GD-TEAM is one of the leading providers of IT services and solutions not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe. Its activities are focused primarily on SAP solutions, which have a leading position almost worldwide. The company has gradually expanded its portfolio of services to include other activities, and Erik Gottschall, Director of GD-TEAM, a.s., told us more about this.
When was your company GD-TEAM founded and what is its story?
The company was established in 2005 with the ambition to operate on the German market. Only later over the years, after expanding our services to include SAP ERP and SAP CRM, did we enter Slovakia. We became an official SAP partner more than 10 years ago. We are currently the Gold Partner of this largest ERP solution provider in the world. However, our IT focus is not limited to SAP. We also provide clients with comprehensive solutions in Java and .NET languages, and we have specialists in the field of cloud solutions, solution architects and database specialists.
As they say, we don’t live by business alone, so we have been trying to be socially responsible since the beginning of our operations. We significantly support regional and municipal activities. As part of the support of the environment and its sustainability, immediately after obtaining the ISO 14001 environmental certificate, we started to make efforts towards CO2 neutrality in our company.
What exactly does your company specialize in?
At GD-TEAM we focus on the implementation of solutions in the field of utilities (energy, gas, water), industry, and the public sector. We specialize in SAP systems, which have a leading position in the world in the field of business information systems. We focus primarily on implementation, support, operational and development services in the field of ERP systems. However, the SAP world is not the only area of our services. We can also advise you on other issues regarding the setting and proper functioning of IT systems, databases, including solutions in programming languages, which I have already mentioned.
Which projects from your portfolio do you see as the most significant?
It is very difficult to choose only one or a couple. All the projects we do are unique due to their specific features and assignments. However, if we are talking about, say, the last two years, I can mention the contract for Operational Services. It is a typical German-style – it is a cooperation that combines the provision of “bodyshop” with services. It was a challenge for us to build a good team for this customer in an area that was not our domain. Now, in addition to three SAP basis specialists, we have more than 10 other specialists in non-SAP areas. We have managed to achieve a common goal with the client, i.e. the full integration of our colleagues into its internal IT Department. I would also like to highlight the S/4HANA implementation in Slovakia for such companies as Engie, Budamar, Koval or ongoing in VSE. It is a new technology that gives people the opportunity to move in a new SAP environment. At the same time, it is an ideal situation for our colleagues to gain additional experience and skills, which of course moves not only them in the market, but also the company itself. I would also like to mention incident management for E.ON in Germany. We perform it in the form of a service centre. It is a specific project where about 20 people have access to the system and when someone is not currently busy with another project, they can get involved in incident handling. It is a format that brings significant customer satisfaction and at the same time involves free human resources. However, our most prominent and most important “project” is our colleagues. We pay maximum attention to them. We try to find interesting projects for them. In this way, they improve their knowledge and experience, which enhances their prospects in the market. We invest in education, but also in building team spirit. It comes back to us in the form of high-quality work, which in turn contributes to the high level of satisfaction of our customers and very good supplier-customer relationships, often at a friendly level.
How many people or teams make up your company?
We currently have about 200 colleagues in Slovakia, Germany, Poland and Bulgaria who work in several teams divided by projects.
What do you admire most about the team of your colleagues?
Undoubtedly, it is the coherence and commitment that they put into every project and assignment. I dare say that we are an excellent team with very low turnover, which in turn is proof of well-established processes. Our company stands on 4 basic value pillars, which are professionalism, cooperation, accountability and freedom. As part of “freedom”, we offer 100% home office as one of the options. But we also offer the possibility of using the premises in Bratislava, Pezinok, Košice, Žilina, Wrocław, Poland, or Stuttgart, Germany. We do not have a limited working time, and everyone has the right to choose the style of work that suits them best, of course, provided that it is in accordance with the performance of tasks for the customer or project. I would like to highlight the fact that some of our colleagues previously worked for Austrian and German companies abroad. I mean, in order to work for advanced IT companies with new technologies and in excellent conditions, you don’t have to go abroad. We have brought foreign countries to Slovakia.
Does GD-TEAM provide any benefits to its colleagues?
