Jan Skoták works as the Regional Center Head at Infosys BPO in Brno. After graduating in Civil Engeneering he got a job in Sales & Marketing for Skoda (Plzen) in Dubai. Since then he worked his way up through business, operation, and organization change management in various countries. BEC asks him about the business Infosys BPO does in Brno.
How would you describe the business Infosys BPO does globally to someone who does not have a clue?
Infosys BPO (the business process management subsidiary of Infosys Ltd.) focuses on integrated end-to-end outsourcing and delivering transformational benefits to its clients through reduced costs, ongoing productivity improvements and process reengineering. To put it simply, other companies pay us to do work they believe we can do better than them – either because we have the domain expertise or the technology.
Can you give us some specific examples of work done in Brno?
We provide insurance, banking services, sales and fulfillment as well as IT services such as application support or technical helpdesk. We also have a sizeable presence in language services, assisting with translations and interpretations. The key value proposition of Brno is that in Brno we get an interesting combination of strong talent – hard and soft skills, at a reasonable price point.
Just so that I have a clearer picture, let’s say I work in insurance. What would my day look like?
As an Infosys BPO employee working for our insurance client, you would help the clients’ underwriters and brokers of insurance create new policies that they then send to clients. You would be doing work that requires knowledge and expertise – like assessing risks, updating policies based on brokers’ requirements, reconciling data with the old policies to make sure all the regulatory requirements are met.
What parts of the world do the companies you do business with come from?
The Infosys BPO Delivery Center in the Czech Republic has a portfolio of clients from the US, Sweden, Finland and Germany among others. We mainly work for European companies or European branches of American companies.
How long has Infosys been active in Brno?
The legal entity was founded in 2004 and our operations started in 2005.
Has your foreign crew changed much over the time?
This is actually quite interesting and nicely demonstrates how Brno has changed in recent years. When we started operations in Brno, the initial thought was to hire local people only, but then we realised we would be serving European customers and that it would help to have natives from those countries to bridge the initial cultural gap. We tried to reach a ratio of 80 % locals and 20 % foreigners. At that time, the average age at Infosys BPO, Brno was 24 years. Today, we have slightly more than half of our employees non-Czechs and the average age is over 30.
In conclusion, Brno is more attractive for foreigners, it is easier for them to come here and stay, even have a family. Additionally, people do not see BPO/SSC industry as a stop gap before getting a “proper job”. This is a proper job and most people here are in it for the long haul.
How many employees does Infosys have in the Czech Republic?
We have about 400 employees across Brno and Prague. We have employees from over 40 different nationalities. Besides Czechs, there is a sizeable population of Slovaks, Romanians, Germans, Spanish, Americans and Scandinavians.
What skills are you looking for when hiring right now?
As of today, we are looking for people with specific technical knowledge, language proficiency and domain skills.
What factors do you think make Brno attractive to foreigners?
Brno is a nice city – and thanks to its many universities, it is young and modern. What also attracts people is the ratio between what you earn and what you can save after spending. I think this value proposition of Brno is extremely strong right now.
Additionaly, there are a number of companies looking for people with similar skills so if you come here, you don’t have to worry that you are putting all your eggs in one basket. And also with efforts of entities such as the Brno Expat Centre, foreigners feel very comfortable here.
They still must miss things, though.
Well, there is the issue of connectivity by air. Of course, you can take a bus to Prague or Vienna but in our business, and for our clients, air travel is important.
On a more personal level: you have experienced the expat life in countries such as United Arab Emirates, Denmark, USA or Spain. Is there anything from out there that you would like to see in Brno?
Naturally I would like to have the Dubai weather in Brno. But generally I do think the value proposition of Brno is solid.
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