SSCC success story: Catherine Ferrary Simon, Unit Manager at Namics Serbia – Our expectations have been more than fulfilled

The leading Swiss software engineering company Namics has attracted a large number of highly qualified engineers in only two years of operations in Serbia, and they intend to employ another 100 IT experts.

The interview with Catherine Ferrary Simon is the third in the line of conversations with member-companies of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, through which the SSCC promotes the operations of Swiss companies in Serbia and highlights the values and good business practice of the country and the companies.

Namics is a full-service agency which provides services in a wide range of industries – banking, telecommunications, automotive industry and medicine. Their clients are on the Forbes list of the 500 most successful companies in the world – ABB, BASF, Daimler, Medela, Sika, Swisscom, USB, Victorinox and the Zurich Airport.

We`ve learned for Catherine Ferrary Simon, Unit Manager at Namics Serbia, that one of their focuses in the coming period will be placed on creating a new team of engineers for the calibration and configuration of the system, but also the monitoring of the functioning of the clients` web applications.

– This is a great chance for professional development of systems engineers here in Serbia – Catherine Ferrary Simon says in her interview for eKapija.

eKapija: The Belgrade Office is the first Namics branch outside of Switzerland and Germany. To what extent has the decision to open the office fulfilled the company`s expectations? What kind of results have been made in Serbia?

– Our expectations have been more than fulfilled. After opening the Belgrade office we set several goals: hire and develop 50 engineers in the first three years, become a real local staple in the IT community, and ultimately be more competitive in the market in Switzerland and Germany. We have to admit that already after two years, are goals are almost completely fulfilled. Unique values that are fostered in Namics corporate culture and focus on communicating them in Serbia over the first two years, ultimately attracted a large number of highly qualified engineers. That is how, two years after we started operating in Belgrade, we have built a team of which we’re extremely proud, both in terms of enthusiasm that has been developed here and in terms of the high quality, which is nothing less than what is expected of engineers from Switzerland or Germany.

eKapija: You have recently announced that an additional 100 software engineers will be employed in Serbia. What are the reasons for this?

– After the success of our engineers and projects that they have worked on over the past two years, the analysis of the results achieved in Belgrade and the impact that they had on the on the global company’s success, the clear next step was to continue this growth in Serbia and in that way to further support Namics’ business worldwide.

eKapija: What does the company focus on in Serbia? Which projects are the engineers engaged on?

– While growing the company in Serbia, our focus was to create cross-country teams so that new engineers in Serbia would have the opportunity to learn from our more veteran engineers who have been working in Switzerland and Germany for many years. It is exactly what happened. We successfully transmitted our company values and work ethic to Belgrade. Now that we have a team of 30 people, we can support entire projects locally which will be our goal in the upcoming years: to give Belgrade engineers even more autonomy and local decision making power. When it comes to projects, over the past year, we’ve worked intensively on large international client projects including Medela, Victorinox, Sunrise and others. The trend of working on large projects of international importance will continue in the future.

eKapija: Please, present Namics to us. Which technologies do you deal in and in which areas? Which companies do you cooperate with?

– Namics is a full service agency that provides its services in the wide range of industries – from banking, telecommunications, automotive and medical care. All of our clients are on the Forbes top 500 list of the most successful companies in the world such as: ABB, BASF, Daimler, Medela, Sika, Swisscom, USB, Victorinox and Zurich Airport.

Our projects and employees are regularly rewarded. That is why we are constantly working on improving our knowledge and high technological standards. Therefore, engineers in Namics work with the latest tools and constant support from colleagues from Germany and Switzerland. Some of the technologies and products that we are working with are Java, AEM, Hybris, Magnolia, .NET & Sitecore, Front End Technologies.

Though the bulk of our team works on these projects as backend and frontend engineers, an interesting opportunity that we’re working on developing here is creating a new team of Applications Engineers. This is a new role that we’ve never filled in Belgrade and a great chance for professional development of systems engineers here in Serbia to learn about this interesting and challenging role.

eKapija: It`s interesting to note that Namics employees are at the same time its owners. Could you explain how this works?

– Our organisation is a partnership of employees with a common interest in long-term success. The share capital is divided in equal parts between 29 operationally active partners in Germany and Switzerland. We have a long-term commitment towards our employees and support an open and collaborative corporate culture that offers our staff the attractive chance to participate in the development of our company.

eKapija: The way you organize your activities is also innovative. You say that you foster an interdisciplinary approach to work, as well as employees` individuality. What does this look like in practice?

– This comes back to our full service approach to business. Our goal is the digital transformation of our clients’ businesses. This includes beginning with a strategy by working with our business consultants, determining a user friendly design that will encourage the best user experience for our clients’ customers, implementing the solution with our back and frontend developers, and ultimately the deployment and maintenance of the project. This represents the interdisciplinary approach that we are fostering, because we strongly believe that more heads are better than one and that by working together we can achieve the greatest results.

Another core value that we foster at Namics is individuality i.e. autonomy. Everyone is accountable for their own work, time and schedule, and is truly free to do their job in the best way that they see, and to fit and manage their own time and communication as it works best for themselves and for their teams. In practice, this means that if you work better in the morning as opposed to the afternoon or just need to step out for a personal obligation for couple hours, you don’t need to ask anyone for permission to do so – you’re in charge of your own schedule and time.

eKapija: Namics is a socially responsible company. Tell us something more about this.

– Part of our mission in Serbia was to become a truly local company. We worked on a several projects over the past year, from sponsoring and organizing the first all female hackathon in Serbia to writing and publishing a children’s book on web programming which we donated to cultural institutions and libraries in Belgrade. Right now we are working on sponsoring a year long program in 2017 of free lessons in web development to parentless or otherwise disadvantaged children.

eKapija: Which digital trends will be in focus in the next five years?

– Brand experience will go Omni-Channel, meaning that there will be no breaks between channels of communication. Customers will have a consistent brand experience all the way – seen on television, researched on the tablet, ordered in the online shop. Together with the brand experience, individualism will be “The King” and advertising and content will be more personal and custom made. Also, we can’t omit Internet of Things – the concept that is going to be completely actualized in our very near future.

eKapija: Namics` investment is seen by the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce as a great opportunity for the development of the software industry in Serbia. In which way can the IT sector in Serbia be improved using the Swiss experience?

– Because we work with the top international businesses in Switzerland and Germany which are large international corporations, we have the opportunity to develop cutting edge technologies and use interesting products like Adobe Experience Manager, Hybris, Sitecore and others. Not many other companies in Serbia use these products, making it an interesting opportunity for engineers to master new skills which are in high demand on an international level.

eKapija: Which Swiss values are you fostering and implementing in Serbia?

– As I already mentioned, Swiss values that we are carefully nurturing in Namics are autonomy and freedom. Employees in Namics are autonomous in how they approach their tasks and how they organize their time.

Also, a lot of attention in Namics has been paid to quality. We have very extensive recruiting process, because at Namics, we hire only the best. Every person goes through extensive screening by multiple colleagues in different company locations, both virtually and in person. Our goal is to find team members who are a long term fit and both bring value and learn from our organization.