SMP Solutions: “We help clients move into the digital era.”

smp solutions

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet SMP Solutions from Hungary.

smp solutions

Our partners inspire us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, in line with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.

Meet SMP Solutions; a company committed to providing high-quality and efficient solutions for challenges in IT, banking and security technology for more than 30 years. They offer their customers complex, best-of-breed solutions to help them fulfil business requirements, from assessment through implementation to operational services.

This time, we sat down for a chat with their HR Manager, Ádám Varga.

Nice to meet you Ádám! Please introduce your company to us. What does SMP Solutions do for the customers?

We work in three broader areas at SMP Solutions: security, banking and IT. We help our customers in these three big areas, from product sales to system integration, custom development solutions, and pretty much everything you can imagine.

We’ve been in business for more than thirty years and we’re constantly expanding our portfolio: right now, we do a vast range of things as a company.

We also have many activities abroad but have local subcontractors there to help us, and everything is supplied from Hungary. We want to keep it that way. We don’t plan to open a separate office in each country, but rather to expand our activities here.

Why is it great to work at SMP Solutions? What is your company like as a workplace?

What’s good about working for us is that we are a “small” Hungarian company. We are now more than 250 people, which is no longer considered small, but culturally we try to keep the small company atmosphere.

We keep the best operating principles from multinational companies – because many colleagues come from this kind of company background and have a lot of experience with that type of work – and leave the ones out that are just holding us back.

We can decide how we want to operate and what is important to us. Every colleague can have an impact on their work and an even broader scale. We encourage everyone at SMP Solutions to share ideas and to take the initiative.

Can you mention some examples where colleagues took the initiative and affected how the company worked?

From day-to-day operations to technological solutions and implementations, we have many examples. Some colleagues start learning technologies independently and share the knowledge with others. One of them, for instance, has immersed themselves in Microsoft Azure and started making tutorial videos for other colleagues entirely on their initiative.

But if someone brings in a suggestion for improving efficiency, we are always open to ideas like that.

Could you please talk about developers at your company? What are they working on, and in what kind of teams?

We have two delivery organisations – one of them focuses on solutions that are closer to hardware. The other team works more on software-related stuff that is less related to hardware sales. Here we have CRM system development, DevOps, data management, big data, and several classic software development teams. Both delivery organisations consist of about 60-70 people.

Colleagues that came to our company from Codecool are working on a key front-end system development project for a large bank.

Are they working in the bank’s office?

Yes, they do. The plan was to work at least one day a week in our office, but now with the pandemic and hybrid working, these plans are constantly changing

We organise internal programmes, get-togethers, barbecues and other activities, so all the colleagues from SMP Solutions who do most of their day-to-day work at the bank’s premises can feel that they’re part of the SMP team too. Also, the two offices are really close to each other.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. What’s your opinion about it? How hard is it for you to find the right people nowadays?

It’s hard to find people nowadays, especially people that are pros at specific technologies. There’s a big gap now between education and job expectations. I mean that very different things are expected of students in university courses than what will be needed for work later.

Even those who graduate from a degree course may not be able to get a job right away. This is a big problem because there is a massive global shortage of technological skills.

At SMP Solutions, we have a career orientation program where our colleagues go to high schools and discuss IT career paths. This is crucial because it’s hard to find a university course that will lead you right to a developer career. And we want to help young people decide in time if IT could be a potential career path for them.

What global and local trends do you see impacting your industry?

What impacts us a lot is hybrid work. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter where your colleagues sit; they could be in London or Los Angeles. We see more and more developers take jobs at companies overseas, too.

This changed a lot for us because If you care about the company you work for and you care about your team, you’ll feel comfortable with us. We try to build a great community and office environment for our colleagues here in Hungary.

But now we need to find something extra to make it fun to work for us. We put together an online chat roulette, randomly drawing colleagues together for a casual chat. We also did game clubs and virtual Christmas celebrations. But there are challenges in bringing the office vibe to hybrid workers at home.

How do you see your cooperation with Codecool? Why is it valuable for you? And what do you think of Codecoolers?

The speed and the quality that Codecool provides are precious, and we know exactly what to expect from someone who comes to us from Codecool. There is a basis, an absolute certainty of quality that we don’t have to assess or test, that we can count on. 

People who come from Codecool are always motivated, enthusiastic, and work well in a team. Generally speaking, their personality is always excellent, and they can collaborate well. They also have a piece of solid core knowledge in their approach and software development mindset.

