Lessons we learned and plans for the future! Summary of 2020 at Predica

It has become somewhat of a habit that I write an annual summary. This is something I have done for the past 3 years: recounting successes and achievements, sharing our outlook for the future.

But this year has been so different in many unexpected ways. Therefore, I’ll focus on what we learned this year and found to matter the most.

Key points

  • What challenges did we face at the beginning of the 2020 and how did we deal with them?
  • How has the industry changed?
  • What are our plans for the next year?

The pandemic has changed our perspective on a number of things. But having gone through this year, I am confident that we are ready to face what’s ahead. Here are the key reasons why.

Trust-based relationships are crucial

The pandemic showed us how important human relations are – certainly in personal life but also, more surprisingly, in business.

In late March, when Covid hit Europe, we noticed our sales processes grind to a halt. Obviously, our clients and prospective clients were in the same predicament as us – uncertainty was at its highest.

Dealing with tough decisions

Like other companies, we had to take some difficult measures to make sure the business remains safe and stable. We made a decision to freeze the bonuses, to make sure we have the cash flow for all salaries for as long as needed to weather this storm.

The vast majority of our employees understood this
They trusted us to make the right decisions even if it could mean their interests are hurt in the short term. We held monthly (remote) townhall meetings where we would update them on the situation.

Remaining open and transparent about company health reduced the fear caused by uncertainty and made it easier to get through the changes. Finally, in the summer, we were able to lift the freezes. The outstanding bonuses were paid out over the following months.

Keeping people busy

In May we had yet another tough situation where nearly 30 people had no work forecast for the next 4 weeks. By reaching out mainly to our existing clients, working on the proposals that were on their desks, we managed to get all these people into projects within 1.5 months.

How did it happen so quickly? I believe it’s because our clients trust us with their IT projects and systems, seeing how we handle them with care and professionalism.

Situations like these make me optimistic for the future, however unpredictable.

Screenshot of our Instagram account

Predicans in March/April 2020 (see full post)

The office times are over, long live remote work!

We have always promoted remote work and allowed people to work from anywhere. There are many Predicans who live in places where we don’t have an office. Heck, sometimes even people in Warsaw worked remotely to avoid the commute.

Nevertheless, due to the pandemic, our offices were virtually abandoned within days. We took some steps to help our people deal with this change, as for some it was a big shift indeed.

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Adjusting to the home office reality

We still remained fully operational even during the lockdown. I am very grateful for the dedication of our entire team. Working from home, often in difficult conditions or in unusual hours, day after day, they managed to deliver projects for our clients.

We do our best to support them in these efforts. Fun fact – we’ve done a lot of shipping this year! This includes:

  • nearly 300 kgs of coffee to people’s homes that we would normally order to our offices
  • over 60 adjustable height desks from our offices to Predican’s homes
  • around 600 parcels. Our offices are still open and small teams are still able to work and get some paperwork done. Although we have all our processes digitized, not all our clients or partners do. Plus, we have to exchange material items.

Socializing at a distance

All this is not a totally bad change – we save time by telecommuting, but still can meet in few-person groups at the offices if needed, or just for some company.

But the funny thing is that while in 2019 we would sometimes be tired of traveling for projects (most of which happened outside of Poland), by the end of 2020 we are missing at least some face time (and not of the Apple kind!) with our clients. In 2019 we traveled 330 times, this year only 50.

And of course, we miss our annual company offsite meeting with fun activities and epic parties. No virtual event, however well prepared and exciting, is going to replace that!
Infographics "What happened in 2020?"

One team, together!

We are now nearly 250 people strong. Most of the projects or endeavors we set out to do require the cooperation of at least few people, and often many more. We learned that a shared goal and values keep us aligned, no matter how big or small the team.

For sure, it’s not easy to achieve all this in a dispersed work environment, with multiple cultures on board (we have people from over 9 different nationalities). As a simple example, carrying out a 1-hour online event for all employees celebrating 2020 required the involvement of over 10 people from 7 departments, and planning for 3 weeks ahead.

Every day when we deliver reliable services on Microsoft cloud, the same thing happens – people from various teams work together to give ultimate value to our clients. And this is what we will focus on going forward – investing in our teamwork capabilities.

Important industry developments this year

2020 has brought some good news as well. Here are some of the key events which had a considerable impact on us.

New Microsoft Azure Region in Poland

As a Microsoft Partner, this year we welcomed the news of a new Azure Region being announced in Poland. In May, Microsoft shared that it will invest a billion dollars in a new datacenter in our country. Soon after, Google shared details of its plans for investing two billions in a new Google Cloud region – also in Poland.

