06 May 2020

We maintain an optimistic outlook for Noesis' Professional Services area, in

In outsourcing, as in any other area of activity of the companies, the impact of the health crisis is undeniable, but Micaela Gonçalves, Professional Services Director of Noesis, believes that the technology continues to be able to close the year to grow in this area.

Micaela Gonçalves spoke to about the challenges to managing an activity that is supported by hundreds of companies in Portugal, at a time when many new outsourcing projects have been put on stand by, but where there is also an added difficulty in captivating resources which, in addition to being scarce, are less available to risk change.

The person in charge still leaves an optimistic perspective. It ensures that the first signs of a trend towards normalization are already identified in the market and also believes that competition in the search for IT profiles will continue to be intense after the peak of the pandemic. Probably even more intense. Outsourcing services are a strong bet of many Portuguese companies at the moment, as also happens at Noesis. What impact is this pandemic having on demand/maintenance, in your specific case and in general on the market?

Micaela Gonçalves: The pandemic situation has had an impact on the economy and companies in general and the Noesis Professional Services area was no exception. This impact has been reflected mainly in new business, that is, in the processes that we had planned to start at this time and which were suspended because of this situation. At the beginning of the state of emergency the focus of our customers and organizations in general was to ensure business continuity and ensure the placement of their employees in remote work and security. In this context, of course, the start-up of new projects has moved to the background.

During this period, Noesis has also been committed to supporting our customers and assuring our employees, placed in these customers, of all the necessary conditions for this change. Our main concern was to ensure the continuity of the services provided with the same quality as always. With the stabilization of this situation, we are now noticing a trend towards some normalization on the part of the market. Some customers are beginning to reevaluate the suspended processes, which gives us prospects of moderate optimism for the time being.

Does this impact extend to recruitment processes? How?

M.G.: Naturally, this whole period of uncertainty is having an impact on recruitment processes. First of all because there is a lower predisposition to professional change in this period, especially in a sector like ours that is highly competitive, of full employment and where competition for talent is very strong. We continue to receive applications and continue actively searching for the best talent and candidates for the processes we have open with our customers. Also, the suspension of some processes, as I mentioned earlier, necessarily reflected in our recruitment activity.
In operational terms, the impact is minimal. The fact that Noesis is a recognized, strong and credible brand on the market, both for applicants and for customers, is also a favorable factor.

In the second quarter there are usually several job fairs linked to universities, which this year have been canceled. Did they recruit there? What are the alternatives?

M.G.: We continue to do it remotely, not noticing much impact on that aspect. We keep our active search for talent, not only in virtual job fairs, but also in the initiatives of Pitch Bootcamp, of which we are partners, and which has  taken place in a virtual way, with good adherence by the candidates.

What initiatives are you taking to overcome the constraints in the usual channels of recruitment and in the lower availability of resources for change? What have tyou had to change and what changes do you believe may have come to stay?

M.G.: The main change was mainly in the way of working, which became totally remote, both in terms of interviews with candidates and in meetings with partners and clients. We have always guided our work by a great proximity to our customers, it is essential to understand their needs, know the business, in order to provide a quality service and select the best candidates for the project. That is why we favor face-to-face interaction, it is more efficient and is also one of the factors that differentiates us in the market, methodology that we hope to resume after this situation.

Do these adjustments extend to training or have they already mainly used digital processes in this area?

M.G.: The remote formation was already a reality "pre-covid-19", yet we mostly used to face-to-face training. This area is also reinventing itself and we have seen great dynamism and a growing offer of training that is remote and based on digital processes. I believe that this will also be an opportunity to try out new models, which will be a good thing.

How many people does Noesis have in this area right now?

M.G.: At the moment the Professional Services area has about 180 employees.

Do they recruit only in Portugal or also in other countries and to integrate here or in other subsidiaries?

M.G.: We recruit people from all over the world to integrate our projects into clients in Portugal.

What kind of projects do your employees in this division have and what skills do they have?

M.G.: Our employees always integrate projects in the area of Information Technology in various market sectors, namely Banking, Insurance, Telecommunications, Retail, Industry, Services, Energy and Public Sector. The Professional Services area is composed of profiles ranging from application support, application development, systems integration, software architecture, functional analysis and product management, Waterfall and Agile project management, Web development, Webdesign, Usability and User Interface and Business Intelligence.

When we return to the normality possible, do you believe that we will have some important change/s in the profiles of the most sought talents in IT, or in the typology of outsourcing services?

M.G.: In terms of IT profiles I believe that there will be no significant changes, but we believe that this could lead to a recovery period with an even greater demand for profiles, to address all the development and digital transformation needs that many organizations have been forced to accelerate. Still, this trend of increasing demand for qualified technical resources in the areas of Information Technology was already a reality in recent years, which leaves us an optimistic perspective for the post-covid-19 period.

How much do you expect to make this year in this division and how much will that amount represent in the total revenue and compared to the previous year?

M.G.: With the current situation and the consequences, still unpredictable, that it will have in the economy, it is premature to advance figures or forecasts. Several national and international reference bodies anticipate a scenario of economic crisis in Portugal and globally. Still, we maintain an optimistic outlook on the performance of Noesis' Professional Services and we expect growth compared to last year. At the beginning of the year we estimated a growth close to 10% of the turnover volume. This forecast may be revised eventually, but we maintain the ambition and the expectation of growth.

*Published in

2020 05 06   Ntechnews Micaela Gonalves