Prospects for development of KPO services in Poland

Prospects for development of KPO services in Poland. Interview with Anna Borowicz, Sales Manager, on the advantages of competence outsourcing.

Cyclad: How does the market of business outsourcing in Poland in the IT industry look like?

AB: Over the last few years, Poland has consistently been building its brand as an attractive target for modern business. In Poland there are currently almost 1000 centers offering IT outsourcing services. The customers of such centers are mostly foreign-owned companies that decided to move some of their operational processes, such as workstation management and application hosting, to external companies. Frequently, those are also companies that decided to move their entire IT department, focusing on their flagship activities. The Polish cities which our customers chose are mostly academic centers guaranteeing the access to qualified specialists. The leaders that attract the greatest number of investors are Kraków and Warsaw, followed by Wroclaw, Tricity and the Silesian agglomeration. In recent years, Poznań, Łódź, Rzeszów, Szczecin and Bydgoszcz have become more and more popular on the list of places for IT investments.

It is worth emphasizing that how the IT outsourcing market in Poland looks like now and how it will look like in the future is influenced by the fact that, despite constantly increasing absorption of the market, understood as the willingness of foreign investors to use the skills of Polish IT specialists, the number of them is not sufficient. According to various estimates, we currently lack about 50,000 specialists.

Cyclad: In Poland, the market of business outsourcing services is steadily increasing. Why? How do Polish companies win with international competition?

AB: That is true, all industry reports on the most popular destinations of foreign investment in the IT indicate Poland. What makes foreign companies choose Poland? Certainly these are HR resources. High qualifications of our IT engineers, their innovation, diligence and knowledge of foreign languages. I think our geographical, central location is also crucial. We are well connected with the largest cities, not only in Europe.
Likewise in Cyclad, we notice a great deal of interest in our services by Western European and US customers. It is worth emphasizing that price competitiveness is not the only aspect that our foreign partners consider. The knowledge and skills of Polish IT professionals are increasingly appreciated.

Cyclad: What is the difference between KPO services and popular BPO services?

AB: BPO is the center of the so-called shared-services where some of customer’s business processes are carried out. The principle is simple, the same process should be provided more efficiently and at lower cost externally. We can outsource almost everything, financial services (human resources and payroll), transaction processing, cleaning, correspondence handling, marketing, mail service, Call Contact Center and HR services (employee leasing and recruiting). As for KPO, the principle is the same as in BPO, but with KPO we carry out projects involving knowledge, or values ​​based on expertise, often niche ones, including new technologies.

In Cyclad, KPO services are provided by the most experienced IT specialists on the market. These are people employed in Cyclad who provide services exclusively for a particular Customer. Very often their workplace is our Clients’ office, although Cyclad obviously can provide a comprehensive service, including the organization of infrastructure necessary for the realization of the project. Our customers choose to outsource complex and expert processes because the amount of work, financial resources or time spent on acquiring the knowledge they seek, including, for example, doing their own research, is too big and stray from their core business. KPO allows you to concentrate on your core business objectives, while, at the same time, delivering your service at the highest level.

In addition, it gives an access to the knowledge and experience of market leaders. A Specialist with great expertise, who is delegated to the company, makes use of all the knowledge accumulated over the years while working for various clients.
Recruiting outside experts from companies such as ours, directly affects not only the cost reduction, but it also allows us to react more quickly and efficiently to the needs of the business. Thanks to the KPO service, we maintain optimum employment levels and do not face the risk of searching and employing our own specialists. This gives the customer greater security and flexibility in making strategic decisions.

Cyclad: What kind of competencies do employers expect from IT consultants?

AB: our clients constantly show the greatest interest in developers. As far as programming languages ​​are concerned, there is a great need for .net, front-end, PHP, Java, Javascript and SQL developers. Other areas where we regularly seek for IT professionals include security, Big Data, IT administration, networks and Help Desk consultants with foreign languages. Due to the fact that the majority of the projects is carried out in the international environment, employers are looking for fluent English speakers. Soft skills are also crucial. During the recruitment process, our Recruiters pay great attention to interpersonal competences, such as communicativeness, teamwork, creativity, time management and dynamism. Not only do employers expect expert knowledge, but also the right energy and commitment.

