ABSL DIAMONDS – Winners 2019

Business Innovation

The award in the Business Innovation category went to the Anheuser-Busch Inbev Company, a global supplier of beer and soft drinks with headquarters in Belgium, the Prague centre of which managed to implement disruptive technology in management of supplier chains and finances and achieve considerable savings as well as improve productivity. This concerns savings of USD 245,000 per year in the field of personnel costs alone.

When the project began financial and transport-planning processes were full of exceptions and work with unstructured data. Implementation of artificial intelligence and robotic automation of processes brought about changes. Thanks to machine learning algorithms, the system, created by a Czech team for designing digital processes, demonstrates a success rate of up to 90% in recognising and resolving problems. The chatbot allows partners to ask questions without the need to open tickets and wait up to 5 days for a response. This system is capable of immediately answering the most frequently asked questions regarding current invoice details or statuses itself. The system was created by a Czech team for designing digital processes at the Prague ABInBev business services centre and was implemented within the terms of a European-wide process.

The Czech AB Inbev SSC leveraged AI and RPA technologies to transform their global supply chain and achieve significant cost savings for their local and global teams and clients. The solutions were built by the Czech digital design team and rolled out across global operations. By building both internal capabilities and partnerships with start up providers – AB Inbev SSC built an impressive range of NLP, AI and robotics tools which they combined with extensive process redesign.

The project benefits and innovations were extensively quantified and provide an excellent roadmap for other centres looking to leverage digital technologies to move up the value curve and provide significant innovations for their companies. ABSL would like to recognize the global achievements of the AB Inbev Czech digital team as a detailed and inspirational guide of digital innovations for our members to learn from.

Customer Initiative

The winner of the Customer Initiative (Best customer project) was the ICON Communication Centres Company, which provides services in the field of marketing and customer care from its contact centre in Prague to global companies from various sectors. Its solution for a customer operating a payment system intended for car park operators worldwide completely transformed customer support and reduced the client’s costs by 28%. The Prague team, which provides support to customers of an indoor car park when they are unable to make a payment and are stuck in the car park, initially performed a thorough audit of the typical requirements and their solutions. It subsequently proposed a solution based on a new technology enabling effective use of the knowledge base and offering operators from the contact centre the relevant input information about location and the arising situation, thanks to which they are able to provide support much more effectively. The average time needed to settle one telephone request was reduced from 3-4 minutes to less than one minute, e-mails are settled within 4-5 hours instead of 2 days and the customer is also satisfied that it reduced costs without having to make any investments.

This project brings a whole new life to the phrase – ‘going the extra mile for the client.’ In this case the client was a successful global parking operator struggling to scale their operations. ICON recognized the client challenge and took a significant gamble to devote their time and resources to explore and solve the multiple issues holding back their clients growth. By deploying their own customer service and IT teams on the client, ICON were able to implement an End to End transformation of the client systems, combined with innovative new digital tools. The end result tripled client volumes with a 28 % reduction in operating costs.

All of this was achieved without ‘ the client lifting a finger’       

ABSL aims to support Czech business services to become true Disruptors of their Global client business and keep our sector at the forefront of innovative business. ICON has earned the Customer Initiative Diamond for an outstanding example of innovation and world beating Czech customer service.


The FNZ Company won the Education (Best project in the field of education) award for its educational programme focusing on its employees’ mental health and well-being. The Brno centre of this global fin-tech company, which originally comes from New Zealand, develops software for banks and financial institutions. It organised Search Inside Yourself (SIY) training for its employees, which was originally developed in the Google Company and is based on modern neuroscience findings. Its goal is to teach participants to eliminate stress and assume responsibility for their personal mental health and endurance and for the way they treat people around them. This training course met with a very positive response from employees and 95% of those who took part would recommend it to their colleagues. SIY is part of the complex FNZ Health Fitness programme, which focuses on physical health, fitness, nutrition and prevention in the field of mental health.

Our new ABSL member FNZ Brno has brought a successful Silicon Valley leadership education approach to the Czech Republic for the very first time.

The programme Search Inside Yourself was launched at Google in the US to encourage building personal and leadership capabilities through neuroscience techniques and mindfulness. FNZ took a lead to bring this initiative to Brno and partnered with a leading scientific institute CEITEC to make it happen and take the programme to market.

FNZ has invested considerable time and resource to create an opportunity to ensure that Brno and the region remain leaders in science, technology and innovation. ABSL supports this programme as a unique opportunity to ensure our Cz services sector has access to the most advanced educational and leadership opportunities to strengthen our future capability.

Employer Branding

In the Employer Branding (Establishment of the employer brand) category the award went to the Knorr Bremse Service Europe Company, which was the first to establish a business services centre in Liberec. The sector was not very well known in the North Bohemian Region, which is why it was initially necessary to explain everything properly, i.e. what work this centre assuring services in the field of HR, finance, IT and indirect purchasing for branches of its parent company offers.

