. This is more or less the scope.
-The conference is very well organised; I really like it and I think the audience is an interesting group of people.
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