Cyclad: What are the prospects for the development of KPO services in the IT industry in Poland?

AB: The technological advances we have never faced before forces organizations to look for the most effective IT project management models, no doubt KPO responds to this demand. The advantages of KPO such as an immediate access to specialized staff, cost reduction, ability to take up flexible solutions by opening up to the latest technologies, speak for themselves. All industry research indicates that KPO services are doing well, and we can expect their market share to grow in the nearest future.

How to stand out from the crowd

“How to stand out from the crowd”- an interview with Małgorzata Trojan, Junior Delivery  Coordinator at Cyclad

Cyclad: It is said that today we have to deal with the “employee market.” Does it mean that candidates don’t need to care about standing out from the others on the market?

MT: Specialists are valued in every industry. People with high qualifications and long experience, regardless of the situation on the labour market, always have a bigger choice of interesting offers. It can especially be observed in the IT industry where the most sought for candidates have narrow and specialized qualifications. However, it is advisable to take care of your image and to think over the strategy for applying for a specific job. It allows you to fully demonstrate your advantages which will certainly help in negotiating the contract at the end.
Regarding people who start their careers and search for their first job, it is crucial for them to make sure that they prepare recruitment documents properly. Many companies operating in the IT industry developed special training programs for junior employees; therefore, having less experience is usually not such a huge problem as it was in the past. But what is important is candidate’s attitude to the recruitment process.

C: What are the key elements that we should take care of when applying for a job in the IT industry?

MT: Although many companies use innovative methods of recruitment such as gamification and advanced assessment center, still one of the key elements is a well-prepared CV. CV is a showcase of the candidate and we usually build our first impression by looking at this document. A well-prepared CV should be up-to-date, transparent and without any grammatical or spelling mistakes. While describing your experience, you should also mention the technologies and methodologies you work or worked with.

It is also important to show your interest in the company you apply for. During the first conversation with the recruiter make notes about the company, project and duties on the presented position. Furthermore, when you’re invited for the interview, do some research on the internet to find out more.

Recruiters pay a lot of attention to candidates’ involvement in the recruitment process. It sometimes happens that the candidates do not come for the interview or cancel the meeting at the very last minute and do not inform about it. Obviously there are some unexpected circumstances but if the candidate forgets about the meeting and does not inform about the absence, it certainly has a negative impact on his/her image. Candidates’ appearance on the Social Media is equally important especially on business portals such as Linkedin or GoldenLine.

C: What should be remembered when building a profile on the business social media?

MT: Similarly as in case of CV, first of all, your profile should be up to date. You ought to list your positions, the key responsibilities, technologies you use and put information about your education. Recommendations and endorsement of key responsibilities by other users and colleagues are also relevant.

Additionally, take care of the technical issues such as using a personalized profile address or placing key information in the header.
According to some research, popularity of candidates’ profiles grows 11 times if they have a profile picture. Of course those should be professional photos ?

C: Do employers really pay attention to what is published on private social media profiles like Facebook?

MT: Yes, we often check the profiles of candidates on Facebook, especially when it comes to people who are at advanced stages of the recruitment process. We check, for instance, if a candidate does not publish content that seems to be violent or racist, or what he/she writes about the former employer. These can give us an overall picture of the person whom we are dealing with. On the other hand, if it turns out that someone applying for the position connected with data protection or security has all of his/her pictures and posts on Facebook public and unsecured, it may also be a valuable information for us ☺

C: Is it worth to be active in professional organizations and participate in conferences?

MT: It certainly is. Business meetings and conferences are fantastic opportunities not only to expand your knowledge of the industry but they are also great for networking. Active participation in the “business life” gives us a picture of what is happening on the market.

C: And finally, what would you advise people who want to find their dream job in the IT?

MT: Openness and determination are very important. Even if the company does not offer positions which you are interested in – send your CV. It goes to a general database of candidates which is checked daily by recruiters. Contact forms are very useful in the case of recruitment, it may also be helpful to check recruiters’ profiles on social media and to join some business groups e.g. on Facebook because you can find the latest jobs offers there. And when the recruiter calls you with a specific proposal, do not hesitate to ask questions and think the offer over. That way you will find a job that suits you best.

The battle for talent

We talked about ’’the battle for talent’’ with Dominika Biesok – HR Business Partner in Cyclad International

Cyclad: Why did you start getting interest in the HR?

