The past year has brought new challenges to almost every area of busines operation. The directions experienced at Softline were summarized by Bálint Takács, Senior Account Manager in Hungary, who, in addition to the past, also reported on the expected trends in 2021.
What is your role at Softline?
As a member of the Hungarian team, I am responsible for the public sector, including large state-owned companies and actors in the public administration sector. This means practically daily contact over the entire sales cycle, and I also constantly monitor the implementation phase of the project. I think it is important to note that, at Softline, we are talking about a client contact function in a non-traditional sense, because, in addition to sales, the specific technological solutions we propose must also be understood at a high level. You need to be up-to-date on each service, which in my case typically means Microsoft solutions.
How do you see the perception of IT having changed over the past year?
Based on what our customers have said and the experience gained during the implementation phase, we see that employee confidence in IT solutions has typically increased. They believe and experience for themselves that IT can provide a real solution to a given problem, as has happened with the widespread introduction of telework. In general, therefore, there is confidence in the IT field and its strategic role is becoming increasingly apparent in the marketplace.
What challenges did your customers face in 2020?
The pandemic has also accelerated the digital transformation for our customers. With the help of our IT experts, we developed real, usable solutions in a relatively short time, which we then transposed into practice. As with our clients, employee safety comes first, so we have placed the greatest emphasis on finding and providing them with all the tools needed to work safely. Accordingly, the best-selling services were Microsoft Teams, the introduction of Exchange Online, multi-factor authentication, and the development of policies for conditional access and application security.
What changes are expected in the area of teleworking?
I see that, in terms of the way we work, a full return to a pre-COVID-19 status cannot be expected. In many cases, employees have been shown to be able to perform their duties as effectively from a remote site as in the office. With a little attention, working from home does not upset the work-life balance, and it can even become more balanced, which may ultimately increase employee productivity. However, it was necessary to adapt extremely quickly to the changed situation and, in many cases, customers did not have adequate resources to follow up and resolve the changes. In such situations, we support them in change management, in a technical and a methodological sense.
What do you expect from the future?
I believe that the importance of cloud-based solutions will continue to grow in the near future. By this, I don’t just mean that more and more companies will use cloud-based services, but that each customer will use more and more services, and all this from several different cloud providers rather than just from one. In my opinion, the demand for a multi-vendor cloud environment is growing exponentially.
As an Account Manager, how do you stay up to date with industry news?
The basis of continuous development is training within Softline. New features and solutions are emerging at an extremely rapid pace regarding the services and products provided by Microsoft. The expansion of knowledge related to these has been continuously supported by Softline from the very beginning, since, as I mentioned, sales do not only mean liaising with us - a thorough knowledge of the services is required to serve our customers to a high standard. I typically find out about industry news from social media, which primarily means LinkedIn.
Your working days are undoubtedly determined by the IT industry. How do you relax?
In my spare time, my family is the main focus. We spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, walking. I also love listening to music and enjoy enriching my vinyl record collection.
We commissioned several studies to look at the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business environment, the related trends, and align the approach to our strategy, management and investment. One of the main conclusions of this year is that automation and digital transformation through technology can drive business forward in the new reality.
Softline’s present and future is explained by Zoltán Urbán, the company’s regional business development and sales manager, who also addresses cloud evolution and the significance of knowledge transfer.