Interview by João Moreira, CEO of Ábaco Consulting, for Link to Leaders: [PT Only] https://linktoleaders.com/o-sucesso-na-superacao-desta-crise-so-pode-ser-coletivo-abaco-joao-moreira/
Abaco’s CEO believes that what makes good leadership “is the transparent and true way we communicate, under any circumstances”. Furthermore, success in overcoming this crisis can only be collective, said João Moreira in an interview with Link To Leaders.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Porto, Abaco Consulting focuses its business on three key areas: implementation and maintenance of SAP information systems and product development. Currently, it has developed more than 600 projects, both nationally and internationally, with the national operation representing about 70% of the turnover.
At this moment, João Moreira, CEO of Abaco Consulting, recognizes that the future is a great unknown and a great challenge, but believes in the quick adaptability of his team. The last quarter of the year will already be closer to normal, and it is expected to reinforce hiring by preparing the year 2021.
João Moreira also recalls that the current market is extremely competitive, that organizations change at a breakneck pace, and that it is important that they are able to keep up with constant market trends and adapt as quickly as possible.
As specialists in business management programs, what are the main challenges that Ábaco faced in recent months, internally and in responding to the “new” needs of clients?
We can consider that there were and still are some of the challenges that we face. Ábaco, due to the services it provides, has always had teams working in the office remotely connected to some of its customers, as well as some employees already working from home, in support activities in a nearshore model. Applying this model to the entire organization quickly and without preparation, although we are used to living with change processes, it was necessary to overcome some difficulties created by this emergency situation. For example, in order to support some employees who were at home with their dependent children, it was necessary to provide some portable computers for children to be able to continue taking classes remotely.
On the other hand, we also felt the need to increase communication between the teams: to find work methodologies that would help in coordination, visibility and support in the development of each other’s tasks. Still internally, knowing that this is an emergency situation, looking for the dematerialization of all processes in the company where possible, was another challenge that we are trying to overcome, but for which the collaboration of customers and partners is essential (100% electronic invoicing, 100% digital financial flows, 100% digitalization of expenses, etc.).
So there were several challenges…
Another challenge was being able, in the midst of uncertainty, to point the way. To maintain tranquility and pass confidence. And teach that. What do we know and what do we not know? What can or cannot we control? Gather information, seek to share with other people and other sectors, data, points of view, ideas, actions, and put them into practice with our people.
On the other hand, it was and remains essential to make an extra effort to get closer to people. Communicate a lot more. Give and collect more context about each one. Understand each person’s situation and adapt actions and communication to their needs. Develop more actions to foster contact, whether in a professional context or for socializing.
With regard to customers, we always try to monitor our customers’ processes, as well as respond to their needs. There are challenges, of course, before we had consultants who were allocated to clients and were based in their offices and, currently, this represents a challenge in itself, because we have all employees working remotely.
Quais os ingredientes para uma boa estratégia de recuperação das organizações/empresas agora que começam a retomar a atividade depois da fase de confinamento e de teletrabalho?
Nothing will be as before and I think the main changes will be in the way companies will relate. I think we have all realized that we are equally efficient in remote mode. The fact that there is less travel (less travel time) will allow an increase in daily interactions and the pace at which we make (or receive) decisions will accelerate. I expect some pressure on delivery capacity and the need for tools to keep up with this pace.
In the same vein, I think that teleworking will increase considerably and we will see a decrease in the useful work space in the offices. Security in networks and applications becomes a concern, as well as its ability to manage the traffic of large amounts of information. The tools for monitoring and monitoring health and safety at work will definitely get on the agenda as it is necessary to react quickly if a similar situation occurs.
However, I think the main change is related to our reach at the market level. The decentralized model of working and negotiating will allow our market to become effectively global, since we will do business equally with a Portuguese customer or with a customer anywhere in the world, once the digital transformation has arrived everyone at the same time.
Qual a vossa proposta de valor para as empresas?
Ábaco Consulting has a different positioning based on three vectors: vertical market positioning, technological innovation and human capital. Vertical positioning because the offer is focused on five business sectors where we have in-depth knowledge of business processes, bringing added value in relation to a traditional software integrator, focused only on technology. Basically, we managed to reduce the knowledge gap between the end customer and the implementing company, resulting in a risk reduction, relevant for both parties.
Technological innovation, because we always try to be one step ahead in the use of SAP tools, such as, for example, the new ERP SAP S/HANA. Ábaco Portugal was the first company to have productive customers in this solution, just as Ábaco Brasil was the first to have a SAP S/4HANA reference in Latin America.
Human capital, being the most subjective differentiator, is equally unique in the sense that it can hardly be replicated. The differentiation lies in the organization’s culture, its values and the way it interacts with its customers, employees and partners.
What makes good leadership at this stage?
I believe that what makes a good leadership is the transparent and true way we communicate, in any circumstance. At this stage in particular it is important to remain calm and confident in the future. It is equally important to point out a path, mobilize, motivate and materialize in actions every step we take to follow that path. At this stage, more than reinventing ourselves, we have to rediscover ourselves and find new ways to create value for customers, partners and employees.
What should the manager focus on? Human resources, customers …
Both. The presence, the communication. I believe that the most important thing remains communication with employees, customers and partners. At this time, it is important to continue to give primacy to internal communication and to send messages that encourage tranquility and respect for the imposed rules. Now, more than ever, it is important to demonstrate to employees that, for us, the most important thing is people and their well-being. It is equally important that between customer and supplier, partner and competitor, bonds of solidarity are established instead of each looking for individual survival strategies. Success in overcoming this crisis can only be collective.
What is the weight of internationalization in your business?
Currently, we have already developed more than 600 projects, both nationally and internationally, and the results obtained convey our solid and consistent performance, corroborating the success of the strategy of positioning at the technological forefront, betting on internationalization and strengthening of organizational culture . The operation at the national level represents about 70% of the turnover, while at the international level it represents more than 30%.
What impact does innovation have on your service / product offering? Where does your Innovation Labs or Edge Solutions come in here?
From the perspective of services, they are innovative in that the depth of knowledge in the sectors in which we specialize, combined with the different experiences we have accumulated, allow us to create solutions that combine what is best done in each sector. In other words, we continuously perform benchmarks.
From the perspective of products, we continue to invest in the production of services based on the experience of vertical sectors of specialization combined with technological innovations that the market offers. An example of this is Canary. It is innovative in that, as a management and control system designed for environments that, due to their nature, pose risks to people and goods, the solution uses wearables from the consumer market and industrial sensors in order to create a holistic view of what is happening in allowing real-time responses to incidents.
To continue reading this interview, please access the following link: https://linktoleaders.com/o-sucesso-na-superacao-desta-crise-so-pode-ser-coletivo-abaco-joao-moreira/