Maciej Piwowarczyk is Senior Director Global Business Services at Discovery Communications, Inc. and located in Discovery’s EU headquarter in Warsaw, Poland. We have had the chance to meet Maciej and talk about Discovery Communication GBS, locations and process automation.

Maciej, we have had a short talk about the Discovery Communication GBS. Could you please give us a short description of your global delivery model?

This year is the year for us going truly global i.e. today I have my teams based in Washington DC, Mexico City, Columbia, London, Bucharest and Warsaw … additionally,  we’re currently in the process of integrating Asia into our global GBS family. Proximity to a customer is our primary focus so consequently Washington DC’s main focus is on US, Mexico City / Columbia primarily on Latin America, London / Warsaw / Bucharest on Europe. In last 3 years our scope evolved big time i.e. almost doubled. Today we’re talking mainly about PTP, Payroll, Contract & Billing, OTC, Strategic Sourcing, Technology, Credit Cards & Expenses, Tax plus we recently formalized our RPA team. Additionally, GBS organization contribute the most to company’s working capital targets being a strategic focus of our Global CFO. And as we look into the future, we’re slowing getting ready to turn to a multifunctional organism …

 

How does the center in Poland look like – location, processes, languages etc.?

Warsaw, it is a brand new location that we set up this year. It was mobilized in very fast way i.e. 50 people within 4 months across various functions i.e. PTP, Payroll, Contract and Billing and OTC. We deliver most of European languages but language is not the primary element of our Value Proposition. When attracting talents our key focus was on the people who are autonomous, decisive, can embrace the change and do not want their role to be regulated at 95% by process documentation. Media industry is an industry of creativity, diversity, humongous dynamism … No doubt our end stage ambition, is to put it all into an organized process but it is journey and to be honest, we’ll never get to a point where IT or engineering companies were, already many years ago. Process is the king or “my way or high way” approach I came across many times in my past life, definitely do not fit into our culture.

 

Do you have insights in the decisions that lead to open the center in Poland?

It was a combination of 3 primary factors a). Half of Europe in our Discovery core business is led from Poland being a regional HQ. In other words, being in Poland,  we’re the closest to our German, Benelux, Poland or Romania Customers b). After a deep study that was done in many locations in Europe, that conclusion was that Poland is the strongest from talent pool including its broad capability and availability plus cost position perspective c).  Warsaw in addition to London created for us a very balanced delivery model.

 

We’ve met on a SSC conference in Budapest, where one of the big topics was robotics and automation. What’s your opinion on the current opportunities that robotics, automation and AI mean for the shared services industry and can you give us a short insight on your use case of RPA and AI?

It was in 2014, when it was a first time I came across a RPA term. Actually I even wrote a little article to a local paper about in a context of Continuous Improvement. I might be wrong but I think it was one of the first article on that matter in Central Europe region. My view since that did not change. My primary point is that we still talk far more about it than actually do it. Even though it is getting better and better.  A very slow start in my view was caused by the name and the overall narratives about RPA being sold as a new concept, very revolutionary.  While RPA is nothing else but highest degree of automation being an alternative to ERP / system limitations or lack of companies appetite to invest into an existing system. It is not something that we just discovered. Looking at it end to end, 1st phase of automation – it was a function in excel, 2nd phase – it was a VBA macro or workflow tool and now we’re dealing with advanced automation called RPA. Nowadays the understand of RPA is far bigger plus we have more and more Ops Leaders speaking about it and being engaged what surely translates to more effective adoption of RPA among our industry.

From Discovery perspective we did our lessons learnt last year, in other words we failed but we did our lesson learnt.  This year after, besides the adjustment of our internal model, we changed our partner and we’re entering a new époque. First “robot” for my tower is to go live still this year and I can’t wait to see it working … as there a long list of ideas the teams came up, what already creating our pipeline for 2018.

About Maciej Piwowarczyk: It’s been 16 years in GBS / Outsourcing industry for me. It started with HP, then Accenture, CBRE and today being part of Discovery Communications, I lead globally part of our F&A operations and oversee our new Warsaw GBS location as GM. I’ve had a pleasure to work among majority of cultures globally, across multiple functions at various leadership roles including Transition, Centre Management or Operations.  I love doing sports and I am a happy husband and a dad of two boys, Szymek is 7 and Tomek is 9.

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