When we interview a Codecooler, it’s usually not a classic interview per se; we tend to focus on what the person wants to do later and what motivates them in the long run.

We assess how they’d feel at a job where a lot of communication is involved instead of their skills. We try to find out more if they find the work they’ll do later at the bank promising. If they’re enthusiastic, it’s going to work out, and we know we don’t have to test their capabilities. We know Codecoolers have what it takes to do the job well.

What do you think about the communication skills of Codecoolers?

I can see that they are powerful communicators, great in interviews, and always give good answers. They are used to working in a team and don’t have the “nerd mentality” of doing a great job technically but not being able to talk about the process.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company? What are your most important projects right now?

Our long-term plan is to help customers with their digital transformation. It’s all related to the fact that customers do most of their transactions, activities, and interactions in the digital space, especially in the banking world.

There’s vast potential to improve the traditional banks and to help them move into the digital era.

In terms of significant projects, I’d mention some innovative ones, like a smart office automation product called Soffie, that aims to connect smart solutions from different manufacturers in a vast office building. For example, a smart parking system in an office building cannot be directly integrated into the company’s internal IT system, and this product can provide a solution.

How do you see our shared digital future?

There’s a lot of talk about Metaverse, NFTs and cryptocurrencies these days, and I’m interested in these things. Still, I don’t think that they’re necessarily going to be universally used in the future. The most significant typical digital speciality will be hybrid work and “hybrid” life.

It’s going to be more of this casual, flexible working that you can’t classically separate from your personal life. I think that’s where we’re heading. 

You mentioned more developers working remotely, even for companies overseas. Do you think this will mean that the wages will rise here as well, to compensate for these opportunities?

This trend drives wages upward, but I don’t think companies should get involved in this wage competition. You have to find the people who want to work for you and care about your community and company and give them a fair compensation package.


Inspired by SMP Solutions’ example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

Innoveo: “A great place to learn and evolve further”

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet Innoveo from Hungary.

Our partners inspire us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, in line with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners, and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.

Meet Innoveo, a company delivering a Swiss-engineered no-code platform that helps to build enterprise-grade software quickly and efficiently while streamlining collaboration across teams. They transform digital experiences and achieve business growth with a true no-code, AI-enabled cloud platform solution. This time, we sat down for a chat with their Service Delivery Manager, Péter Tálas.

Nice to meet you, Péter! Please introduce your company to us. What is Innoveo like as a workplace?

We’re a US-based company working on disrupting the no-code software market through our platform called Innoveo Skye.

No-code was a niche market 5-10 years ago. It evolved from facilitating function-specific tools to enabling a broader range of business employees to own their automation and build new software applications without coding. By 2021 the market size reached USD 6 Billion, and estimates show that by 2025 this will increase to USD 47 Billion and USD 190 Billion by 2030, so the market potential is enormous.

This type of application development has become a lot more mainstream. Customers are looking for software solutions that not only address their specific problems and can become a strategic tool in their organisation to manage various IT system challenges. We’re part of this hype now and are working to be in the front row and centre, which is fantastic.

Innoveo was established in 2007, and back then, we had our headquarters in Switzerland, our first location. The Budapest office was opened in 2014 as a delivery center for our professional services. Since then, we have reached more than 70 people in our local headcount and plan further expansions in the coming years.

I know of other low-code platforms with a presence in Hungary, but a genuinely no-code platform company doesn’t exist here. Thus, if someone wants to be a part of this market opportunity, our company is the right place for it. We have a diverse community of almost 200 working from the mainland US, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, and India.

We work with clients worldwide, including high-end players in the insurance and finance market. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is just starting their career or would like to evolve further professionally.

In Budapest, we upgraded the office multiple times in the past few years to accommodate the team’s growth and the recent challenges of the changing work environments due to the pandemic. We expanded our floorspace and added several meeting rooms and co-op spaces, including ergonomic furniture. We want to ensure that people feel comfortable coming to the office when needed and have the right environment to work together.

The company also provides excellent benefits,  including private medical insurance, team events, and travel opportunities since our clients are all out of Hungary. 

What type of software are you developing for your clients who’re present in the insurance industry?

Insurance business processes and operations have several challenges. We can offer many things to our customers, from simple quote-and-bind solutions in new business through managing distribution partners, brokers, agents, and agencies to offering customer portals, policy administration, and claims management systems.

