For the last fifty years or so, offshore services have affirmed South East Asia’s rightful position on the global stage. With Pakistan trailing behind, India supplied about half of the total call center and BPO services to North America and Europe. Nevertheless, there has been an interesting paradigm shift in the last few years.
Many organizations are redirecting their outsourcing targets to southeast Europe because of various reasons. They include more affordable on-demand skills, lower costs, varying cultural affiliations, strategic location, and multilingual trade-offs, among other reasons. Kosovo conspicuously stands out in the southeast European region as a giant in the outsourcing industry.
Which types of services are outsourced?
Global corporate giants such as HP, Siemens, Oracle, Microsoft, Dell, and IBM were some of the pioneers in the outsourcing world, intimating an all Information Technology affair. Today, it spans nearly all business sectors, ranging from travel & leisure to automotive, financial, real estate, e-commerce, consulting, education, and retail, among others.
Business Process Outsourcing services that are commonly outsourced can be broadly classified into two: Information Technology services and business processes.
IT services include application development, data center services, application management, infrastructure, IT help-desk, testing, and IT support. Examples of business processes include call center & client support, procurement, engineering & design, payroll services, facilities management, marketing, logistics, finance, and human resource services, among others.
One of the things that come into perspective is the ever-changing nature of outsourcing. Currently, outsourcing vendors are evaluated depending on their strategic capacities to meet clients’ needs and the extent of value addition to clients’ overall experience. Essentially, it is not enough to get something done anyhow. Providing innovative solutions and exceptional customer service at competitive prices has become a gold standard in the outsourcing industry.
How did Kosovo become an outsourcing magnet for Europe?
When looking at the outsourcing industry in Southeast Europe, it is impossible to ignore Kosovo. The youngest population in Europe is found in Kosovo. As a matter of fact, more than 50% of the people in Kosovo are below the age of 25. The annual average growth rate is 25%, and the country is a leader in the ITO/ Business Process Outsourcing sector. The notable growth was achieved during the financial crisis that spread across Europe.
The impressive annual growth is partly due to three main factors: an economically active population (most people are highly educated and skilled), the widespread acceptability of IT, and extensive internet penetration. These factors enable people living in Kosovo to provide excellent outsourcing services.
The country has become one of the best destinations across the world for clients looking for a wide range of outsourcing services. Kosovo has emerged as an attractive destination for Information Technology services and business processes outsourcing because of a large pool of highly educated workforce and low costs, among other reasons.
Breaking language barriers
For many years, multinational corporations from the US rarely outsourced services to Southeast Europe because the main focus was on offering English-speaking services. Currently, English alone does not suffice. Kosovars can communicate in English with absolutely no difficulty. When someone writes or speaks in English, it is difficult to tell if he/she is a Native American or a native of Kosovo.
Companies in various industries are now attending to their clients not just in English, but also in German, French, Chinese, and Spanish. Outsourcing companies in Kosovo can now attend to German, French, Chinese, and Spanish speakers. Additionally, the country is home to many indigenous speakers of other European languages such as German and Italian.
Geographical & cultural proximity
Even though Kosovo cannot provide services similar to what other countries offer, the country has several advantages over other economies. Some of the reasons why many organizations outsource in Europe include ease of management, the operational culture that matches that of the United Kingdom, and strategic location, among others.
Highly skilled workforce
Global companies in the call center & client support, procurement, engineering & design, payroll services, facilities management, marketing, logistics, finance, human resource services as well as IT services are always in need of highly qualified workers who can communicate in specific languages. This category of employees is readily available in Kosovo.
Every year, thousands of students graduate with honors in several universities and colleges spread across Kosovo, thus providing an adequate human resource to power the outsourcing industry. They could be working in the field of digital marketing, such as Tactica, New Jersey SEO Company that employs a number of Kosovar youngsters.
Additionally, the education system focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The education system, therefore, churns highly skilled and talented employees into the vibrant outsourcing market.
While outsourcing in Europe, you can cut costs by significant margins. Outsourcing companies in Kosovo pay their workers low wages. Organizations can, therefore, pass the costs saved onto their clients. Given that resources are not pegged on an organization’s payroll, the business strategy can help reduce capital expenditure.
Currently, Kosovo represents a small percentage of the global outsourcing market. Nonetheless, rapid changes keep occurring, and the country’s growth is about twice as much as that of the worldwide outsourcing industry. This is a clear indication that Kosovo has become an outsourcing magnet for many companies.