Espeo Software is Polish based software development company, building ERP solutions, web and mobile apps as well as complex R&D projects. It also specializes in workflow management systems. They have developed for Oracle and leading digital agencies like Citat” and Sanoma. The company is employing up to 50 engineers. Here is our traditional set of questions:
What’s your secret sauce? What’s that magic drink? 🙂
The recipe is not so simple, because its components are practically impossible to find. We start from combining different technologies with Finnish roots, Polish talent and business approach. We add some important spices to improve the taste: half a teaspoon of excellence, a pinch of cooperation and a bit of agility, sprinkle with a hint of responsibility and powder with finely ground transparency . Will you agree, it sounds exceptionally? This drink is served to our customers.
Why did you choose to work with technologies like php, java, drupal, angular and others? What’s the future of these technologies?
The technologies that our teams are using currently are based on business needs. As we cooperate with various clients those platforms allow us to work in volatile environments where speed and innovation is important (like startups) as well as enterprises that care about stability and security.
That said I must admit that we are not tied forever to those technologies. We believe that being a software house we must constantly change, innovate and learn, being always one step ahead to offer best solutions. Programming languages or frameworks we use today might be soon obsolete. And that’s why our teams consist of T-shaped talented software developers with wide range of skills who are always able to propose something new and advise our clients how to effectively use technology.
Everybody is talking about success cases. Yes, we will mention them too. But what about the failures? In reality, experienced people understand that you always make bigger or smaller mistakes when you actually do things. What were the biggest ones for you? What did you learn from them?
After we founded company one of the dreams was to influence growth of Poland with technology and innovation. That’s why we decided to participate in public tenders with a vision to build great solutions that society and public institutions will be using. After winning couple of tenders the first unpleasant surprise was that public customers are not trying to build software that solves important problems but just to spend money and be very exact with the documentation written beforehand. In the end we created a good quality software, matching the requirements but that no one is using and later decided not to be active in public area any more. Our failure there was that after all we did not manage to make important impact on our society. We learned that good will is sometimes not enough and that we want to work with clients who care and who are our partners throughout our cooperation.
Just to be fair and represent both sides of the coin: what are your success cases? What are the projects you are mostly proud of?
This question has two answers – our developers will recall the most demanding case that allows them to pursue and broaden their knowledge, from a business point of view, we should mention the one that helped develop throughout the company, which brought the greatest benefits. In our case it is always so that we try to provide projects with the appropriate level of difficulty, in other words unique functionality. On the other hand, the economic factor is for us as important. But we are proud the most of the projects, through which customers choose to continue to work with us. Over 80% of customers choose to entrust us with the expansion or maintenance of their technology solutions, and customers such as eg. the Finnish media company Sanoma has been with us almost from the beginning of our existence which is already more than 7 years.
What is the hardest at your job? How do you cope with that?
The key to the success of software house in our business is the people. The greatest difficulty is to obtain a really skilled and talented developers and provide them with projects that will give them constant development, which is the basis for the stability of cooperation. It seems to me that one of the hardest things is to enter into a business customer who comes to us. Because our work is not just about providing software but listening to the needs of both the client and the target audience and a summary of the available solutions of global competition with actual technological capabilities. The key to success is the people – the developers who do not only focus on code lines, but strive for real understanding of the facing challenges.
What type of criteria would you recommend for a customer to assess a potential software service provider?
In my opinion, the key to successful cooperation of software developers with customer is the product of three factors:
– Cooperation method – understood as a combination of agile methodologies, understanding customer needs and transparency in relations
– Talented developers – visible in ambitious and bold ideas and technological versatility
– Guarantee – the assurance that if the customer decides to work with software service provider, he may resign without penalty if he is not satisfied with cooperation.
What are the biggest don’ts for a client when it comes down to working with a provider? What would you recommend to them?
Dear customer! – if you decide to work which is based on agile methodologies, let your developers to work according to their rules. If you have an idea for a new functionality of the product, together with the developers plan the best time to introduce them. Remember that we just do everything we can to make your product the best. It’s also a measure of our success. Do not reject ideas that you hear from us immediately – our aim is to build your competitive advantage – not always things which seems expensive and unnecessary should be rejected. We are looking for solutions that give a valid answer to the needs of your customers. Trust us.
What’s your funniest story in software development? Did you have miscommunications due to cultural or language differences?
Few years ago we were chosen to participate in creation of a nation wide and very complex system for Polish Police. As there was no one particular person on customer’s side in the role of product owner, a group of around 30 common policemen from different parts of Poland where chosen to talk to us during several requirements definition session. On the other side we were a group of developers, designers and database engineers talking in almost a completely different language. As a police group was supposed to accept unanimously each document we were creating that lead to many funny situations like trying to explain what is a database schema and what is NULL value in SQL. That experience taught us that diversity is not only a geographical term and you should always understand your client’s background and motives before you start working with him.
What would you say are the biggest trends in software development nowadays?
Many fascinating ideas are emerging in the technology. We have seen the shift from desktop to mobile, and just recently to wearable, but behind those clearly visible changes there are a lot of small revolutions in progress. Developers this year tend to focus on microservices based architectures that let them have their applications composed using many languages and frameworks. Big data is now an estabilished term and new tools for data scientists and programmers are being released every day. On the browser side (the biggest platform in the world) we look forward to drop old hacks and polyfills in favour of HTTP2.0 and WebComponents.
What’s your dream destination or activity for a vacation?
Working in a tech company I’m most of the time surrounded by different gadgets and always connected to internet. That’s why during holidays I prefer to reset and disconnect completely, travelling to distant destinations, enjoying nature and different cultures. For my next trip I’d love to go to some deserted island in the middle of the ocean, with no internet access and staying in a hut next to the beach.
The end of the interview
Once again we say thank you to Paweł Rogowicz. Bear in mind, Espeo Software when you need reliable scala, php (symfony) and Java experts. It’s a solid software development and outsourcing partner. It’s a company focusing on business and value added solutions, working in real life environment.