What is the key to Sii’s success? What lets the company stay in peak condition, regardless of the changing economic situation and big competition on the market? What are the challenges ahead of the biggest IT and Engineering services provider in Poland and what is the vision of its further development, according to the company’s new CCO – will it be revolution or evolution? To find out, read the interview with Ryszard Pytko for Computerwold: “„Sii – autorytet rozwoju” (Sii – an authority on development). As the article is originally only in Polish, we have prepared a translation of the text for our English speaking readers (below).
Sii – an authority on development
Interview with Ryszard Pytko, Chief Commercial Officer at Sii Poland
Sii is a company that no one, in the IT industry, needs to introduce. 11 years ago, Sii in Poland was just a company registered in the National Court Register.
Yes it’s true. Sii’s story is the realization of the American Dream in Polish reality. The founder of the company, Gregoire Nitot [pronounced Gregoi Nito], 11 years ago founded a company to be a solid IT service provider. For sure, the road from a one-person start-up to a big company was not easy, but it was possible – thanks to the clear path that he had chosen and successively pursued, and of course hard work. Today Sii in Poland is a multidisciplinary organization with a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from business software, infrastructure development and IT outsourcing services to sophisticated computer science for industry and robotics. Over the past three years, we have doubled both the revenue and the employment. We are the most dynamically growing IT organization in Poland. Numbers do not lie.
When I look at your company’s financial results, but also those of your competition, I get the impression that everything that I have learnt in economics classes is untrue. They taught us about business cycles that is to say increases and decreases, while in the IT industry there is a constant Spring. Everything is growing. How can you explain this?
Of course, prosperity also applies to us. We have the capacity to exploit business cycles, especially their decreases, to our benefit. Sii is an organization which, apart from Poland, operates, on the international market. The downturn in the IT industry has a regional character. Paradoxically, we are earning on economic declines in Western Europe, moving the most expensive operations to Poland. We monitor the markets conduct closely, which allows us to respond quickly. However, for many of our competitors, business cycles were not so generous and many of them drastically decreased profits. Fortunately Sii defended itself against cyclical fluctuations or the recession with success, mainly through a well-thought and mature organization. What else helps us? Expert knowledge, competence and experience – this is the justification of our extraordinary results.
We are in the European Union, which heavily invests in Polish IT, in line with the Cohesion policy. What is your opinion of the aid schemes of which, to an extent, you a beneficiary?
The accession to the EU has made it much easier for the IT business, especially in terms of law and its unification. It has also forced the implementation of solutions that would be achieved much later if they were to develop independently. Thanks to the EU grant, our Delivery Center in Lublin has been established. It carries out IT projects in the field of testing and developing applications. This way we have created over 200 new jobs for top IT specialists, benefiting not only the region but also our customers, because a rich base of employees provides the ability to execute the most complex projects right away. This is exactly what Sii is doing – combining employee and business partners’ satisfaction.
The word appearing in every form and context possible is “innovation”. Therefore, Sii’s innovation?
Sii is not a product company, I’m referring to companies such as Microsoft or Oracle, that create market needs and innovations. We provide services and we work to meet specific needs of the customer. We are not trying to create inventions. IT, by definition, is an innovative activity. Every activity of this type is associated with some novelty and progress. The word software developer signifies someone who improves and develops existing technology. In this sense, we are innovative. We focus on using the latest technology in our work.
What is the secret of the success of your business?
First, the secret of our success is the fact that Sii is headed by Gregoire Nitot, who has a vision and charisma. For many years, he has been skilfully observing the market, especially the foreign one, and adjusting his business to meet current needs by analysing the needs of the customers. Success in business is also the art of making good decisions and the thoughtful organizational structure which we have in Sii. Also, one of our traits is transparency – we are transparent and honest, we speak clearly and specifically about what is our purpose, what are our intentions, and what hinders our work. It is a very important pillar of cooperation with us, both with our customers and with our employees, we also expect them to be fully transparent. Everything that concerns us happens between people. The people are our most precious asset and it is them who create Sii. We provide them with working conditions tailored to their preferences and focus on their development. Together we have a great time. This is not idle talk. Three times in a row, year after year, we have received the prestigious and internationally recognized “Great Place to Work” title, which demonstrates the comfort and satisfaction of our employees.
We have a vision of becoming a better version of ourselves. The materialisation of this idea is to create, in the structure of the organization, cells of expert knowledge and high competence, each one in a narrowly defined area – called Competency Centers. There are currently 11 of these specialized units in Sii across Poland. We carry out technologically advanced projects for over 200 clients from all over the world. Our competences are focused around software development, mobile and web solutions, Dynamics AX, CRM, BI, Salesforce, software testing, SharePoint, Service Desk, IT infrastructure, industrial engineering. Sii is also a company that has long gone beyond standard outsourcing and body leasing. We offer several cooperation models. Apart from outsourcing specialists and team leasing, which is a big part of our business, we also offer management services and own projects from A to Z and systems integration.
In addition to foreign expansion, we focus on vertical knowledge and the expansion of our sector offerings. We want to specialize in providing tailored projects that are designed for specific industries and sectors. We have experience in this field, for example providing ERP for Professional Services, an offer for the Utilities sector or developing products for Telco. We also have partnerships with such prestigious companies as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Xamarin. Although we rely on engineering, we are not a technocratic organization. We notice the value of fun which leads to the best solutions that cannot be reached linearly, followed by causal thinking.
You have been in Sii for a long time, but at the current responsible position relatively short. What are your goals, ambitions and professional dreams?
Basically we will go in the same direction. I do not plan a revolution. We focus on organic development. We would like to gain more control over sales processes in and outside of the country. Strengthen ties with customers by being close to them from the beginning to the end. Be even more of an advisor, consultant and relationship manager at every stage of cooperation. We guarantee our customers a Unique Customer Experience. We want to identify our best employees and strong personalities and promote them.
We will increase the synergy of sales, recruitment and marketing, which will allow Sii to win new projects. We have vacancies, we want to fill them with the most promising people who will bring innovative ideas and the willingness of their realization to the company.
I wish you good luck and thank you for the interview.
Interviewed by Robert Jaruga