DB: I started my adventure with Human Relations about 10 years ago during my Romance studies. Firstly, I worked as a Background Screening Analyst on the francophone market, later as a recruiter on the Polish and French markets. I have always been interested in issues related to the psychology of business and personal relationships, therefore I decided to develop myself in this direction. Currently, as HR Business Partner in Cyclad International, I am responsible for developing the HR strategy in the internal structures of Cyclad worldwide.

Cyclad: How would you define the place of HR departments in the contemporary companies?

DB: The role of HR in the organization has undergone transformation for several years, particularly in the IT industry. Today, we are dealing with the employee’s market which determines the strategies of HR. The Millennials are a new generation entering the labour market. They have completely different requirements and ambitions than the previous Generation X. The HR departments have a very difficult task to acquire the best employees.

Cyclad: What are the requirements of the Millennials?

DB: There are many differences concerning the perception of the workplace by the Millennials in comparison with previous generations. Research shows that a large part of the Millennials expects flexible working hours in order to combine work with their private life. Almost all of them maintain the optimal balance between work and career. They appreciate the proper atmosphere at work, partnerships with employers and career opportunities more than remuneration. They also expect that the employer will support their development. The IT/ITC industry, which Cyclad operates, is accustomed to the fact that it has to follow new trends and promote new technologies, otherwise it will go out of business. It is the same situation with employees. If we are not an attractive employer we will lose the opportunity to invite the best people from the labour market to our team.

Cyclad: What is the solution?

DB: The position of Cyclad is very interesting. More than 250 people, in addition to internal employees, work for our clients from around the world. They work as consultants on the basis of the Knowledge process outsourcing. The vast majority of our clients are large corporations which have developed HR departments. Members of the internal Cyclad’s team have an excellent knowledge how the atmosphere and working conditions are in the most major IT companies. That is why we can compare Cyclad to the big players in the market. The HR strategy in Cyclad is based on the Talent Acquisition principle – we invest in relationship, development and good atmosphere.

Cyclad: What does ‘’Talent Acquisition’’ mean?

HR department faces a great challenge which is the Talent Acquisition. One can say that there are series of activities, some kind of combination of the various elements of the HR system aiming at attracting, selecting, retaining the best and the most valuable employees in the company. It is the ‘’battle for talent’’. It takes several months to obtain an adequate employee in the IT industry, later on there are trainings which also last a couple of months. After this time, the loss of the employee would be painful for the company. The HR strategy based on Talent Acquisition gives us a kind of security. The above mentioned ‘’battle for talent’’ also applies to our consultants. Despite the fact that consultants work for our particular clients they are still our employees. We want our workers to feel comfortable in their workplace. We choose consultants who not only have the appropriate competences but who also match to the organizational culture of our clients. Even the best specialist does not get a chance to prove himself when he does not feel a part of the company. At the recruitment stage, we pay attention to the candidate’s soft skills and pass the basic information about the organizational culture of the client.

Cyclad: Does it mean that you support your clients in talent managing?

DB: During the recruitment process, we try to select and offer our client a candidate who is a good specialist and a match to the organizational culture of the company at the same time. Our recruiters play a crucial role in the whole process. They build partnerships with the candidate, not only asses his competences but they advise him, talk about expectations and assist throughout the recruitment process. We are in touch with our consultants also after the recruitment process. Each of our clients has his own coordinator. This person is on call for both the client and the consultant in order to monitor and support development issues, effectiveness and commitment of our workers. Generally we may say that we are a kind of an agent for our consultants. If required, we can help our client and consultant in order to take satisfaction from the cooperation. Of course, the official meetings are not everything, we also have time to relax after work during informal events. They are also a part of our HR strategy. As you can notice, we participate in management for talents from acquisition and command the best candidates to taking care of their development and commitment to work.

Cyclad: In your opinion, how will future managing of HR function in companies?

