We are delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with Tom De Vos, Director European Delivery Center Cegeka, as he shares insights into Cegeka's strategic expansion into Greece in an engaging conversation with Business News Greece. Tom provides valuable insights into the criteria that guided this decision and the compelling advantages Greece holds for tech companies.
What were the criteria to choose Greece as a new location for Cegeka’s expansion? Why should a Tech Company from Belgium invest in our country?
IT talent in Greece: Greece has a strong pool of IT talent, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. The country's universities offer a high level of education in these fields, producing skilled graduates who can contribute to the technology industry.
IT spots in major cities: Greece has prominent IT spots in cities like Athens, Thessaloniki, … These locations often have established technology ecosystems, including a concentration of IT companies, startups, research institutions, and innovation hubs. Such clusters facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities.
Greece has a relatively young population, which can be advantageous for tech companies seeking to tap into a dynamic and innovative workforce. The younger generation is often more tech-savvy and open to exploring opportunities in the IT sector.
Optimistic business climate: In recent years, Greece has made significant strides in improving its business climate. The efforts to create a more favorable environment for businesses have resulted in increased optimism among investors and a perception that it is easier to do business in Greece.
For a tech company from Belgium, investing in Greece can provide several advantages. These include access to a talented IT workforce, potential collaborations with Greek universities and research institutions, opportunities to tap into local technology ecosystems, and the ability to participate in a growing and dynamic market. Additionally, the positive business climate in Greece creates an environment conducive to business growth and development.
What is your opinion regarding the technological development of Greece in recent years?
Overall, the technological development in Greece has been notable, with advancements in digitalization, a rapid growth phase (both in the private and public sector), a positive climate for technology, and the reverse brain drain phenomenon. These factors collectively indicate that Greece is on an upward trajectory in terms of technological progress, positioning itself as an attractive destination for tech investments and paving the way for further innovation and growth.
Where is Cegeka aiming to make Greece another station of its expansion in Europe?
Cegeka is aiming to establish a European Delivery Center in Greece as part of its expansion plans. The company's ambition is to grow the center to accommodate 300 employees within a span of three years. This indicates a long-term commitment to establishing a strong presence in Greece and leveraging the local talent pool and resources.
Once the Delivery Center is successfully set up and operational, Cegeka intends to explore the market further for additional business opportunities in Greece. This suggests that the company sees potential in the Greek market beyond the establishment of the Delivery Center.
By expanding its operations in Greece, Cegeka aims to tap into the country's technological development, the availability of skilled IT talent, and the positive business climate.
How many employees does the company have in Greece and what are the expectations for the coming years?
Currently, Cegeka is in the initial stages of deploying its office in Greece. However, the company's goal and expectation for the coming years is to build a skilled IT team of 300 employees within a span of three years.
This indicates a significant growth plan for Cegeka in Greece, highlighting the company's commitment to establishing a substantial presence and leveraging the local talent pool. By aiming to scale up to 300 employees within three years, Cegeka aims to create a strong and capable team to support its operations and deliver quality services to clients.
Did the recent developments of Data Centers in our country by tech giants (Microsoft, Google, etc.), play a role in Cegeka’s decision?
While the recent developments of data centers in Greece by tech giants like Microsoft and Google are not the reason for Cegeka's decision to invest in Greece, it can certainly serve as a validation and reinforcement of the country's potential as a favorable location for tech companies. It signifies that the decision to invest in Greece aligns with the larger trends and opportunities within the sector. While the specific reasons behind Cegeka's decision are multi-faceted, the presence of tech giants' in Greece can certainly contribute to the overall positive perception and confidence in the country's tech ecosystem.
Having a wide portfolio of tech services, which do you think will be the most popular service in Greece?
Given Cegeka's establishment of a delivery center in Greece focusing on managed services for the digital workplace, cybersecurity, and cloud, it is challenging to predict the most popular service. However, based on current trends, cloud services are in high demand as organizations seek scalability and cost-efficiency. Cybersecurity is also crucial due to increasing threats, and digital workplace solutions are sought after for remote work. Moreover, software development along with everything that concerns data and AI will also take center stage Cegeka's diverse portfolio enables them to meet a wide range of client needs and effectively adapt to the evolving tech landscape in Greece.
Your portfolio includes 5G services, a sector already under development in Greece. Are you interested in this particular topic? Are you planning to enter in some tenders maybe?
Cegeka's current focus regarding 5G services lies in Belgium, where we have purchased 5G spectrum and are actively involved in the rollout of a mobile connectivity network through our subsidiary, Citymesh. At present, there are no specific plans to expand the 5G services to Greece. However, Cegeka remains open to the possibility and will assess the feasibility if an opportunity arises in the future. We will consider exploring such opportunities if they align with their strategic objectives and business plans.
What are your next steps in Greece but also in the rest of Europe in the near future?
Cegeka's next steps in Greece involve investing in talent and building a skilled IT team to establish a strong presence in the country. By focusing on talent acquisition and positioning ourselves as a prominent player in the ICT industry, we aim to drive growth and establish a significant presence both in Greece and throughout Europe in the near future. Our aim is to become a leading ICT company in Europe.
You have collaborated on various projects with Greek tech companies, such as OTE. What is your opinion about the level of Greek Tech companies?
We have collaborated with Greek tech companies, including OTE, on projects for European institutions. We have a very positive opinion regarding the level of Greek tech companies based on their collaboration and experience. We experience a high level of IT knowledge among Greek tech companies, indicating the presence of skilled professionals in the industry. Additionally, we have observed a real cultural fit between our own team and our Greek counterparts, which results in a harmonious working relationship. These factors collectively contribute to Cegeka's positive view of Greek tech companies, reflecting a recognition of their capabilities and expertise.
Is there a profit-turnover target for the first three years of operation in Greece?
Our primary focus in the first three years of operation in Greece is twofold. Firstly, we are dedicated to developing a highly skilled IT team for our Delivery Center, with a strong emphasis on actively searching for top IT talent. Our aim is to build a talented workforce that will serve as the foundation of our operations.
Once our team is established, we will start to explore the possibilities of developing a profit center.
Where the offices will be located in Athens and when are they going to be officially open?
Cegeka's offices in Athens are planned to be officially open by the end of the year. Although the company will be in business from June 1st, we are still in the process of exploring suitable locations within Athens to house our office. In our search for an office, Cegeka considers factors such as the availability of public transportation and the presence of an IT ecosystem. The aim is to find a suitable office space that meets our requirements and aligns with our operational needs by the end of the year.