How is your capacity in delivering and implementing solutions and products?
At Noesis, remote work and the development of projects and solutions at our customers' facilities was already a reality prior to this period of confinement caused by Covid-19. Many of our projects, namely in OutSystems application development, Quality Management services and tests, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, among others, are usually developed by our teams and competence centers in the nearshore or offshore regime, not only for the Portuguese market, but also for the international markets where we are present, such as the Netherlands or the United States, for example. In this sense, the impact of this situation on our delivery capacity was not significant.
We do, however, feel the natural impact of the overall economic slowdown, which also caused the delay or suspension of projects, that were already planned to start. In other areas, namely, Professional Services or in some Infrastructure services, traditionally provided on-site by clients, it was necessary to quickly adapt and implement a plan that would allow these teams to move from client facilities to their homes, with the least possible impact on the continuity of these services. This plan was fully achieved, and we continue to operate remotely and deliver with the same quality, that has always characterized us.
What products or solutions are companies most purchasing?
Noesis' IT offer is very transversal and we operate in complementary areas ranging from Infrastructures to Software, passing through Quality and People. Naturally, this situation has caused some slowdown in some areas, but in most cases, we have been able to respond to the companies and market needs, in this specific context. If we think, for example, in areas where Noesis is very strong, such as Cybersecurity, Remote Workspace, Low-Code or Data Analytics & AI, supported by reference partnerships with Darktrace, Microsoft, OutSystems or Qlik, respectively, it’s easy to conclude that we are very well positioned to provide solutions to our customers. All cybersecurity issues are on the agenda, due to an increase of attacks and threats caused by the exponential use of remote work tools. We also see a set of new trends: organizations seek to boost productivity in this conjuncture of distance collaboration, intending to develop and implement new systems and applications in a fast and agile way, and raise issues related to the exponential growth of available data (caused by the increased traffic on digital channels. These were the areas that we identified as being the most active in this period, and for which we ensure an offer of specialized solutions and services.
Have assistance and technical support for requests increased? Did they have to take any special action to support orders at this stage?
Yes, requests increased in our Infrastructure Solutions business unit, where we provide support services to our customers, especially in the first days of confinement. We have been supporting our customers, since the first hour, in response to the challenges caused by the massive movement for teleworking. Our Infrastructure Solutions costumers are some of the largest organizations operating in the market, as such, it was necessary to support them in adapting their technological infrastructures, to sustain this migration on a large scale. It was essential to parameterize their entire infrastructure, customize security issues, adjust procedures and ensuring business continuity, with the least possible disruption.
How were the first days?
The first days were a natural adaption to these new times and quite challenging for all of our teams, and also for the organization's top management. To begin with, within project teams, despite the existing remote work culture and the nearshore development regime with our clients, these projects were mostly developed in our competence centers, where the teams were together, in the same physical space. It required a great movement of our people (today we are close to 900 employees) and a great mobilization of all our Support areas - IT, HR, etc. - so that everything went as smoothly as possible and with the least disturbance possible, which was fully achieved. At a time when we are gradually returning to normal, it is also time to acknowledge and thank the enormous effort, dedication, and professionalism with which all our talents have faced and overcame this challenge.
Our Sales and Marketing teams also faced new challenges: on the one hand, the continuous need to ensure close proximity to our customers and remain available to support them in all their difficulties, on the other hand, to demonstrate the relevance of our offers and solutions for organizations in this period, without forgetting all the internal communication effort necessary, so that all our employees remain properly informed and calm.
Finally, the management challenge, with the inevitable revision the 2020 plan and constant monitoring of the pandemic’s impact. We are working on defining measures and actions to be taken, in the immediate and medium term, in order to minimize the impact of the economic slowdown on the company's activity, as well as on the contingency plans outlined for different future scenarios, at a time when foreseeing the evolution of this situation becomes almost an impossible mission.
How do you look at the market when all this goes back to “normal” or is it no longer normal?
At Noesis, we remain positive. We know that the impact of this situation on the economy will be very significant, as all studies and forecasts from different organizations point out, but we also know that we operate in a robust sector, with active growth in the “pre-covid-19” period. Our expectation is that the situation will gradually return to “normality”. Despite everything, several authors have already referred to Covid-19 as an accelerating agent for digital transformation in organizations, which started and accelerated the digitalization of their business and processes.
The “new normal” will certainly be more digital, in terms of: consumption habits, ways of working and organizational processes. Technology will continue to play a fundamental role and, on our part, we will continue to invest in a diversified offer, to innovate in the solutions we present to the market and to be an ally of our customers in their journey of digital transformation.
*Published in Computerworld.