Lithuania the top choice for Dutch IT firm Macaw
Dutch IT company Macaw was looking for a country where it could grow exponentially. It’s final decision was to establish an office in Lithuania, which was chosen ahead of four other countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Romania.
With its new office expected to open in April or May, Macaw plans to employ 20 specialists in Lithuania in the first year. This should then increase to 200 within the next five years. The company develops software which helps to integrate business information systems, such as tools for critical information collection, sales and marketing.
“According to our current plans, the office will open in April or May. Certainly, we will start our activities sooner. The Head of the office should be hired very soon, and then we will begin forming the first team,” explains Macaw’s CEO, William van der Pijl. “We are now looking for an office and we will soon make a decision as we have already visited many offices. We plan to grow, so we want to have a space which will allow us to expand in the future.”
Mr van der Pijl explains that hundreds of thousands of Euros will be invested into getting established in Lithuania. The ratio of investment to generated value should stabilise over the second year of activity, and a return is expected in the third year.
“We are used to doing much of the work ourselves. Therefore, we keep costs small and hope for rather fast success,” Mr van der Pijl says of their development strategy.
Other options considered
Macaw’s CEO says that they considered other countries for their new office – all European.
“We focused on countries near the Netherlands that were within 3 hours flight. At first we considered all the countries within this area. We thought about Italy, for example, with its good food and warm weather. However, eventually we had to consider the possibility of finding employees, potential salaries and other conditions,” Mr van der Pijl says.
The company shortlisted several countries, from which Lithuania was judged to be the most suitable one for development. Macaw’s CEO explains that issues around specific employee competences were the reason Portugal was excluded. There, the focus is “on integration of platforms, such as CRM or Sharepoint”, while Macaw needs .Net component specialists as well.
“We face challenges in finding specialists for specific platforms,” states Mr van der Pijl. “We use Sitecore CMS for the development of websites. We had heard that this programme is not very popular in Lithuania, but if we are able to find .Net specialists here, we can easily teach them how to work with Sitecore.”
According to Mr van der Pijl, there is greater competition for employees in Romania and the Czech Republic: “The best time has already passed there; prices are increasing rapidly, many companies are fishing for talents in the same place.”
Mr van der Pijl hopes that the company will succeed in finding the talent it requires in Lithuania. These specialists will be working with .Net, Cortana Intelligence Suite, Dynamics 365, Azure, Xamarin, Office 365, Sitecore and other technologies.
Work culture one of the deciding factors
Macaw’s CEO says that finding a location with a similar work culture was also an important consideration. He feels that the work cultures in Lithuania and the Netherlands are compatible.
“I will not pretend to know Lithuanians very well, but I have noticed several things that are very important to us: direct communication and expressing your opinion. This is typical of the Dutch. It may be irritating sometimes, but it is also useful. You are also self-dependent and educated,“ Mr van der Pijl added.
No boring work
In fact, the company is already well acquainted with Lithuania and its IT sector. Before meeting with VŽ (a Lithuanian business daily), representatives from Macaw had visited the country more than 10 times, analysing the market in depth. The company has also worked with Lithuanian IT enterprises.
“We have worked with Lithuanian companies, such as Baltic Amadeus. We noticed that there are highly talented people here. Therefore, it would have been a mistake to bring just the simplest tasks here. We look for challenges as a way to motivate and keep talented employees; this is part of our strategy,” Macaw’s CEO explains.
Mr van der Pijl says that the company’s employees in the Netherlands are treated in the same way. There is no distribution of work to the best and worst employees; teams are formed to carry out all aspects of a task. The Lithuania office will work in the same way.
“If we asked our employees in the Netherlands to perform only the work which requires the lowest level of competence or which is avoided by everyone, we would lose those employees. Therefore, we employ highly qualified specialists and assign different tasks to them. We want to do the same in Lithuania. The Sales Division will remain in the Netherlands, but IT solutions will be developed in both countries. The Head will choose a team to implement a task; this team can comprise, for example, 5 Lithuanian and 5 Dutch specialists,” Mr van der Pijl says.
This strategy certainly seems to be working for the company. Macaw has been named best employer in the Netherlands four times.
Growth potential in the Netherlands
Macaw’s CEO says that in terms of its customer base in the Netherlands, he sees great opportunities for development in the country. According to Mr van der Pijl, there is less competition in the service market compared to the labour market. Macaw’s customer portfolio currently includes the likes of Heineken, ING Bank and Deloitte, as well as many Dutch companies less well known internationally.
“We think that there are more opportunities for us in the service rather than the labour market. We also need to offer our solutions for the best price. We believe that, with teams in the Netherlands and Lithuania, we will be able to provide high quality services at competitive prices,” Macaw’s CEO says.
Currently, Macaw has three offices in the Netherlands: in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Apeldoorn. The company’s total revenues amounted to €25 billion last year, and it currently has 250 employees.
“We plan to increase our income by 10–15 per cent this year. In our business, when you double the number of employees, you double the turnover as well. If we employ 200 persons in Lithuania, then in the future the income will have to double too. In 2017, we will take our first steps of this five-year plan,” Macaw’s CEO says.
Source: Verslo žinios