Of course. We provide several benefits just like other companies. In addition to the most interesting ones associated with remuneration, we also provide the possibility of continuous education according to the preferences of a particular person, the opportunity to participate in conferences and training. We significantly support the certification of our employees. In order to build knowledge and friendly relations across the company, we meet several times a year at national and international events. In my opinion, it has a very positive impact on the working atmosphere itself. We must not forget about the support of the local or regional activities of our employees. These are of a wider nature, including e.g. philanthropic activities, the environment or support for community activities. We support them regularly on a quarterly basis based on submitted projects and after the vote of our colleagues. However, what I value the most and emphasize in interviews is the pleasant working atmosphere. We consciously create it together, not only among our colleagues in the company, but also with our customers, i.e. during the work. We help build a world where humans and technology naturally complement, all this in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.
How do you see the future in the services you provide?
Our goal is to build a strong international IT company with top people, which will provide full-service solutions for technological projects from their specification and management to implementation and support in common practice. Our goal is definitely to be a high-quality and respected partner for the Central European region and surrounding countries with a high degree of flexibility for customers. One of our long-term goals is to create such a working environment and working conditions that people choose exactly our company from the offer on the market. To be interested not only in working with us, but in taking it more than an opportunity to make progress, educate and grow in a quality team and a pleasant international atmosphere. We therefore create a working environment without bigoted rules and with a high degree of flexibility.
As for the business in which we operate, there is and will be an emphasis on automation and robotics. All this can only be done if IT systems are well prepared. And for that, it is necessary to have a lot of high-quality data that we can collect. Just over 3% of data collected are actually used for process and business management. That is why I think that digitisation or transfer of manual activities into the digital world will accompany us for years to decades to come. For this reason, the need for people in the IT sector will grow not only in terms of volume but also quality. If a client wishes to have a competitive advantage over the others, it is necessary to use top-quality systems built on fast databases. Here, SAP has an edge over the competition in the form of S/4HANA, which can speed up data processing up to 100 times compared to other systems.
How did the pandemic affect the functioning of the company?
Naturally, the pandemic affected us as much as society as a whole. Many of us had a hard time personally, but at every moment we tried to help each other. As for the provision of our services, GD-TEAM already operated as a “nearshore” at a distance before the pandemic, so we were partially prepared for that. So we can say that in terms of work, our work culture remained almost unchanged, we just moved more into the home environment.
Does your company cooperate with any university in Košice?
Not yet, but in the long run it is one of our priorities. We are happy to support anyone who is interested in learning to work with technologies that are used worldwide in almost all areas of life. In addition, we are happy to welcome them in our team and provide space and opportunities for them to become full members of our team.
What socially responsible activities do you do?
As I have mentioned earlier, on a quarterly basis we support the three projects that receive the largest number of votes from our colleagues. These are mostly activities in which they are directly or indirectly involved. We also support several projects in the field of culture, athletes and sports clubs, authors who have something to say in society and, last but not least, people with disabilities. We also direct our support to children and young people, because we are convinced that those who spend their childhood in nature, on the playground, in the theatre, or in the studio, are well-placed to bring benefits for the society at large.
Why did you decide to become a member of Košice IT Valley and what purpose do you see in it?
Košice IT Valley is an organization operating in eastern Slovakia and, frankly, we only knew until a certain year that this cluster was there. As we gradually expanded our operations from Bratislava to Košice from 2012 – 2013, we decided to engage in Košice IT Valley in order to meet people, new companies and, I believe, to do our part for the development of the region with our thoughts and ideas. I would like to point out that it is very important that organizations such as Košice IT Valley also support regional growth in cooperation with government’s activities. This offers greater potential for the development of the location and for future generations it creates the possibility of allocating a completely new industry. If we talk about industrial parks as such today, then in the next decade, Košice could become an IT industrial workshop, and it is just IT Valley that can play a key role in this. Abroad, such associations are respected, representing the consolidated voice of their members. They often cooperate with regional government institutions, e.g. in the field of education, defining the development priorities of the region or other public benefit topics. Connecting with IT Valley is one of the ways for us to get to know the regional market and at the same time bring our experience to communication with local institutions or universities.
How do you see the Košice Region or the Košice Region in terms of IT area?
Undoubtedly, there are many IT professionals who have potential for growth.