Interview by João Moreira, CEO of Abaco Consulting for Jornal Económico [PT Only]: https://jornaleconomico.sapo.pt/noticias/ceo-da-abaco-consulting-quem-sabe-interpretar-atempadamente-tem-vantagem-competitiva-no-mercado-690574
The technological consultant Abaco Consulting will reinforce its focus on nearshore services, which have gained greater preponderance with teleworking, and pay special attention to the international market, particularly in Brazil, throughout this year. In an interview with Jornal Económico, the CEO assured that he is confident that 2021 will be globally positive for the information technology (IT) and management systems market, which will have to adapt to respond to the companies’ business models, which are now “More flexible, mobile and immediate”.
“These services have gained greater relevance in this context of the pandemic and these geographies assume a relevant role as platforms of local base for the provision of these services. We are not going to wait for the end of the pandemic to chart our course. We will navigate in uncertainty, but with the path set, ”said João Moreira.
In 2019, Abaco Consulting had a record 13 million euros, 7% more than in the same period last year. How did they close the accounts in 2020?
Abaco Consulting had a positive evolution in its turnover in 2020. This growth, which was already expected, largely due to the consolidated growth of the international projects in which the company is involved, adds the launch of several initiatives of business that aims to strengthen the company’s operations in the verticals and international markets in which it operates directly, or in those to which it exports services. In 2020, we expect to achieve a global turnover of more than 14.5 million euros, which represents, compared to 2019, an increase of 11%, in line with our initial forecasts, but above our revised expectations after the pandemic. . The operating result is expected to be above 9%, in line with the previous year.
This amount is explained by what factors?
The combination of the skills of excellence in SAP technology, combined with the knowledge accumulated in relation to the verticals with which Ábaco works – textiles, clothing and footwear, engineering and construction, food, automotive, industry in a transversal way, and more recently in the sector of agribusiness in Brazil, among others.
How much did they invest in innovation and research? Will the budget be increased this year?
About 300 thousand euros. Betting on innovation is one of the main pillars, taking into account that we always try to be one step ahead of our competition in the use of SAP tools, such as the new ERP SAP S/4HANA. Abaco Portugal was the first company to have productive customers in this solution, just as Abaco Brasil was the first to have a S/4HANA reference in Latin America. The great challenge is to create an innovation ecosystem involving universities, startups and technological partners. We find today that the speed of transformation of our clients’ business, and of the market in general, is no longer in line with closed innovation models, requiring openness as a way to accelerate this extremely demanding process, and thus continue to create value for our customers. customers in implementing innovative projects. For 2021, we already have in our strategic plan the reinforcement of this investment in new areas of more than half a million through the launch of an initiative to create co-innovation projects in close collaboration with customers, technological partners, universities and the investor community.
IDC’s latest forecast points out that 65% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022, generating US $ 6.8 billion (€ 5.6 billion) in IT spending from 2020 to 2023. What is your view in terms of trends in this market?
We believe that it is a sector that is experiencing strong growth, even due to the investment that has been made in this area. There are more and more companies in this sector and many more are being formed. The fact that they have quality in their offer and speed of action has allowed many to position themselves across borders. And a clear reality is that Portuguese companies that operate in the technology area, increasingly, have a greater reputation abroad. The good side of 2020 is that it was marked by the great technological momentum we witnessed and by the greater commitment of companies to digitize their processes and, above all, by the greater recognition of this need, which allowed not only the development of new businesses, but also the modernization of almost all verticals. In this way, we believe that technology is being designed to improve the results and productivity of workers by providing real-time insights. Data is currently the key to success, as anyone who knows how to interpret it in a timely manner will certainly have a competitive advantage in the market. We also anticipate that in 2021, investment will continue to be in areas such as cloud / SaaS (Software as a Service), Artificial Intelligence and RPA (Robotic Process Automation), since these are key areas and which, this year, will certainly continue to play an important role in the growth of any business.
How do you intend to reinforce investment in human capital and the strengthening of your organizational culture?
Currently, Abaco Consulting, employs around 230 employees, spread over several offices. In 2021, Abaco will maintain the growing trend of recruitment processes in order to reinforce the development of vertical solutions by business area. This year, we aim to incorporate 40 new talents, throughout the year, for the different geographies in which we operate. However, we know that it will be difficult as we continue to lack qualified professionals in the IT sector, both in Portugal and worldwide. In this sense, we will continue to reinforce our investment in Abaco Academy with the aim of training new consultants, both to integrate our staff and for the market in general.
Among the food, textile (clothing and footwear) and automobile sectors, what is the ‘core’ of the consultant?
At the moment, the sector with the greatest preponderance in Abaco’s operation in Portugal is the food and automobile sector, representing around 40% of the total. In the case of the automotive sector, it is expected that it will continue to grow in the coming years because it is a sector that has been evolving very quickly as a result of the needs of this industry transforming, not only by electric cars, autonomous cars and other technological developments, but also concept of mobility of people in general. In the case of Brazil, the sector that continues to have more weight is the textile, clothing and footwear sector, where the knowledge and expertise we have in this area allows us to say, without arrogance, that we are one of the most competitive in the world. Portugal is internationally recognized for its skills in this sector.