The Silicon Review
“Our services portfolio is not what makes us different. What makes us different is who we are and how we provide the services to our clients.”
In-house IT help desks, while generally more familiar with the ins-and-outs of the company’s IT set-up and systems, usually require a hefty sum to start and maintain.
This would mean added costs due to hiring and training IT experts, which is a rather heavy load for small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs).
For people with small to mid-sized businesses, outsourced IT support is generally more cost-effective due to having staff trained to handle a wide variety of IT problems.
In view of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Symphony Solutions.
The company is a fast-growing international IT company which serves its clients in the field of software development, testing and BPO. Following the ‘from vendor to partner’ model, Symphony Solutions serves customers in areas such as enterprise, retail, betting and gaming industry.
The company was incorporated in 2008 and is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It has development centers in Lviv; Ukraine, Skopje; Macedonia and Rzeszow; Poland.
Theo Schnitfink, Symphony Solutions Founder/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
When Theo Schnitfink started Symphony Solutions, he had one client. He envisioned a workplace where he himself would love to work. As a Dutch native, he wanted the office to reflect the culture and style of the Dutch village called Zaanse Schans and with this in mind, the first office was built in Lviv. He is committed to an agile culture that is based on flexibility, close, personal connections, and flat management. The “same desk policy” and the “colleagues chose colleagues” hiring process gives people a sense of equality and also increases the odds that the culture will be perpetuated with like-minded co-workers. We all share his pride in the self-management system that has worked well throughout the 10-year history, especially in attracting and retaining talent. We have a very low turnover rate, owing to our scrupulous hiring process, where cultural fit is as important as individual skill.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
From our smaller perspective, the gap between the limited amount of talented resources and growing demand for IT services, deeply affects our industry, creating increases in both salaries and costs of projects. At first, people joined mainly due to our company culture, but as more interesting projects were proposed by our clients, awareness increased and recruiting became easier. By focusing on our people, we ensured quality, which resulted in us being more recognized.
Q. If you had to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
Human capital is the only meaningful asset we have. Our service list is not what makes us distinct. What makes us different is who we are and how we deliver services to our clients. Our culture is a big draw; different from competitors and for the right people.
Q. Two-way communication is the key. Employees need to feel they have an outlet for sharing their observations and ideas, is this true with your company?
Communication is of paramount importance in every relationship in every category of engagement. For that reason, we train people in ‘how to give and take feedback’ already during their first week in Symphony and we have monthly One-one-One meetings with each colleague to check how they are doing and what might need attention from either side.
Q. How well do your employees know their role in contributing to the team’s and company’s success?
In an Agile company, employees have daily stand-ups. Everybody knows their respective roles and expected results. Everyone is interconnected, and rarely is someone doing a complex task alone. The frequent meet-ups and team support help to identify issues before they turn into problems.
Q. How do you bring the best out of an employee, do you give them enough autonomy in work-related decisions?
To stay motivated and inspired in the workplace, employees should feel there are opportunities to continue to grow in their careers, not just from a promotion standpoint, but in terms of professional development. The only way to really bring out the best in people is to focus on their development and satisfaction, and empower them to take care of the business.
Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your consistent growth as an organization?
We have spoken about this in several sections. Our mission is: To make every employee feel valued. We do this by living out the values so deeply embedded in our culture, which then transfers respect onto our people. This bonds them to the company such that they in turn transfer that value and commitment to the work and clients grow and expand their business with us as a result.
Symphony Solutions does not seek new business. All of our clients come from trusted referrals, and it has been that way since day one. As such, they are already highly likely to be the right cultural fit for us. Perhaps that is why we have never lost a client.
Theo Schnitfink: A Brief Background
Before starting Symphony Solutions,
Theo Schnitfink was Vice President Europe at Cognizant Technology Solutions and Senior Vice President Europe at Cambridge Technology Partners.
Symphony Solutions is a result of Theo Schnitfink’s passion for values as drivers of job satisfaction and success.