Investments of this magnitude from world technology leaders confirm what we already knew. The Polish IT industry can easily compete with other world-class suppliers.

It makes us even more proud to have received the title of Microsoft Poland Partner of the Year this year. We’re very grateful for this recognition and take it as a sign of trust in what we do and will continue to do in the future.

Screenshot of Linkedin post

The increasing role of tech sector in the global market

The tech industry, as we all know, is the core of most market changes these days. The NASDAQ pushed the stock market out of recession the fastest.

Even on the Polish stock market, which lagged compared to its western counterparts, companies like e-commerce leader Allegro with its recent record-breaking IPO, or video game producer CD PROJEKT RED broke into the TOP of the ranking with the highest growth and capitalization.

Slack acquisition

Recently, Salesforce announced that it’s buying Slack. It’s a clear move towards creating competition for Microsoft in the enterprise software area. Now Slack can benefit from Salesforce’s resources, while Salesforce gained a new service to complement their office software offering.

It will allow it to compete even better with the Office 365 suite and Dynamics CRM.

Hopefully, ultimately the client and consumer will be the ultimate benefactor of this increased competition and raising the bar.

Apple processors

Meanwhile, we’re observing Apple moving away from outsourcing their processors and returning to producing their own. New M1 processors available in the latest MacBooks and based on the ARM architecture are quite a strong indicator of a larger trend.

The key players like Microsoft, Apple, or NVIDIA spend increasingly more effort on producing their own hardware.

This is quite an interesting development, and the fate of traditional suppliers like Intel or Qualcom is now uncertain.

The cloud still rules!

As all this is happening, we can see that cloud adoption is becoming more and more prevalent. Indeed, without services like Zoom or Teams, the world would pretty much grind to a halt this year.

The leaderboard is also becoming very clear, with AWS leading the way at 45% of the market share. They’re followed by Microsoft Azure (17.9%) and Alibaba (9.1%) rather than Google, despite what media headlines might lead us to believe.

It’s very clear that the cloud is leading the way, and we’re happy to be a part of that journey.

“Every business will be a tech business”

The end of the year saw some significant developments in the U.S. stock market. Companies like DoorDash or Snowflake debuted with record-breaking IPOs amounting to $3.4 bn. They paved the way for Airbnb to debut at $3.5 bn shortly after.

This is a clear indication that technology now powers business. Each company operates in a different industry, yet that is of secondary importance. What matters is the tech engine at its core.

What’s next?

As every year, we have some plans as we head into 2021. We have yet to see what happens, but I am quite excited for the new year.

Our Leadership Team will continue on growing our presence not just in Poland, but also in the U.S. and Denmark.

We will expand our Cybersecurity and Data Analytics capabilities, to better meet our clients’ needs and expectations.

We always work on developing our knowledge of Microsoft technology stack – both in theory and in practice. We are proud to be a trusted Microsoft Partner in multiple regions, and it’s something we will continue to proactively develop.

And all this wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team of Predicans – which is also constantly growing! Right now we have around 30 open positions, and in 2021 we’re planning to hire around 100 experts in Microsoft technology. If you’d like to be one of them, check out our Careers page! And if you don’t see anything for you, get in touch anyway. We’ve got a lot more interesting roles in the works.

Screenshot of recruitment post

See the job offers at our Careers Page

Here’s to a bright future!

I believe that having gone through the trials and tribulations of last year, we are much better equipped for what’s ahead of us. And I am confident that with our current team we will be able to continue to support our partners and clients in their quests for going further with the cloud.

Have a happy and successful new year!

Key takeaways

  1. When COVID-19 hit Europe, we had to make some tough decisions to keep the business safe, take steps to help our people deal with the complete shift to remote work, and keep them busy when sales processes slowed down in March. We managed to remain fully operational during the lockdown, thanks to many years of development of trust-based relationships and our cloud-first approach.
  2. 2020 accelerated some of the trends that were already in motion, with the increasing role of tech sector and cloud adoption becoming more prevalent. The announcement of the new Microsoft Azure Region in Poland confirmed that the Polish IT industry can undoubtedly compete with other suppliers.
  3. Our main strength lies in the team of talented and dedicated people who make great things happen. In 2021 we’ll continue to develop our internal practices and grow our expertise on services that provide value to our customers. 2020 made us stronger and ready for challenges ahead!

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