Sites, talent and tech for growth

April 23, 2020

FEATURED IN HOTSPOT

Service delivery centres are an increasingly key component in the region’s economic engine room, employing thousands of people and bolstering companies’ progress with vital technology-focused support. However, as digital demand intensifies, Steven Hugill hears how the industry can further prosper in the North East and create thousands of additional posts

Service delivery centres account for around 50,000 jobs in the North East employment market.

If the figure sounds in any way surprising, it shouldn’t.

The sector, underpinned by the use of technology to support organisations’ workflows across areas such as finance, risk management, legal and audit, has grown exponentially in the last decade and the pace shows little sign of easing.

For Dynamo board member Angus Kidd, who previously served as managing director of financial services company Credit Suisse, the North East has all the ingredients it needs to deliver thousands of further world-class service delivery centre jobs.

“I see an opportunity to create another 10,000 jobs minimum in the industry across the region,” says Angus, who has more than 15 years’ experience in running large delivery centres for Credit Suisse in Singapore, Poland, India and the US.

“This is the kind of activity any company needs to survive and there is an opportunity for growth – we have already started to see such work rise in the North East, from both UK and international firms.

“You need a talent pool, good transport links and real estate, local authority support and price point to succeed,” continues Angus.

“I’ve had those five things in four other countries, and it’s been successful, so I see no reason why we can’t do it here as well.

“It’s all about getting a community together and creating a collective voice to make sure we’re attracting the right investors,” he adds.

To that end, Angus is wholeheartedly backing Dynamo’s Service Delivery Centre Cluster group.

Bringing together industry leaders, technology providers and support organisations, the cluster offers solutions to challenges and identifies opportunities to improve business efficiencies and better shape employment prospects.

“We are trying to share real-world problems that centres are having and we have a good cross-section of membership,” says Angus.

“The North East is open for business in this sector; Accenture, for example, is providing more than 1000 jobs with tech roles and EY has about 600 people doing something similar. The sector may have seasoned professionals, but Laura Kemp, Dynamo Service Delivery Centre Cluster manager, says the industry must meld the strengths of existing workers with an influx of new talent to maintain its progress.

“There are a number of challenges in the sector,” she says. “One is that people are moving around the different businesses – ultimately what we need to do is grow the number of people that want to work in service delivery centres.

“We are looking at what we can do to change the perceptions of the centres and highlighting them as a positive pathway, rather than a perceived fall-back job,” continues Laura.

“A lot of the very senior people at Sage started in customer service, so our work will look at a number of different career pathways that can begin in service delivery centres and highlight what the opportunities might be.

“Students are applying for the big brands they are aware of, such as Accenture and Sage, but we have other businesses like Nomad Digital, Atlas Cloud and WhoCanFixMyCar.com, which could offer opportunities. “We have five brilliant universities in the region too, which have very good graduate retention rates, but we want to help them become even better.

“We are trying to help businesses be more efficient and get things right first time,” says Laura.

An intrinsic element to ensuring Dynamo’s Service Delivery Centre Cluster achieves its goals is a calendar of events, which includes tech challenges that bring together corporates and SMEs to share knowledge and best practice. At a previous automation event, 30 businesses heard from Accenture, P&G and BT before discussing their own experiences. Post event feedback showed that 100 per cent of attendees felt the event had positivity impacted their ability to deliver automation within their business.

“Future events will cover topics such as using tech to deliver service excellence and human computer interaction. We’re also working to develop an automation bootcamp to get SMEs off the starting blocks and onto their automation journeys,” says Laura.

“We’ll also continue to ask questions of the community and find out what they want us to deliver, so we are sharing best practice and focusing on the subjects that matter.”

To find out more, visit www.dynamonortheast.co.uk/clusters/shared-services/

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