DB: The HR departments have to be dynamic and prepared for permanent changes because the process of talent management will evolve. As a general rule, if companies want to keep the best team members and build their engagement, they will have to adopt the style and work organization to the employees’ expectations. We cannot forget about such elements as flexible working hours, real impact on projects and good atmosphere. Previously, we talked about the Millennials and I think that the appropriate development of leaders who will be able to adopt their management style to the expectations of the Generation Y is very important. Changes will also occur in the form of the recruitment process. The virtual recruitment interviews or recruitment methods based on rivalry are not surprising nowadays. There are a lot of challenges, however, the energy of well-selected teams has such great potential. I think that it is worth to ‘’battle for talents’’.

Internship at Cyclad: stressful experience or great challenge?

We have interviewed Adrianna Gębala, student of International Business at University of Economics, who performed 4 – month – long internship, that was carried out within the Cyclad company, in its regional office in Katowice.

Cyclad: Why did you choose Cyclad for your internship?

AG: I’m studying the International Business and my first priority intention was to have my internship in the international company. Cyclad is an international consulting company that operates in in the IT/ICT sectors, offering its outsourcing solutions in HR and IT services. The company provides its services through headquarters and regional offices in France, Morocco, The Philippines and Poland. Therefore I decided to apply for Internship Programme at Cyclad.

Cyclad: What kind of responsibilities did you have during the internship?

AG: My internship was based on working in Sourcing Team, which was focused at conducting different recruitment projects in the IT/ICT sectors for customers on Polish and foreign market. While talking about my responsibilities, they were connected with different stages of recruitment process.
First of all, I was supposed to search for candidates that are suitable for a particular job position in the company’s data base. For that purpose, I also used other available sources like for example business-oriented social networking services.
Secondly, I was engaged in conducting CV selection, in order to focus on candidates who will be invited for the further stage of recruitment process.
Thirdly, I was supposed to contact via telephone and e-mail with candidates, in order to offer them a particular job position and in case of interest to conduct a telephone interview.
What is more, I was responsible for verification of English language during telephone interviews. The main goal was to check whether a particular candidate has sufficient language skills to perform a given job, which was focused on asking some questions and further assessment of competencies of candidates.
Additionally, I was supposed to prepare job offer descriptions, which included also translations from Polish to English and inversely. I was also responsible for advertising them on different web portals for job seekers and companies offering employment.
Finally, I was also engaged in current administrative affairs like for example: preparing presentations in Power Point or gaining information concerning career fairs. I also improved my technical skills concerning Microsoft Office and operating on the company’s database.

Cyclad: Oh! A lot of new skills, I guess?

AG: Yes Taking into consideration all these duties performed by me, I may say that during the internship I could develop my research skills (searching for candidates for different job positions) and analysing skills as conducting telephone interviews required from me analysing the results. I developed my communication skills and the ability to conduct business phone calls. I also had a chance to work alone and in a team, which was also of great importance as I could check myself in both roles.

Cyclad: Sounds great! What about the soft skills?

AG: There was always a nice work atmosphere. When I had some questions everybody was very helpful. The “Cyclad” company organised also recreation for employees, including yoga classes during working hours, trainings concerning the company itself and also technical trainings and interpersonal skills trainings to understand how to conduct job interviews and how to talk with candidates, which generally resulted in improving my personal and communication skills, providing the opportunity to work in an international and multicultural environment.

Cyclad: How you can summarize your internship?

AG: Summing up, the internship in Cyclad was beneficial for my personal development. I had a chance to really understand the culture of working in the international environment in practice. What is more, I could develop my language skills by using English almost every day. Apart from language skills, I developed my technical and personal skills, I got to know my strengths better and also expanded my contact network. Generally speaking, I could better understand the idea of HR activities due to the internship in Cyclad.

Cyclad: Do you recommend the Internship Programme at Cyclad?

AG: Yes! In my opinion, the experience and knowledge gained in Cyclad will be very useful in my future professional career. Cyclad is a really good place for gaining first professional experiences for those who want to work in the international business.

Cyclad: Thank you for your recommendation. We wish you all the best in your professional career.

Personal development in full swing!

The Katowice and Warsaw Offices have extended opportunities to support the Cyclad Team in gaining professional knowledge and skills.

During the last few months there have been many interesting training sessions organized in areas like: Assertiveness in Business, Business Negotiations, Motiving Employees, Effective Telemarketing and Effective Business Meetings.
November was crucial in terms of language skill development. Thanks to the great commitment of our colleagues – Ewelina Gondzik and Małgorzata Trojan – we have started English and French classes, also available via skype.

