Doubling the revenues and the performance potential, maintaining the leading position on the Polish SAP market, getting big international customers onboard and, consequently, reaching the level of over 60% of revenues from the foreign market – Bartłomiej Buszczak, Management Board President at BCC, talks about BCC's strategy for the years 2011-2014 and its outcome for the SAP and IT market in Poland.
Stating the strategy for the following four years, what is BCC's position?
We are an undisputed leader of the Polish SAP market and the biggest SAP partner. We have the largest team of highly qualified SAP consultants and we deliver dozens of projects for the largest companies every year. Additionally, we are a significant provider of IT outsourcing services – not only for SAP systems, as we also host and administrate other IT solutions.
On the other hand, for the last three years, over 40% of the company revenues have come from work abroad.
We carry out increasingly bigger projects for big international customers, e.g.: building and developing SAP corporate solutions, SAP roll-outs to company subsidiaries all over the world or launching a corporate portal for companies of the group located in dozens of countries. We also take part in advanced integration projects. Our consultants work across the Polish border – in the Czech Republic or Lithuania, but also in more remote locations like Egypt and Indonesia. The projects are run according to the customer's expectations and the quality of our work is highly valued by the customers as evidenced by their long-standing business relations with us as well as by BCC's taking over a broader area of responsibility when it comes to SAP projects in big corporations.
This is reflected in the company's financial health and the revenues structure. The amount of revenue we generated in 2009, which was relatively hard for us, was practically as high as in 2008 and the latter was a peak year for profit. We maintain profitability at a satisfactory level. Unlike many other IT companies, we have not reduced our performance potential, the number of our projects has not decreased, and we have gained new customers at the same time.
We can certainly say that BCC had its first successes in the European market. However, the appetite comes with eating. We have the relevant experience and potential to strengthen our business position, which we want to do primarily by expanding our operations abroad. We definitely want to keep an eye on the Polish market and are going to remain an SAP leader, focusing on delivering services to the biggest customers and carrying out the most challenging projects. We also want to strengthen BCC's position as a provider of IT outsourcing services.
I think that we have managed to include the essence of our strategy in its name – BCC +international. Building on what we have achieved so far, we intend to grow primarily by acquiring new customers abroad.
What will BCC look like in four years then?
BCC Anno Domini 2014 is a company twice as big in terms of the performance potential, which means that we have a team of over 400 SAP consultants. A high level of professional competence, broad project experience and commitment to demanding SAP projects are still our distinctive feature.
On account of that and of the brand of a reliable and responsible partner that we have been working for since 1995, we have several dozen customers abroad, including multinational corporations for whom we are a strategic partner in SAP implementations, development and maintenance.
We gain new customers through our subsidiaries in several countries, including Germany and the UK. We also have a nearshore center across the eastern Polish border, where we execute tasks that do not require our presence at the customer's premises, for example ABAP development.
Consequently, we earn revenues that are twice as high as in 2010, where 60% of it comes from abroad. So much for the changes in business.
The values that the company holds onto, including competence, responsibility and respect in business relations, have not changed since BCC was first started.
What does this expansion abroad mean for BCC's Polish customers?
Maintaining the share in the Polish market is one of the pillars of our strategy, we are not going to lower our commitment with our long-term customers. We intend to actively take on new customers as well.
We learn all the time, with every project we gain new experience and this accounts for the expertise that we add to our competence bank, which pays off during the projects that follow. We can simply conduct them better, drawing on world standards in our methodology or pioneering in implementations of innovative solutions.
I would also like to point out that the borderline between the Polish and foreign markets is fading. A lot of Polish companies operate in the structures of multinational corporations, becoming more and more important there, for example becoming a leading company in the Central and Eastern Europe. Also Polish managers follow their careers at multinational corporations, holding responsible positions.
Let's not forget about the companies with Polish capital that are setting up their sales departments or factories abroad. There are and there will be more and more of them. For such Polish companies with operations abroad, BCC is a natural partner. Decora, a company that has implemented the SAP system with us in nearly 10 countries since 2007, is an example of such cooperation.
Will the foreign subsidiaries be structured similarly to BCC Polska? Are we planning to employ any foreigners?
In selected countries we will found companies that will operate in compliance with the local law and adhere to business practices applied there. This is for the customer's convenience but also for ours. We simply will be closer to each other, which will make the cooperation easier from the first meeting, through negotiation of contract provisions and establishment of its legal grounds in the jurisdiction relevant to the customer’s headquarter, to checking on the work progress. The structure of employment in our subsidiaries will be adjusted to the local conditions and needs.
Does the planned launch of a subsidiary east of Poland also mean expansion eastwards?
We will look closely to SAP implementation markets there, indeed. We are available for customers from Russia or Ukraine.
Is the range of BCC's services going to change?
According to the assumptions of the BCC +international strategy, our offer for international customers will focus on services related to development and maintenance of SAP systems. Relying upon our employees' superior competence, developed standards and long experience, we can provide our customers with support in SAP projects – regardless of whether they relate to the headquarters in Germany or a subsidiary in the Far East.
Recently, we have also greatly developed IT outsourcing services and IT system security-related services and we carry out many consulting projects on the borderland between IT and business consulting. The BCC brand becomes recognizable in that area as well, and our customers, including multinational companies, highly value the level of our professional competence.
Over the past few years, under partnership contracts or in connection with new products in SAP AG portfolio, we have been broadening the range of products and services to include solutions complementary to SAP in our offer, which complete and extend its functionalities. These are for instance tools from the SAP BusinessObjects family or org.manager of Ingentis, a German company. Currently, we are looking at new solutions in the SAP portfolio – Sybase – and considering including them in our offer.
How is BCC going to finance the implementation of the BCC +international strategy?
The growth will be financed by the company's current profits. We are planning to reinvest 50% of our profit every year in further expansion of the company. If the scenario of improvement of the economic situation comes true, we might also want to raise capital outside. I think we will then return to the plans for public issue of shares, which were postponed due to the crisis.
What is the biggest challenge for you in the new strategy?
We have been following an unblazed trail – so far, no other Polish company providing services in IT consulting, has been successful in expansion out of the country within the model of organic development, without acquiring companies from the particular market, and this is what our strategy outlines.
There are numerous challenges for the board, like the provision of growth financing based mainly on the company's own funds. We also have to learn how to manage a geographically dispersed organization with locations in Poland and other countries, which sends its employees to customers all over the world. How to maintain efficiency of operations, smooth and quick communication, unanimous decisions on all levels with the organizational strategy, how to pass on the values, organizational culture and our work standards to the subsidiaries abroad? Coming up with a good answer is a prerequisite for our success.
Personally, I think there is one more important thing: when I was starting my job as an SAP consultant, in addition to the possibility of professional development, the atmosphere in the work environment as well as our eagerness and the feeling that we were a part of something important counted. I would like to keep things this way despite the bigger size of the company so that BCC can still enjoy its reputation of being a good employer, with whom you want to follow your professional career.
Interviewed by Mirosława Huk, BCC Group