I built a startup 35 years ago, it adapted to every change and today I work with companies like Ambev and Danone – Pequenas Empresas Grandes Negócios

I graduated computer science At the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 1986. That was a time of expansion microcomputer in the world, and this was coming to Brazil as well. Everyone wanted to get out of college and create a profile Microsoft. It was my dream to be Bill Gates. At that time, we decided to create a file Squad.

Andre-Louis Siouf, CEO of Squadra Digital (Image: Disclosure)

Andre-Louis Siouf, CEO of Squadra Digital (Image: Disclosure)

Our focus has been on developing products and tools that help businesses and developers software to do their job more quickly. We worked this way from 1987 to 1997. We produced and sold in fairs all over Brazil and advertised in specialized magazines at that time.

All this went well until the arrival of the Internet in Brazil, in 1996. At this point, products like ours began arriving from all over the world, some of which were free. We realized we would need to change the course of action. Since we have a close relationship with the developers, we have seen that there is a tendency towards a programming language, which it has been DelphiIt was created by an American company.

Squadra subsequently became a reference for Delphi in Brazil, providing training for developers. With that, we went from a software factory to a training. But in the late nineties, we witnessed some world events, such as the famous event “Millennium bug’which will change everything again.

There was great concern from all of the companies about what would happen when the system switched from 99 to 00. It was believed that everything would stop working and turn into a meltdown. This has led to an increase in demand in the field of Technique. A little earlier, a large ERP company arrived in Brazil with the intent of being an alternative to large companies: instead of adapting the existing system to the “millennium bug”, it would change to the system of this large company, which in theory was already ready for this transformation.

This movement to adopt this new ERP system, along with privatization of telephonywhich occurred in 1998, generated a huge demand for getting help from external sources of development.

In this, we were already specialists in training, software development and people management. We had a store of good developers and decided to embark on providing software development services, which is the keyword of Squadra to this day. We were changing the look and the approach, but since 1998 we’ve been working on it.

In 2002 we realized we would need to make the leap if we wanted to leave Minas Gerais and go to the rest of Brazil. We started studying models to understand what needs to be done to continue this outsourcing, but without having to move to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.

There was a model that was already adopted in the United States, which was called the Software Factory. He started from the premise that it was possible to separate the project from the development. The project will be close to the customer wherever he is and can be developed from anywhere.

Using this model, we were able to take chances in the Federal District, Mato Grosso and Rio de Janeiro, while my team was focused in Belo Horizonte. In the 2000s, however, when BH became a hub, we decided to set up some development centers distributed throughout the interiors.

Thus, we started looking for cities with highly trained workforce, but low developer uptake. In Minas Gerais, we chose Lavras, which is an excellent training center, but the city did not absorb these professionals. We set up a cell near the college to train people with our DNA and bring them to our team. With that, we’ve been able to stay competitive and keep people motivated, not having to leave their families or move, and get them into the job market.

After Lavras we went to Annapolis (GO) and Campinas (SP). This model supported our growth until 2016, more or less, when we experienced another change, but this time structural.

Development has become a strategic thing within companies, which are beginning to seek to digitize processes to create competitive advantages in the marketplace. This development should have been a co-creation of the business and technology team.

At the time, we took a project from a TV operator in São Paulo and understood that we needed to change the way we work. We realized that it was no longer possible to survey all of a client’s needs before starting a project. A lot will change along the way. If you only did what was perfect in the zero form, it wouldn’t make sense in the end.

We need to learn how to work on a solution without knowing where this path will lead. Or even change course halfway. This development model yielded an impressive result for this first customer, which generated increased revenue and after-sales gains.

We started training our team on this agile mindset And we became partners with some companies that are already recognized in the market for this. They helped us make this inner transformation.

In 2020, more digital companies like Magalu And iFoodThey were the ones who looked their best at the time pandemic. We thought this would be a horizon of opportunity for us as companies who open up the fear of economic growth and anticipate going digital.

I also had to speed up our role in this new scenario. I went to the market to look for companies that could help us and found just my numbera company from São Paulo, born 13 years ago, all digital and in the cloud.

We have learned a lot from them. The Design thinking, which has always come from marketing to IT, and now it goes with it. And it was really ingrained in the culture, it was part of them. It’s as if we found our pan lid to deliver everything “from start to finish” to the customer.

We kept the specialty of each company, but transferred the experience of the other to one company’s client base. We prepared for 2020 and put the car on track for 2021 which was a year of great results. We achieved 20% growth and we achieved it 86 million Brazilian realIt has been a very good year for both companies. We realized that in this way, I began to have a broader role within clients.

Today, we have nearly 600 employees, as well as about 100 active customers, such as ambifeAnd YogurtAnd hereAnd TimAnd ClearAnd Oh And Goaland a global partnership with Nokia for 5G Internet of Things.

We now expect growth in excess of 30% for 2022, with revenues of R$115 million. The first quarter already shows that we are in line with expectations. We thrive on growing at the base, expanding the portfolio within the clients and delivering the full journey. Our two bets this year are the health market, which is one of the most digital and generating opportunities right now, and the insurance market, where we already have successful cases.”

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