However, our platform is not only built for insurance use-cases, as its modules and tools are made to build general building blocks of a modern web application.

Why are digital talent and skills essential for your business? What type of competencies are you mainly looking for when you’re hiring?

It depends on which team we’re hiring for. In the team I’m leading, we mainly have Business Analysts and System Analysts, who comprise the core of our implementation project teams. The first one is closer to a traditional business analyst role that you can see at other companies.
We hire people with excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills for these roles. They need to know the software development lifecycles and how software requirements are discovered and structured into delivery phases.

When it comes to more senior roles, they need to have excellent domain knowledge in their respective fields to advise our customers on best practices and act as trusted advisors in insurance systems.

System Analysts are mainly responsible for the configuration work during our project executions. They have to have an innate knowledge of the platform and become a proficient user of it to create the best user journeys. They need to work in scrum teams of agile projects, so the knowledge of working methodologies of such squads is good to have upfront. We also guide them to understand how projects are being done in our organisation.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. What’s your opinion about it? How hard is it for you to find the right people nowadays?

Finding the right people has always been challenging, and you need to walk the extra mile – not because you might not find the right skills, but because of the human factor. During hiring, we check hard skills and problem-solving skills. But if a person has communication issues, we know that collaboration probably won’t be working with them.

We need to find personalities who fit in well with our team and are excited to work with our platform. In our last round of interviews, all candidates get a demo where they get a glimpse at how the platform works. It happens that they can immediately see how it might be easier to work with our platform and solve problems they had faced earlier in their career. So we can see genuine interest from their side in working with us in the future. Other times, they don’t see themselves working with it or just not getting excited about it, which is precisely why we keep these rounds and presentations to ensure mutual interest.

How do you grow the digital skillset of your organisation? Via hiring, training, both, or some other way?

We always get positive feedback on our onboarding process, a well-structured, usually 3-4 week long process that everyone gets when they join the organisation. They get basic and advanced platform training – they see the platform’s basic and more advanced aspects with real examples.

After this section, they meet a business simulation where they can get a taste of an actual project. They can live through some of the challenges our projects can put us through, like unexpected demands from partners, changing requirements, being challenged on proposed solutions, and so on. They can check how they’d react, and it’s always an excellent learning example; we can talk through the process, and our new joiners gather valuable learnings.

Besides our official platform user guides, we have community-edited knowledge repositories that should give ideas to the most common challenges and problems the colleagues might face in their everyday project work.

And from time to time, we have more specific internal technical training, like database or AIP development training.

We also recognise the need for other learnings outside our platform or our industry. Hence, we have launched a full-blown training platform, where people can freely browse among thousands of training, books and lectures on hard and soft skills.

What global and local trends do you see impacting your industry?

The no-code/low-code trend started eight years ago, but the market growth has been enormous over the past few years. This growth is a response to the shift towards digital transformation and the recently growing adaptation to remote work. One of the significant advantages of these platforms is that they promote high levels of business agility and significantly reduce the time to market and costs.

Though the last few years brought this significant growth, there are still a few challenges the industry needs to address. Fewer customisation options (compared to fully custom development), increased vendor lock-in possibilities, and security risks all work against these solutions.

At Innoveo, we are working on addressing all these aspects of the low-code development and increasing our competitive advantage. Nevertheless, the overall low technical barrier to entry and the endless development possibilities of the no-code/low-code will support the market growth in the coming years.

Why did you choose to partner up with Codecool?

We started to work with Codecool a year ago, and from the start, we knew that Codecool was an excellent match for us. We found that Codecoolers, when they graduate, already have those essential competencies that we need to be able to train them further. This is especially true for those who’ve done the Full-Stack Development course.

How do you see our cooperation?  Why is it valuable for you? And what do you think of Codecoolers?

All Codecoolers have stayed and become great additions to our teams. We don’t need all skills they learn at the school. Still, we appreciate that they have a systematic approach and a full view of the development process, enabling them to understand our platform better. They are quick learners and gather all the necessary skills they need in two months to start working independently.

Plus, they bring some “fresh air” to our community because they’re young, motivated, eager learners.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company? What are your most important projects right now?

We’re at an exciting period now, we’ve received quite a lot of funding in the past years, and we continue to raise money from investors this year, which will give us the ways to expand our teams further, improve our platform and services, acquire more new customers, entering new markets.

All this is super thrilling, and new joiners now come to us at a time when a lot of things are in the works.

How do you see our shared digital future?