First graduates from the Cyclad Recruiters Academy

Małgorzata Trojan, Anna Janeta, Agata Łączek and Marlena Kamińska have become the first to graduate from the Cyclad Recruiters Academy. CRA is a unique series of internal training that brings together theoretical and practical knowledge about the recruitment processes and effective communication. It introduces topics like conducting recruitment meetings, formation of interview questions, evaluating a candidate’s technical and soft skills as well as dealing with difficult situations during the recruitment process. Thus, the participants acquire content as well as context competencies that enables us to set new standards for Cyclad’s recruitment processes and related services.

“The training was very informative and gave me plenty of information on how to develop my recruitment skills.” said Małgorzata Trojan, Recruitment Consultant.

“I loved the on-the-job part where I received instant feedback how to be more effective.” said Anna Janeta, HR Researcher.

“The training strengthened my awareness regarding all elements of the recruitment process. “ – said Marlena Kamińska, Recruitment Consultant.

Why Magento?

Why Magento? – an interview with Łukasz Bajsarowicz, Magento Developer at Digital Factory, one of the first Magento 2 Certified Professional Developers in the world.

CYCLAD: How long have you been working with Magento?

ŁB: I have been a PHP programmer since 2010. The first time I encountered Magento was in March 2016, when I was working for a consulting company on projects based on Magento Enterprise Edition (a software store and a network hardware outlet). In January 2017 I established cooperation with an agency from Warsaw, which provided solutions based on Magento 2. I liked the new version of Magento so much that I decided to develop in this direction. Apart from actively participating in numerous conferences, since April 2018 I have been one of the first programmers in the world to successfully pass the Magento 2 Certified Professional Developer exam. In my spare time I also introduce changes to the source code of Magento and its documentation. In the first quarter of 2018 I was awarded the title of one of the 4 most active editors of Magento 2 documentation in the world.

CYCLAD: Congratulations! How much effort did it require to achieve such results?

ŁB: Obviously you have to spend several hours a day preparing for the exam. It took me about a month of daily work to master everything, especially because, in contrast to the exam related to the previous version of the application, the exam for the second version was focused on solving problems, not just knowledge of the source code.

CYCLAD: What competences does Magento require to be able to use its full potential?

ŁB: Competences… It’s a difficult question. Primarily: self-discipline. Working with complex applications where the variable business logic constantly intertwines with the application layer is difficult. The elements are strongly interlinked, and every millisecond is extremely precious. This requires identifying certain common practices and ensuring that all members of the team understand and follow them.

In order to use Magento’s full potential, it is necessary to know the tools available in the system and be able to use them – why reinvent the wheel? At the same time, it is important to be aware of the limitations and side-effects of using these tools.
Take the example of an external company is preparing an integration with an e-commerce system based on Magento 2. One of the requirements is to be able to download information on the prices and availability of products. Based on the information received, you can place an order. In order for both sides to understand each other’s expectations perfectly, they must agree on a format for information exchange, which requires API documentation. Magento offers not only complete tools for providing REST or SOAP interfaces, but also a variety of authorization mechanisms, and, most importantly, automatically generated documentation for the created interfaces. The API is ready in one day, while up to 10 working days would otherwise have to be devoted to the same work, from design to testing and implementation!
In a recent project it took exactly an hour to create an API providing a list of stores belonging to our client’s network. Including the creation of documentation and automated tests.
Continuous improvement is also essential. The technology is still “young”, so huge parts are improved from version to version – and, as a programmer, I have to keep up with these changes.

CYCLAD: From a programmer’s point of view – what distinguishes Magento from other technologies?

ŁB: In my opinion its large community is a significant advantage. Conferences around the world (Meet Magento, MageTitans, MageTestFest, etc.) and related events (e.g. Contribution Day) attract thousands of programmers and business representatives. Programmers can be very close to the people who develop the application on Magento’s side – you can give your comments and suggestions and ask questions about specific problems. Programmers are also able to influence the shape of the application by introducing changes to the open source code available on the GitHub website. Large projects, e.g. Multi-Source Inventory, are also created on a community basis. Thanks to this “closeness” and co-responsibility, in 2017 the Magento 2 code was updated by the highest number of people out of all open-source projects on the GitHub website (Magento 2 – 4622 people developing the application, Laravel – 3897 people, WooCommerce – 2952 people).

