Nearshoring in Poland as outsourcing solution for UK companies

IT nearshoring and software development outsourcing

No doubt you've heard of offshoring. This occurs when some or all of a business's process or services are based overseas. The purpose usually is to reduce costs. India is a common destination for IT offshoring. Essentially, it's a form of outsouricng. Now there's a new buzzword for the practice - nearshoring. One of the issues with outsourcing to locations like India, especially if you are a UK based business, is the tyranny of distance and culture. India is an inexpensive place to do business in. But if problems arise, and problems are inevitable if you consider the language and cultural differences between India and the UK, resolution is a long and expensive plane ride away. Nerashoring aims to overcome this. Nearshoring is the practice of basing your business's processes or services offshore but close to home. For UK businesses, that means Europe. The nearshoring capital of Europe is Poland. Why Poland ? Poland offers the critical combination of being relatively proximate to the UK and inexpensive to access, the cultural differences are minimal, the vast majority of the population speak good English, it has a phenomenally high rate of IT literacy, and it's reasonably cost competitive. It's certainly cheaper than doing the work in the UK

A few reasons why Poland works

Let's look at some obvious reasons why you should start nearshoring in Poland. The UK and Poland enjoy a strong and growing bilateral relationship. Poland is a member of both NATO and the EU. The governing Law and Justice Party has control of both houses of parliament and the country is politically stable. Since evolving into a free market economy in the early 1990's, Poland has become a modern success story. It is now the EU's sixth biggest economy. It enjoys a stable banking system, increasing foreign investment and rising living standards. Some countries may seem attractive on the surface as a nearshoring destination but lack the political, legal, financial and economic infrastructure to make the proposition viable. Poland is not one of those countries. Poland is stable and reliable.

In addition, Poland satisfies the key nerashoring requirement of proximity. It is a 90 minute flight from the UK. Flights are inexpensive and frequent. You can easily go over for the day. Such a scenario is not possible if you are offshoring further afield, in India or Asia. Proximity is one of the key benefits nearshoring has over traditional offshoring. This proximity help reduces the expense.

Language and Culture

We've all had the infuriating experience of calling a call centre after hours and striking an offshore call centre. It's a rare time that language and culture doesn't present as a barrier to communication and resolution of the problem. A key benefit of nearshoring in countries like Poland is that language and cultural barriers are largely overcome. Poles start learning English as soon as they start school. 37% of Poles speak good English. Out of a population of 38 million, that's 14 million English speakers. Proximity works for the Poles as well as the Brits. The Poles are exposed to UK media and television. Over half of all web content is in English. Relaxed entry EU travel rules mean that the UK is a common destination for Poles. Nearly 1,000,000 Poles live in the UK. Nearly double that number visit the UK each year as tourists or on business. That exposes them to the peculiarities and idioms of UK English as well as UK cultural mores. Poles are attuned to the English language and the English way of doing things. This overcomes many potential barriers to successful nerashoring.

The availability of skilled workers

A key to the recent success of Poland is it's large base of skilled workers. For centuries the country place a premium on education. The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked the Polish schooling system as one of the world's top ten - not bad for a country that suffered so much for much of last century. The emphasis and value placed on schooling in Poland flows into the tertiary education sector. Like many countries that have had to lift themselves out of relative poverty in recent generations, Poland has focused on providing services to richer countries. That meant upskilling its population. Providing services is usually cheaper, easier, less expensive and less environmentally impacting than providing goods. Poland has funnelled its students into service orientated industries like IT. The cultural value Poles place on education and the subsequent quality of its universities has made Poland an attractive place for students from abroad to study. Poland's six universities are all included in the QS World University Rankings. There are some 25 Masters level degrees available in IT and computer science, providing a skilled IT workforce exceeding 250,000 people who offer some of the world's best programming skills. This supply of skilled workers attracts not only UK businesses but also the big clue chip multinational IT firms like Google, Oracle, and Microsoft.


Cost Effective

This all sounds great, you might say, but what about the cost ? Poland isn't the cheapest destination in the world, or even Europe, to nearshore in but it is arguably the best destination. In terms of the cost, Poland ranks somewhere in the middle. You can offshore your work to some countries in South America or Africa for an annual cost of less than £1000 per worker. Malawi probably has its charms but I daresay life would be easier if you paid a little more and looked closer to home. Ukraine is generally considered the cheapest nearshoring destination to the UK. You could expect to hire a skilled IT worker there for approximately £20,000 per annum. Of course, Ukraine is not without its problems at present. With all economic, political and other problems in the neighbourhood, is it worth the risk?

Poland works because it is stable and secure. The average wage of a skilled IT worker in Poland is approximately £37,000. This is considerably less than what you would pay in the UK and for that you get an English speaking worker with a Masters level education.

Of course it is a generalisation, but people from countries like Poland don't always get the easy ride in the world that workers from countries like the UK or USA get. Subsequently, Poles can be hungry to succeed, more driven, more reliable and have a better work ethic. Something to keep in mind when looking for your next workforce.

Overall

There's lots of reasons why nearshoring in Poland can make sense for your business. Besides the financial perspective, operating offshore can lend your business a degree of cross cultural depth and intellectual know how that your onshore competitors lack. As a business owner, it can open your eyes to new ways of doing things, new markets, and new perspectives. If you are in the software and IT business and the expense and challenges of operating locally are starting to wear you down, the nearshoring professionals at startnearshoring.com may be able to help. They are experts are reducing operating costs and inefficiencies. They have extensive experience in assisting UK firms to relocate some or all of their processes and services offshore to countries like Poland. Even if you are unfamiliar with the country, they aren't. They can make the transition from being totally local to being nearshored as efficient and painless as possible. Having a quick chat with them might be the best business decision you've ever made.

[This is a sponsored post by Startnearshoring.com.]

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