ENSURING THE WORLD HAS TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS
Not every company is capable of becoming a certified partner of 400 world leading software developers. Our domestic company Squalio has managed to do it.
Squalio distributes the software of technology giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and many other companies, as well as trades in cloud service licences, provides IT consulting services and support, as well as software inventory and auditing services for small, as well as large companies.
Gatis Ošs, the board member of Squalio says – although the initial area of company operations involved software licensing consultations, the focus has now shifted to data technologies and the solutions they provide, as well as data analytics, thus raising the topicality of data-based decisions. Actually, the company helps its customers change and develop their business on the basis of data analysis. For instance, Squalio has created a simple artificial intelligence application Peero, which is intended for the management of organisation and team building.
Meanwhile, years of work in the software licensing consultation sector has shown that the observation of all regulations and copyrights imposed by the manufacturer is complicated work, which is why the help of Squalio is indispensable. Squalio constantly follows its customers, which allows one to check at any time, whether everything is OK with the software used. It is important for the company to see the habits of use of the software, which enables one to provide various types of advice to the customers, for instance, on how to save funds, or on whether any of the software applications are not used completely. “Often companies buy for the sake of buying, but do not use all the functions of the purchased software. Nowadays IT provides the opportunity of paying for what you use – like electricity. This must be used!” Gatis Ošs says.
WE ARE NO LONGER THE CHEAPEST
It is trade in software and consulting that has enabled our company to successfully enter and operate in the international market for several years. The provision of services from Latvia has become possible in every country of the world. The globalisation of the world has reached a degree where the importance of foreign branches has reduced and a physical presence in every country is not required; however, there are still situations that require the development of a branch of the company due to peculiarities of national legislation or taxation issues – companies find it more convenient to have a legal representative that uses the national language at their location.
Are Latvians welcome there – abroad? “Not welcome,” the board member of Squalio replies. “To successfully export products or services, the objective, the message and the service must be very clearly defined. The theory of being cheaper is no longer working. You can always find someone who can sell for cheaper. Yes, the fact that we are the cheapest from the European Union sometimes works; it is a kind of proof of order, for instance, in the area of data privacy; however, the product is still the main part and it must be unique and high quality,” believes Gatis.
It was comparatively easy to start work in Eastern Europe because this market was 5 – 10 years “behind”. For instance, in the area of copyright. Meanwhile Western European customers are much more competent. “Software management solutions are the daily routine there. Special departments are in charge of this, and you communicate with them like equals – you do not educate them, you help in finding the most efficient solution.” How did you manage to conquer the West? It might sound slightly weird, but it is thanks to thematic conferences. “They go there with particular interest – to learn and exchange experience. Of course, we have participated in various trade missions organised by LIAA that help open the doors, which could not be done alone. Non-governmental organisations also help, like Latvian IT cluster.”
WORK WILL NO LONGER BE LIKE BEFORE
Upon arrival to the office of Squalio, everything is very silent. Visually it seems that, perhaps, 10% of employees are at work. The crisis has affected Squalio as well, but, fortunately, the company profile ensures the opportunity to work remotely. Gatis mentions that not everybody can do this. The office still needs to be administered, as well as there are people, who are simply incapable of working at home – an office is vital for them.
Gatis is pretty sure that, after combatting the virus, work will not return to the old ways. “The remote part is there to stay, which improves overall work efficiency. For instance, an hour scheduled for a meeting can be reduced to 40 minutes by using on-line conferencing software. While on-line we closely stick to the plan; the format does not support talking about trivia.
The amount of work has definitely not been reduced due to the crisis; furthermore, everyone has had to adapt and learn something new. Gatis says that there are customers that were not ready to work remotely and work using the “cloud”. They are only now starting to adapt to the new procedures – it will be much more difficult and time consuming to return to where the company was before.
DEEP INSIDE THE HEART – A STARTUP
Squalio will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022. In 2015, the company was known under the title DPA. Gatis Ošs was the eighth employee of the company. He still remembers the office in Old Riga and the rapid growth of the company, as well as the opening of the first branch in Lithuania. Now the company employs approximately 150 people. “As we become larger, the growth rate decreases, but it is understandable. We have been through a lot of transformation and adaptation as well – the sector has changed considerably during the last 20 years. Now we need to use language that is understood by the business much more – it has always been a problem of the IT sector. There is a lot of beauty and functionality, but we are unable to talk about all this. In Latvia, we currently have everything – good internet, availability of any type of technology and a variety of electronic services, but, in terms of usability, we rank somewhere in the middle in Europe. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to the understanding of customers’ needs, which enables us to substantiate why the respective technologies and services are required.”