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In a few years we are going to employ 1000 people in Lublin

Bartosz Łopiński - CEO at Billennium, company from IT sector, in the interview on reasons why Lublin became a global Service Delivery Centre and also why unique cooperation in the framework of Lublin IT Upland ecosystem creates excellent conditions for the development of IT companies in the city.

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Billennium has been running the business in Lublin for almost eight years, but the company's history is slightly longer.

That's right. The company was founded in Warsaw in 2003. This year we are celebrating our 15th anniversary, and what's the most important - we have things to celebrate. We are a global enterprise, currently having eight locations worldwide: six in Poland and two in Asia - in India and Malaysia, as well as the branch in the USA. It enables us to provide services all over the world in line with the strategy "Follow the Sun" - we support our clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our portfolio includes well-known brands such as ROCHE or ABB. Most importantly, the company's prospects for development are very good, we are not going to rest on our laurels.

Your company deals with i.a. IT outsourcing. What does it exactly mean?

Current economy requires specialisation to achieve success. Big companies which want to develop globally, focus on key areas of their activity, whereas other areas are left to be handled by experts in a particular field. We are such experts in scope of services, maintenance and IT applications, being able to manage the software of our clients regardless of their location without time limits, 24/7. We assist the whole software's life-cycle - from analysis, defining its requirements and field to production process, all the way to its maintenance, change management and ensuring its quality in daily functioning. We use different programming languages (e.g. NET) and technologies (e.g. SharePoint), we also create integration platforms allowing for comprehensive management of the whole supply chain. Besides, our offer includes services related to cloud-based platforms. All these efforts are aimed at adjusting better to the needs of our clients.

What clients use Billennium's services?

We cooperate with companies from different branches and of different sizes. I have already mentioned the pharmaceutical company ROCHE and a global leader in power generation and automation ABB, but we have worked with over 100 companies form Poland and abroad, including PLL LOT, Orange or Sage. The majority of our clients comes from Poland, Europe and the USA.
A lot of our partners operate globally, that's why round-the-clock service is so important to them. It's possible thanks to our international branches and proper work organisation in Polish offices. What's interesting, the majority of Billennium's global operations is managed from Lublin.

Does this mean that Lublin is currently the most important branch of the company?

For sure, it's the biggest Billennium's office. It employs most delivery managers and portfolio managers responsible for particular clients from all over the world. As a company we are very proud of it. Lublin team can also boast that its contribution to the whole organisation's development is so significant. The people here have a sense of urban pride.

How did it happen that Billennium set up its branch in Lublin?

This story is very interesting. Our company had been operating on the market for a few years and we started to think about further development and look for a location for the second delivery centre in Poland. At that time many of our very talented employees in Warsaw came from Lublin and on their initiative we chose Lublin. I have to stress here that in IT sector human capital is almost the entire capital - we don't gather resources, equipment, real estates. It's the knowledge and engagement of the employees creating the company that determine success or failure. Moreover, we noticed that in smaller locations such as Lublin, Olsztyn or Łódź – employees are more committed to their regions and thus more determined to prove their professional value. Having confidence in our employees' suggestions turned out to be the bull's eye because Lublin was quick to prove its advantage. We started with a few people and currently we are employing over three hundred. Last year we moved to the new office in Gęsia Str. in order to provide our team with the best working conditions. The company is strongly embedded in the city. Nowadays we have perfect conditions to work and develop further.

Why does Lublin allow for such a rapid business growth?

Lublin is an example of a place where the local government, universities and entrepreneurs perfectly collaborate in the framework of Lublin IT Upland ecosystem. The environment created here thanks to the synergy provides added value for business, people and the city itself. That's why Billennium in Lublin - as well as Lublin - develop at an extraordinary pace. A huge advantage of Lublin and a reason of its success are Lublin’s universities we eagerly cooperate with in different forms. Their graduates account for a huge part of our team. I had the opportunity to take part in business breakfasts where I learnt how efficient are the universities in defending themselves against the natural outflow of students in less and less populous grade levels and how they succeed in attracting more and more international students. I'm impressed that currently Lublin is the most internationalised academic city in Poland.

Could we say then that it is easy to run IT business in Lublin?

I would not say about any place in Poland that life there is easy for the companies from the sector. Poland, along with India, is becoming a global leader in IT services. It causes problems related to the access to qualified employees. It affects us all over the world - both in Poland as well as in Malaysia. It's time of global digital transformation. Contrary to appearances, despite many modern technologies automising processes (e.g. Internet bots, artificial intelligence) IT sector needs more and more staff. A lot of activities don't demand employing people but the technology creates further, entirely new workplaces and this in turn stimulates new technology. It requires high qualifications and consequently the salaries are also high and are still growing. The problems of Polish labour market concern also Lublin but thanks to cooperation with the universities and great HR team that we managed to build here in Lublin, we are doing well in spite of tough conditions. Commitment is a key success factor. Thus Lublin is a place where thanks to talented and committed employees and unique IT ecosystem we established in a very short period of time the largest Billennium branch in the world.

In that case are there still perspectives for further development?

Lublin office and the entire Billennium still have significant opportunities of development. Nowadays the company year by year experiences a double-digit growth - whereas IT services sector each year grows by 20%. We're prepared to even more rapid growth. We have recently invested in offices, new solutions an competences. Since Lublin is a place which in a natural way grows organically, I wouldn't be surprised at all if an a few years, just Lublin branch of Billennium employed 1,000 employees.

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