Digital Transformation does not happen without a proper understanding of one’s needs. And S4Digital knows how important it is to listen to customers’ challenges and help them with scalable solutions that can deliver results that are measurable.
There are now 25 million people worldwide who are fluent in programming languages, or 1 in every 125 people of working age. It is estimated that this represents a shortfall of around 1.4 million professionals compared to the demand. A deficit that should increase to 4 million by 2025, being the greatest challenge of digital transformation. In this context, S4Digital has emerged as an IT “boutique” with the ability to provide high value-added consulting services in information technology. “We were challenged to find experienced resources globally in a complex and competitive market.”
S4Digital’s activities now cover the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, with a total of around 100 people (growing fast), distributed mainly in Europe, Pakistan and India,” says Filipe Marques, CRO of S4Digital. These people were chosen for their creativity, ability, and knowledge, understanding the challenges of the customers and the sectors in which S4Digital operates. “Our value proposition is primarily that ability to bring together talented people from anywhere in the world, united by the common denominator of the desire to solve and make change happen.” S4Digital provides Digital Transformation solutions and services linked to market-leading technologies in key areas of Digital Transformation. That has been the company’s focus until the end of 2021.
For 2022 it is focusing on Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Data Science. “We stand out for our commitment to excellence, attracting qualified human resources aligned with the high standards we set in the provision of our services,” stresses Filipe Marques. S4Digital’s leadership stems from providing services in TELCO Tier 1 and 2 operators globally, a challenging context with high demands for digital transformation in the last decade. “Digital Transformation doesn’t happen without a proper understanding of a company’s needs. So, we know how important it is to listen to our clients’ challenges and help them with scalable solutions that can deliver measurable results for their business.” Among its clients, S4 Digital counts with some of the leading telecom operators and technology partners who entrust it with implementing projects in Europe, the UK, the US and the Middle East.
“Our model of engagement with clients seeks to preserve quality over quantity of our services. In most cases our resources are placed in key positions within clients’ and partners’ internal teams, aiming to provide an experienced external view as trusted advisors,” explains Filipe Marques. He adds, “We are committed to helping our clients bridge the gap between strategy and execution, creating short-term value solutions aimed at rapid scalability with an eye on cybersecurity.” And because it cares about listening to the needs and opinions of its customers, S4Digital also puts itself in the position of its end customers to ensure a contemporary interpretation of emerging requirements to be able to define the most appropriate designs and solutions. “We clearly communicate our understanding and recommendations and bring full transparency to all interactions with our clients,” he explains. To that extent, the three pillars that underpin S4Digital’s values are: engaging with customers in developing solutions that meet business needs; reliable resources with the ability and courage to meet challenges with a “yes we can” mentality; and maintaining a close connection with technology partners that enables them to provide the most technically advanced solutions in support of customers’ strategic, tactical, and operational objectives.
S4 Digital is involved in digital transformation projects at Proximus, Virgin Media, Dubai, and Liberty Latin America, among others. The focus is on helping to improve the experience of the operation at clients, as well as their end customers, in a B2C or B2B context. It is also focused on bringing to customers innovative IoT SaaS products focused on customer experience. For example, through a new generation of managed services over smart Wi-Fi networks, improving visibility and remote troubleshooting capabilities and quality of service (QoS) improvements in home and enterprise networks. In addition to enhancing the end-customer experience, it also provides an opportunity for service monetisation by the operator. In other words, the synergy that is sought between the improvement of the experience of the
Recently, S4Digital closed a partnership with Siemens / Mendix that will allow the development of the Low Code area. This is a visual approach to software development that optimises the entire development process to accelerate delivery. “With Low Code, we can abstract and automate every step of the application lifecycle to streamline the deployment of a wide variety of cloud native solutions. We could perhaps call it a DYI (do it yourself) approach to software development, which allows organisations to develop solutions quickly, without compromising their performance, reliability, or effectiveness,” explains Filipe Marques. This, in turn, makes it possible to foster cooperation between areas of the company, as it enables people from other areas, not experts in programming languages, to be part of the design and configuration/development teams of the applications. “It helps mitigate the organisational disconnects that occur in large enterprises, ensuring to improve functional coherence and organisational alignment,” he assures. Hence, Gartner predicts that by 2023 more than 500 million applications and digital services will be developed and deployed on Low Code/cloud native.
S4 Digital’s partnership with Siemens represents a privileged channel in this booming market, guarantees the same responsible. “It also means an approach aligned with our vision: to deliver quickly and effectively, with an eye on the future and the ability to adjust solutions to business needs, on an ongoing basis.” On the other hand, the use of Low Code opens the door to enterprise applications connected with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics services provided by various players, such as Amazon, Microsoft, or Google. And which remain in constant evolution. This, explains the same head, “allows non-AI specialists to create AI applications from pre-defined components”.
The value proposition of low-code disruptive AI technology gives companies the flexibility and agility to adapt to the rapidly changing industry reality, accelerating the time to market of new applications, taking advantage of advanced computing capabilities, until recently out of reach of most companies, he explains. CYBER SECURITY STRATEGY Most SMEs globally have weak or non-existent processes to prevent and address cyber-attacks. Hence, S4Digital believes that defining a cybersecurity roadmap and strategy is critical for SMEs. “We seek to bring to organisations the need to create a cyber risk programme, a key area where we believe we can make a difference, supported by experts and state-of-the-art cybersecurity SaaS solutions,” Filipe Marques points out.
The recent cyber-attacks we have witnessed, including in Portugal, have contributed to a greater awareness in society and companies of the risks they run. “I have no doubt that many companies are putting the issue at the top of their priorities for the year 2022 and we already have some signs in that direction,” he says.
S4Digital is preparing to open two new offices, in Lahore (Pakistan) and Brasilia (Brazil). “We are operating in a global market, which means meeting the needs of clients in various time zones. Although our structure was created in pandemic, favouring remote work, the opening of offices in Asia and Brazil allows us to ensure critical mass adjusted to the geographical areas and schedules of our current and future clients,” explains S4Digital’s CRO. In Pakistan, they already have a team of around 20 people. With the opening of the new space at the end of March, they should increase capacity to around 80 people.
Brazil is an unexplored market for several of S4Digital’s technological partners. “Without the opportunity of direct contact, it is complicated to penetrate the Latin American market.” And there are several companies with rapid evolution in the last two years in Europe and the US, which are now in an interesting position to explore customers in Latin America and Brazil in particular. Considering all the evolution variables, for this year, S4Digital aims to grow about 50% globally and start activities in Portugal, “something that was impossible to achieve in 2021, given the international focus we were driven to by the pandemic context and emerging needs”, justifies Filipe Marques. They have been preparing since the end of 2021 and are now in a position to grow in Portugal as well.
This article is part of the Special Section “Customer Experience”, published in the March edition (no. 308) of Marketeer.