CYCLAD: How much time does it take to be such an active member of the Magento community?

ŁB: It definitely requires a lot of commitment. My goal is to continuously improve and build my position as an expert in the Magento community. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to regularly appear at industry conferences all over the world. During conferences and Contribution Days I often submit corrections to the source code of Magento, which always requires several hours of work, analysis, and discussion with Magento architects. But these are all great experiences, where you can exchange your knowledge with mentors and the greatest specialists in Magento. Participating in workshops with such experts as Sebastian Bergman, creator of PHPUnit, Mathias Verraes, ambassador of Domain-Driven, or my industry idol, Vinai Kopp, gives access to extensive know-how.
My hard work associated with building a position in the Magento community is now bearing its first fruits, not only in the form of a fresh look on the solutions offered to Clients, but also as my personal success – the fact that I am already a recognizable person at many conferences gives me great satisfaction.

CYCLAD: What about the Clients? Are e-commerce projects based on Magento different from other similar solutions available on the market?

ŁB: Magento is considered an Enterprise-class application – high quality software that performs a comprehensive range of tasks in more than one area of business. Enterprise-class solutions are developed by technologically advanced companies which focus on performance and security of applications. Such software is well documented and provides technical support of the manufacturer. Magento is cheaper to implement and maintain than other solutions from this group. It also does not require dedicated infrastructure. For small businesses it is enough to use a VPS server, large sales platforms can use Amazon, Azure, or their own collocations. I believe that Magento is the only application of its kind that can be perfectly matched to any business. No compromises, no concessions on the part of business – everything according to the principle: “Software is for business, not business for software”.

Take the example of a chain of shops selling flooring for which I implemented a project. They decided to migrate to Magento 2, because the existing software did not allow them to change the main components of their system. Every single time this process was associated with long waiting times and high costs. When participating in the analysis and comparison phase, I noticed that the vast majority of modules they required could be implemented in a short time with the use of Magento, without the involvement of a large programming team.
Additionally, Magento combines B2C and B2B capabilities – almost “out of the box”. With one warehouse and one product database you can run 2 sales platforms in one instance – for business and retail clients.

CYCLAD: What are the benefits of implementing Magento-based solutions?

ŁB: I have already mentioned the low cost of implementation and maintenance. However, this is not the key argument in favor of using this technology. The most important advantage is unlimited flexibility. Regardless of the industry our Client represents, Magento will perform perfectly in every scenario. It works great even for hotel reservations or airline tickets. You can use existing modules as well as have a new module created specifically for your company. Other benefits? The Magento platform enables search engine optimization and integration with key e-commerce services with just a few clicks.

CYCLAD: Which functionality of Magento can be most useful for Clients?

ŁB: I consider the implementation of the so-called “One Page Checkout” – a sales process optimized for user-experience – to be a great success. Additionally, “Marketing Automation” tools are also available, which can be used to increase conversion rate even by over a dozen percent. Another advantage is responsiveness. The platform is designed to display content on computers as well as on mobile devices. The third aspect which I consider equally important is efficiency. A responsibly implemented platform runs smoothly and does not require any additional optimization work.

CYCLAD: When is it really worth implementing Magento?

ŁB: I believe Magento can be used in almost any industry and on almost any scale. It is a scalable platform. It can be shrunk or expanded and handle a huge number of orders as your business grows – which is something every seller hopes to achieve.

CYCLAD: What technological challenges does the e-commerce market face?

ŁB: E-commerce technologies are changing rapidly, so it is difficult to answer the question unequivocally and keep the answer up to date. Nevertheless, progressive applications are the trend for the near future which Magento is following.
A Progressive Web App, unlike its native counterpart, does not require installation on the client’s device. It also does not require regular updates. You can install this application by creating a website shortcut on your home screen or list of applications. As a result, the device stores the files necessary to quickly launch the application – even if you have no access to the Internet.
I keep track of events related to the support of progressive applications as well as Magento’s preparations to support such applications. As soon as a stable version of Magento, allowing for the creation of a production, progressive sales platform is available, my team will be ready for implementation.

CYCLAD: Thank you for the interview and I wish you much success with Magento ?