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US cloud-computing developer Virtustream to expand its Lithuanian operations

April 01, 2015

Virtustream, the US cloud-computing company, is planning to expand its operations in Kaunas, Lithuania, by recruiting 30 new IT specialists. Staff at the Kaunas office, which was established two years ago, create and develop software for Virtustream’s xStream cloud-computing management platform. Total investment in the office currently amounts to 5.67 million euros.

Virtustream, founded in the USA in 2009, develops business-class software and provides cloud-computing services. Its position as one of the leading global providers of cloud-computing solutions was strengthened recently by a new contract with one of the world’s largest drinks companies, whose name Virtustream cannot reveal due to a confidentiality agreement. The company also counts Glaxo SmithKline, Kawasaki, Goodyear Veaynce, Intel, Barclays, Best Buy, Morris Broadband, the UOL group of companies, Allied Irish Bank, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Yum Restaurants among its customers. The US technology giant IBM has chosen Virtustream as their international supplier of cloud computing technologies.

[quote text=”Somebody from the US office said – try looking into the business expansion opportunities in Lithuania. So we tried. The state enterprise Invest Lithuania helped us, and we were pleasantly surprised by the highly qualified specialists we found, their attitude to work and the opportunities Lithuania offered ” name_surname=”Van Williams” description=”Chief Information Officer of Virtustream”]

 An increasing number of female IT specialists

Virtustream’s Kaunas office currently has 40 IT specialists, who work as programmers, testers and system administrators. Its expansion plans for the unit mean staff numbers will rise to 70. Currently, the majority of employees are men, but Virtustream’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Van Williams explained that this is likely to change with the influx of new employees. “The number of “technical” women is increasing. This is good for the technology business, because women often view problems from a different perspective to men and offer valuable suggestions for the resolution of problems”.

This trend has been noted across Virtustream’s global operations. In total, the company employs 350 people. The company has offices in Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, London, Geneva and Dubai, as well as software development centres in Kaunas (Santaka Valley) and Pune, India. Its data centres are located in the USA and Europe. In Latin America, the near East and Asia, Virtustream cooperates with local partners.

A growing role for the Kaunas office

According to Mr Williams, at present their company is the largest tenant of the Santaka Valley premises, a science and technology research hub coordinated by Kaunas University of Technology and home to a number of high-tech businesses. But the growing importance of xStream to the company means further expansion is already in the pipeline. “So far we still have several positions available, and we are searching for the necessary employees, but we also plan to expand and to create 30 more new jobs, seeing as there is a need to increase the xStream development team. We are also encouraging our offices in America to start cooperating with the division in Kaunas and to look here for the specialists they need, i.e. to outsource a number of tasks to Kaunas and to cooperate in product development and service provision”, said Mr Williams.

Every year, the company organises cloud-computing conferences in various countries, which offer an opportunity to present innovations in the market and meet customers. Earlier this month, one such conference was held in Santaka Valley, and was attended by the Virtustream management team.

One of the managers recalled their main reasons for choosing Lithuania as the location for  their new division in 2013. “You know, somebody from the US office said – try looking into the business expansion opportunities in Lithuania. The reason was simple; he had positive experiences of cooperating with Lithuanians. So we tried. The state enterprise Invest Lithuania helped us, and we were pleasantly surprised by the highly qualified specialists we found, their attitude to work and the opportunities Lithuania offered for creating one of our key products – xStream software.”

Competitive Salaries the best motivation for staff

They looked at both Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, and Kaunas as possible locations for the division. However, according to Mr Williams, competition for IT specialists was less intense in Kaunas when they were recruiting. “Now the competition in Kaunas is much more intense than back then in 2013, when we were starting out”, explained the CIO of Virtustream.

When Virtustream first arrived in Kaunas, it had to lease rather more cramped premises than their current spacious offices in Santaka Valley. How did they manage to motivate new employees then? “Back then and now we motivate specialists by offering them competitive salaries and constantly raising them. To retain good specialists, we have to increase salaries”, stated Mr Williams.

From time to time, specialists from their Kaunas division were hired by other technology companies. “But they returned! When we talked to them later about what made them come back, they replied that a healthy working atmosphere was one of the key factors. I would also love working in Santaka Valley – the great working conditions and the atmosphere of the science and business centre has a very positive effect on your frame of mind”.

Being adaptable is the key to success

Mr Williams also highlighted the flexibility employees on both sides of the Atlantic have to have in order to get the best out of Virtustream’s international operations. Virtustream employees have to get used to its specific work schedule. Sometimes employees have to work weekends, working hours are not strictly defined and they should always have their laptops with them so that they can work as and when it is required.

Mr Williams explains, we simply tell the employees that they do not have to be in the office at a specific hour. If you are not in the office at that time, we can stay in contact via the laptop, wherever you are. A modern employee should be flexible. It is routine in America to have to work at weekends or from home. Specialists in Kaunas also work according to a similar principle, especially when deadlines are imminent. Then, there are also continental differences. That is why we, staff in the US offices, accommodate the people in Kaunas by being at our computers early in the morning to discuss business. Likewise, the staff in Kaunas accommodate us and, if required, stay at work later to resolve a problem”, said Mr Williams.

Read full article in Lithuanian at VZ.lt.

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