Scandinavia is a very attractive market for selling IT outsourcing services of Polish software houses. This is due to not only a shortage of engineers and programmers in the “land of the Vikings”, but also high project rates. But it is not only money that makes the cooperation between the companies across the Baltic Sea beneficial for both parties.
Outsourcing IT in Scandinavia
In Scandinavia, all countries of the region are affected by the lack of IT engineers. At present, the Nordic countries educate an average of 5,000 engineers a year. Moreover, the Ingeniørforeningen IDA (the Danish Society of Engineers) predicts that by 2025 there will be a shortfall of 13,500 engineers in Denmark, 60,000 in Sweden by 2020, and in Norway this deficit is predicted to reach 10,000 engineers by 2030.
The Nordic IT market is growing faster than the continental markets, especially in Sweden, which was spared by the economic crisis unlike many other European countries. Scandinavia has also a relatively mature market and a large public sector with a large budget for IT services. No wonder then that outside of Western Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, more and more IT outsourcing companies are looking to Scandinavia. The boom in IT outsourcing is also confirmed by the Cushman & Wakefield forecasts from the turn of the year which predict a growth of the services outsourcing sector at a rate of 6 percent per annum over the next six years.
IT outsourcing across the Baltic Sea
Skyrise, the Polish-Norwegian enterprise with its headquarters in Katowice and branches in Gdańsk and Bergen, is one of the companies that have been conducting IT projects in the area of Intelligent Transport Systems in Scandinavia for many years. Skyrise focuses specifically on smart mobility solutions, vehicle access automation, and electronic payments. The company’s largest projects which include, among others, Sesam Sesam parking management system, ABAX Worker staff and subcontractors’ productivity enhancement system or a system for coordinating taxi flow at the Copenhagen airport were carried out in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
– In recent months we have been working on the new strategy for the Skyrise brand, resulting from the company’s growth and future plans. Scandinavia is still a key area of our business. We have great expectations regarding this market and we want to provide further support for Scandinavian customers in achieving their business goals – says Jarosław Pilarczyk, CEO of Skyrise.
For Scandinavian clients, proximity in communication, being located within the same time zone, and lack of major cultural differences are very important. This is one of the main reasons why Polish engineers are valued higher than, e.g. programmers from India. Polish professionals are also highly valued due to their skills. Let’s recall that last year’s HackerRank placed Poles in the top 3 of the best programmers in the world, just behind China and Russia.
Differences in the business approach
Having much in common, we can also learn from each other. What are the basic differences in the business approach of customers from the other side of the Baltic Sea from the polish perspective? And what should be paid special attention to?
– In Poland, the customer expects us to come with a single, specific solution that’s almost ready. In Norway, on the other hand, the customers like and often want to be involved in discussing the solutions. Here, the time and price are often the most important matters, while Norwegians are often willing to compromise if it improves the quality of the project – adds Jarosław Pilarczyk.
Many Scandinavian companies have a flat structure or a hierarchy limited to a minimum. This is also reflected during business meetings, which often resemble open debates.
– In Scandinavia there is a culture of listening to everyone’s opinion, looking for connections and compromises. From this perspective, the Poles sometimes appear impatient. It should also be noted that excessively trying to push your own opinion and solutions, despite the best intentions, can be taken as arrogance – explains Øyvind Nordvik, the owner of NorICT, a consulting company.
The Scandinavian IT market remains a challenge for Polish companies, but at the same time equals big money. IDC has already estimated its value in 2014 at $24.4 billion. Clearly, the stakes are high.