Poland has some of the best programmers in the world. In that case, why aren’t we the next Silicon Valley? The answer to this question is complex, but one issue that negatively impacts the success of Polish IT companies is the fact that they are scattered. Robert Strzelecki, propagator of the idea of the Silicon Forest and integration of the IT industry as well as the CEO of the technological TenderHut Group, talks about the benefits that can be achieved by merging into a group.
A strong team
A strong team is the foundation of every project’s success. Despite the fact that small IT companies are able to carry out interesting projects, at some point, they encounter the situation where they don’t have enough human resources to complete more ambitious orders. – Unfortunately, you can’t add more hours to a day, and when facing a large task that must be completed by a specific deadline, only companies with appropriately large teams can get into the game – Strzelecki explains. Polish companies can be competitive on foreign markets, but only if they have the right scale of operations. This is one of the basic motives influencing the general trend currently playing out on the IT market, which is merging of companies into larger entities.
A pain point of small IT companies is multi-tasking of their founders, which limits their growth. Usually, not only is the owner a programmer, they also manage their team, take care of accounting, look for new clients, repair the broken printer, so they literally do everything. – This situation is quite normal when we’re talking about a startup, but every company is meant to bring money in for their owners and provide more independence than a full-time job. Besides this, not everyone who is a good programmer is necessarily well-suited for the role of manager or salesman – Strzelecki says. The possibility of specialization is a benefit when joining forces. Everyone can focus on what they do best and still draw profits not just from their salaries, but also from the shares in the company that they contribute when joining a larger team. Such a model is meant to serve one purpose – to maximize efficiency and improve competitiveness.
A larger team also means larger projects. And it’s not just about programming capabilities. When a company has resources in the form of graphic artists, UX designers, front-end developers and other specialists, projects that used to require outsourcing of these resources become available within a single organization. – Today, when one wants to realize large, international projects, one needs to be a team player. Clients expect ready products, not individual components, and this can only be achieved in interdisciplinary teams – Strzelecki explains. Besides labor output, it is also worth paying attention to the possibility itself of acquiring such a project. Most companies decide to place their orders based on their past experience. – Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a vicious circle, because you can’t get a large order, because you haven’t done one until now, and you haven’t done it because you haven’t gotten a large enough contract yet. This is another argument in favor of joining a group and realizing joint projects. Sometimes, such collaboration is incidental, and the parties part ways after the project ends. But our experience shows that every successful collaboration of this type leads to fusion, because together, we are able to do more – Strzelecki says.
IT companies are like sharks – to live, they must grow constantly. So when the word stabilization comes up within an organization, that’s the first warning signal. The CEO of TenderHut has a similar approach to this issue. – An IT company’s growth is part of its nature. So much is happening on the market that, without a growth plan for employees and the entire company, one can drop out of the loop very quickly. Unfortunately, small companies don’t have time for this, there’s too much work and the deadlines are inexorably getting closer. Working in a group is the recipe for troubles of this type – he explains.
Profitability and financial liquidity
All of the aforementioned benefits boil down to one thing – better financial results of the company. Thanks to better work organization, a stronger team, larger projects and growth opportunities, IT companies that join forces and collaborate achieve greater profits at lower operating costs. – This is precisely the effect that we have observed at the TenderHut Group – Strzelecki recounts. – Thanks to this, our capital group is growing intensively and executing international projects. Over the course of 3 years of activity, the strategy of incorporating smaller software houses into our structures has brought us 6 domestic divisions and 8 foreign representations, as well as revenue in excess of PLN 16 mln last year – Strzelecki sums up with pride.
The ups and downs of merging companies
Merging of IT companies certainly brings many benefits and improves the competitiveness of Polish companies in the international arena. However implementing such a strategy of action involves various challenges. Despite the benefits, a series of problems linked to merging of companies must also be solved. – In my case, two fundamental aspects led to my decision to join the TenderHut Group. The first was a lack of staff in the sales department, and the second was employee development. – relates Wit Więch, former CEO of the Order of Code, a software development company from Przemyśl, which is currently one of the companies in the TenderHut Group. From the beginning of our activity, we had a problem with finding specialists in order to acquire new clients and continue working with our current ones. These tasks consumed a significant amount of my time, including my private life. Merging with TenderHut, which has a vast web of partners and a sales network, eliminated this problem. Moreover, due to the small number of projects that are realized, a small company does not have as much capacity for employee development as a large company does. We often heard opinions from employees that they would like to do something else, grow in some other field. Today, we have much greater capabilities in this regard. However, adapting the team to the new organizational structure, which is very dynamic in a rapidly-growing company after all, is a rather difficult part of our companies’ merging. I think that a lot of work still needs to be done to convince employees that these changes are sensible and necessary. – Wit Więch concludes.