The Company realised a successful recruitment campaign, which convinced job applicants that it was worth joining an important European brand from the beginning, when it is just establishing itself in the region and to be involved in the configuration of work processes and creation of a corporate culture. It recruited 170 qualified employees in the first year and commenced operation. The Knorr Bremse Company also contributed to regional diversification of the sector on the Czech market by taking this step.

Knorr Bremse built a successful new business services operation in Liberec – a city relatively unknown for our sector. In doing so they took a risk to establish in a new Czech region and invested significantly in creating a large Finance/IT centre from scratch in a city with no previous track record in global business service capabilities. The company used sophisticated employer branding strategies to raise awareness of their centre and recruit a capable workforce that has now built into a leading regional centre providng global solutions for the parent company.

The future of our Czech services sector is dependent on the growth of regional capabilities – to leverage the talent opportunities in new cities and build a broader country network of service hubs. It takes courage, patience and determination to be the first investors in new cities – and ABSL would like to recognize the great achievement of Knorr Bremse  in showing other Cz leaders what can be achieved in the new regions.

Business Excellence

The ADP Employer Service Czech Republic Company won the Business Excellence (Best project in the field of quality) category. Just like its parent company ADP GlobalView in the USA, this centre in Prague focuses on outsourcing payroll administration and HR services for global customers. During the past 2 years the centre has undergone a marked transformation, the goal of which was to significantly improve the effectiveness of operation and reduce costs. The transformation was based on re-designing processes and roles on the basis of Lean Six Sigma methodology. Implementation of automation and other disruptive technologies also markedly reduced the centre’s dependence on foreign language skills and specific expert skills concerning actual payroll administration. The ADP Centre thereby also overcame the main obstacle to future growth, which is the tense situation on the job market. The productivity of the Prague ADP Centre was increased by up to 60% overall and operating costs were reduced considerably over the past two years with the help of the transformation project. The ADP team worked hand-in-hand with its clients, which it helped achieve significant savings in their own teams.

An ambitious Cz transformation program to improve effectiveness by reengineering roles and processes, applying innovative digital technologies and a hard focus on client quality.

Using lean six sigma techniques, the centre removed dependencies on foreign languages and payroll skillsets to increase productivity of the centre by 30% and passing on client savings of up to 50%.

Homegrown and built – the transformation project shows the best of how Czech teams can reengineer their own operations to provide quantum jumps in digital capability and client service levels. The centre also removed some of the major obstacles to their future growth in a tight labour market by redesigning their dependence on languages and payroll capabilities.

A truly inspirational journey that all of our ABSL members can learn from.

Innovative Workplace

The ŠKODA AUTO Company won the award in the Innovative Workplace category when it chose a “smart” office building in Holešovice in Prague as the seat of its SAP competence centre for the VW Group and shared office. The combination of first-class digital technologies, modern design and flexible working environment allowed acquisition of the best talents, even in Prague where there is enormous competition on the labour market. In relation to this move the number of job applicants at this centre increased by 75%. The new building also includes facilities for sporting activities and care of employee health.

When Skoda decided to build their IT competency centre they chose to locate it in the award winning Visionary building in Holesovice and to use the opportunity to design one of the most innovative workplaces in the region. Combining the most up to date digital building technology with agile, flexible and state of the art design – Skoda ensured an innovation centre to attract the best talents in the region and provide an innovation hub for their workforce.

ABSL aims to recognize bold and creative new moves in our Cz workplaces – in this case Skoda chose a brand new location Holesovice – to join the pioneers into an exciting new business services district to rival the successes of Chodov and Karlin. They chose to do so in one of the most dynamic coworking locations Visionary and to adopt a challenging, fresh and innovative design strategy.  

Value Creation

The Value Creation (Best added value) category was won by the NTT Global Delivery Center Europe Company (formerly Dimension Data Global Delivery Center Prague), which provides technical support to 13,000 clients worldwide from Prague, with the TOPS project, which focuses on development of talents and increasing employees’ digital skills. The educational programmes are mainly intended for technical specialists, but instead of using formal methods specific for individual specialisations, it strives to make more use of social learning. And it is not only the employees who benefit from nearly 200 hours of education and professional certification, but the entire organisation and its customers. Thanks to the increased qualifications it is possible to improve the provided services and the customer experience and thereby increase yields and productivity. For instance the time needed to resolve customer requirements was reduced by a whole 66%, the need to escalate requirements was reduced by 75% and the ability to resolve customer requirements within the terms of first contact rose by 37%. Overall customer satisfaction increased by 10%.

This project, lead by the Prague based NTT Global Development Centre has managed to deliver on all four ABSL Dimensions to deliver substantial value across the global network of NTT clients. Built into the DNA of the newly established centre, the TOPS development programme was designed to drive digital capability of NTT employees AND ensure a recruitment strategy in a challenging marketplace. The proven combination of significant client improvements with revenue growth and productivity increases across the organization is a roadmap for the successful alignment of people AND business development.  

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