It’s hard to see into the future; just think of how different our visions were 20 years ago of our life would look like today. I think digital automation, IoT, and AI trends will continue in the areas where they are already significant today, like personalised health care, mobility, smart energy, and so on.

It is hard to say how radically it will change things compared to the present.

I am interested in how technology will address climate change and reduce emissions in the energy, agriculture, and transportation sectors. At the same time, will it be able to keep its environmental footprint lower? Another thing I would probably keep my eyes on is the financial market regulations that will concern online banks, cryptocurrencies, and other financial services solutions that would leverage blockchain.

Finally, a growing interest in the metaverse is an exciting trend that keeps attracting major public and private funding.


 

Inspired by Innoveo’s example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

IQNOX: “Digitalisation is inevitable”

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet IQNOX from Romania.

Our partners inspire us not only to become better employers but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, aligning with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.  

Meet IQNOX; a company made up of technology experts providing best-fit software solutions and unmatched services in consulting, software design, and implementation.

This time, we sat down for a chat with their Senior Solutions Engineer, Cristian Năstase.

Nice to meet you, Cristian! Please introduce your company to us. What is IQNOX like as a workplace? 

My name is Cristian Năstase, and I’m a Senior Solutions Engineer at IQNOX. Aside from my consulting role, I am also one of the team leaders and onboard new engineers.

IQNOX started as a small company of 4 with an office in Florida, USA and Bucharest, Romania. PTC veterans established it in 2019 to bring their expertise and passion for quality directly to customers.

We have almost 20 people with 11 developers working in Romania, and we have a lot of freedom regarding the working schedule. The company’s core principles revolve around innovation, integrity, work-life balance and passion for helping our customers. We like to hire smart people and give them the freedom to work and express themselves how they want. We believe in continuous growth and aim to provide as many opportunities as possible.

Why are digital talent and skills essential for your business?

These skills are a must for the era we live in today. Digitalisation is inevitable, and people should strengthen their skills to face future challenges. Since we hire people that know the programming area, they should somehow build digital skills into their knowledge base at the foundations. So to sum it up, digital talent and skills should be common knowledge nowadays. 

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. What’s your opinion about it?

We consider that public schools should teach these competencies, and the government system should allocate funds, effort, and energy towards this goal. There’s a gap in digital skills, especially when it comes to people that don’t have access to an excellent educational system or more senior people who’ve lost contact with technology.

Some personal curiosity always helps; people should try to educate these skills on their own if they have all the instruments to do so.

How do you grow the digital skillset of your organisation? Via hiring, training, both, or some other way?

We prefer hiring good people and training them to become even better. We use different tools to keep track of our technical and soft skills. Technology is constantly changing, and a great candidate is someone who has a passion for learning and can adapt to changes.

What global and local trends impact your digital hiring and training efforts?

We keep in touch with what is relevant on the global market and try to be aware of the most popular platforms and services. We then use this knowledge to drive hiring and our projects.

Since our company is not too large, we have hired people from our social circles or people we had worked with previously. In the future, we want to be more open to using platforms for the hiring process. 

In terms of training, we have tried to create a complete onboarding process that combines technical knowledge, internal techniques and tools, and straightforward exercises. We tried to leverage existing materials and our own so that our peers could follow. And since most of our jobs are remote, we made the training process as suitable as possible for someone at home trying to do it independently.

Why did you choose to partner up with Codecool?

We knew about the school and what kind of training is done there already, so it made sense to contact you when it came to hiring new people.

How do you see our cooperation? Why is it valuable for you? 

It’s mutually beneficial, and we consider it a great decision so far. And we hope that this cooperation will be long-lasting, so we look forward to working with you in the future.

And on the topic of value, our partnership is valuable to us because we see you as professionals, and we consider that we can help each other grow and reach our objectives. You always provide us with candidates with a solid foundation, allowing us to quickly ramp them up and be a part of the team. 

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company? What are your most important projects right now?

Today we help companies achieve their digital transformation. Just think of a factory, for example, that wants to get better insights, more efficiency, and reduce their costs, or an automotive company looking to utilise augmented reality for work instructions. Our long-term vision is to be a leader in the digital thread that spans the entire lifecycle of bringing these products to life.

How do you see our shared digital future?

The world is continuing to become even more connected, that’s for sure. Either by satellite internet reaching places with no options today or by new platforms and services offering industries different approaches to solve some of their problems.


Inspired by IQNOX’s example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!