As Regional Services Lead, what do you do at Softline?
I am responsible for managing the team that sells and delivers Softline’s solutions. In other words, my job is to do three things. First, I should serve my team, support them in developing and learning. Secondly, my job is to run the services business as a business operation, by building an organization which is capable of delivering both simple and complex projects at very high quality. Finally, I serve my customers by listening to them carefully and try to find the best solution for them. After considering all aspects and requirements, we always aim to provide solutions that make the customers successful on the long term.
What are Softline’s strengths as an IT partner?
We have a great team of talented and experienced IT professionals. We are capable of combining our experience and knowledge with the latest technologies available, to bring valuable solutions for our customers. All this experience and knowledge is well recognized by vendors like Microsoft, Google, VMware etc., and we are holding the highest partner certification level with them. Our team is constantly developing new skills and technologies to be relevant on the market.
Furthermore, our multinational environment helps us to understand different customer needs and react faster to them. Sometimes we implement a solution in a specific region first, and when it becomes more widespread, we already have the expertise and knowledge about it. We can learn from our colleagues in Western Europe, Asia, or Latin America and vice versa, which is very beneficial for us as a services partner.
What factors make a project successful?
Wherever the project team members are located, there are a few things to keep an eye on when delivering a project. First thing is sufficient and clear communication both within the Softline project team and with the customer. Every participant needs to know their role within the team, and the client also requires information on the key aspects of the process. As a result, projects managed by the collaboration of several people needs to have constant communication flow. Through an open and honest communication, everything is much easier to achieve.
Other important aspect is managing the expectations of the team and the customers as well based on realistic timeframes and goals. Again, on the long run it is far more beneficial for the customers. In the service industry there is a saying that underpromise plus overdelivery will result a happy customer. But on the long term, to promise and deliver according to the agreed terms will cause satisfaction and healthy business relations. That is why honesty is so important.
Which seemed to be the most important service in 2020?
Last year’s challenges required quick reaction from us, so we could efficiently support our customers by introducing services to them that support remote working. However, our role doesn’t end there. We need to educate our customers on how to utilize new solutions, like Teams, how to actually use it during their respective tasks. The latest IT solutions can be implemented inside any organization, but if you want to drive the change, you have to help users to adopt the new technology and, I believe, we have one of the best experts in this area to support our clients during the adoption process.
What do you expect to be your biggest challenge for this year as Services Lead?
We are definitely expecting further growth, the most important thing is to strengthen our service organization to the new workload. We need to deliver more services therefore efficiency will be the key. Also, we have to keep up with the latest technology. It is an overall challenge in the industry.
As I see, customers want to find more services that has special value for them, like machine learning or artificial intelligence. Again, by just implementing these advanced technologies, value is not realized instantly. You need to look into them carefully to be able to deliver results. In addition, we are expected to offer multiple solutions to our customers involving more vendors. We want to be able to serve their cloud journey regardless of the provider.
How do you keep up with the industry updates?
The industry as well as the existing services are constantly changing, therefore majority of the information comes directly from the vendors. We regularly overview the latest technology updates, then do some internal research to define the services that could be the most relevant for our customers. Vendors usually work with huge portfolios, therefore we need to be able to narrow them down and focus on the ones we see the greatest potentials in for our customers. Besides, I follow closely Gartner’s industry reports and check LinkedIn for trends and news.
Working on the fast-paced IT market can be very time consuming. How do you keep a healthy work-life balance?
One of my principle is to plan my family time and personal time with the same priority as the work activities. Also planning a time for relaxation after each hard working period is helping. Unfortunately some of vacation plans were ruined by the COVID, but we need to adapt on that.
Additionally, I really think through how much time I can dedicate to things like social media. Everyone is fighting for our attention and this can easily ruin our daily routine and productivity. I only open these applications if I need to check something and I usually disable notifications as well, so I can fully concentrate on my work or be able to relax when I need to.
You mentioned LinkedIn, where we saw a unique profile picture on your page. Can you tell us about it?
I know it is not an ordinary one, but I really like this picture. The photo shows me holding a small chicken in my hand. When I look at it, it always reminds me how powerful nature is; you hold a small, fragile thing in your hand, and in just a few weeks it will change, grow bigger and stronger. Usually, we don’t notice these things in our everyday life, but sometimes it’s worth to look at our surroundings from a different aspect.
Dmytro Naslavskyy, Softline’s business development manager, weighs in on the challenges that companies face after last year’s rapid changes and shares his thoughts on the characteristics of the Central and Eastern European market. Dmytro, who is responsible for the development of Microsoft cloud solutions business within Softline, also talks about his practices to make remote working more enjoyable. Discover the details in the interview.
Zoltán Mészáros, our general manager, spoke earlier about the exciting moments of the formation of Softline in the region. This time, Katalin Jenet, the second member to join the team, will take stock of the company's special qualities and milestones. Katalin is the Marketing Leader for Central and Eastern Europe at Softline Group, and she also talks about how she connected with the IT profession and how she sees the success of the regional team.
Softline’s present and future is explained by Zoltán Urbán, the company’s regional business development and sales manager, who also addresses cloud evolution and the significance of knowledge transfer.
Softline has been present in the Central and Eastern European region for more than two and a half years and has been characterised by dynamic growth ever since. General Manager Zoltán Mészáros spoke about the establishment of the six subsidiaries, and he also revealed what motivated him in the start-up phase and what advice he would provide to career starters interested in IT.