As Spyrosoft Group’s German entity approaches another anniversary, Ulf Magnus Wolkersdorfer, the Managing Director, shares insights into the company’s achievements, challenges, and future direction. With a primary focus on the automotive sector and a growing presence in healthcare, geospatial, and other industries, we’re on the path to becoming a notable contender in Germany’s tech landscape. Join us for a heartfelt, honest conversation on the journey of Spyrosoft Solutions GmbH and the excitement it holds for the future.
Why did Spyrosoft open an office in Germany, in Stuttgart specifically?
Actually, we opened in Munich at first, and then we moved to Stuttgart, where one of our biggest customers has its main entity for research and development. Also, our customers in the automotive industry prefer to work in hybrid models to have a few people here, so we call it the onshore-offshore model. The German industry still appreciates German language skills for an expert to discuss crucial topics.
Another reason was to have a team onshore that could be at the customer’s location quickly to discuss crucial topics face-to-face. Also, testing is a big part of the service we provide for the automotive industry. Having the ability to participate in the tests is also important, and therefore, we need people who speak German and are experts right next door to the customer.
The third – and maybe main – purpose of Spyrosoft GmbH was the contractual models that can only be done within Germany because you need the freedom of the different high authorities, and it would be difficult to do this from abroad. So, having the local entity gives us a legal and contractual capability that makes things easier for us and our clients here in Germany.
How do you find managing projects with cross-functional teams?
Every day is something new: a lot of it is business as usual, but being in a very international environment, having colleagues across the globe, actually gives a different flavour to this. It is, of course, very exciting to be part of these teams, and of course, we have got many different ethnic groups and people from different backgrounds from different countries of different mentalities.
And I absolutely appreciate this opportunity to learn from each other, considering different opinions and points of view that are elevating our own soft skills. So, this is what I especially like about leading this entity. It’s by far not the first one I’m leading, but it’s exciting regarding this international topic.
How do you think this kind of diversity adds to the culture of Spyrosoft in Germany?
We are even an international team here. So, even in Germany, engineering has become more and more international. Of course, it was seen as a German topic during the 70s and 80s, but now especially if we talk about software, emerging markets, and the need for labour, the international teams are really appreciated here.
How would you describe the atmosphere in your site?
Everybody’s working remotely here in Germany, sometimes because of meeting the customer, but mainly it’s a personal preference. Most of our employees are senior experts who are engaged in a few different projects. But we have a spirit of being a team because what makes us all the same and different from the other Spyrosoft entities is that we are employees of the GmbH here. We try to have regular team meetings – sometimes in Stuttgart and sometimes in Munich. We still meet in person to spend time together, where we meet and get to know each other even better due to the team distribution.
So, the specialists in this field value the opportunity to work remotely. Is it a standard now?
More or less, here in Spyrosoft Germany, it is. We still have an office in Stuttgart, which is of course, available to our team members, but we all work on home-based contracts. The office is always there if we crave a change of atmosphere or company. I’m a frequent visitor, but my team isn’t obligated to go there; they can, and they do when they want.
How did you grow, and what have you achieved so far?
We started the first industrial project in May 2021, and the first employee followed in July, and from that point, we kept growing. We also work closely with Spyrosoft teams in Croatia, Poland, etc. The most significant success was actually opening our doors for the Stuttgart OEMs, because we are now able to provide the best experts locally with the right contractual legal format that was absolutely necessary. We couldn’t have done this from Poland or anywhere else.
We are also expanding our team. I see a massive need for a workforce in different industries, especially in automotive, so in 2024, we’ll hopefully double our employee count.
What is essential in building a team providing services for clients in that sector?
The automotive industry has got a big appetite for labour. They need manpower. They’re moving from just forming metal now into the software-defined vehicle.
The biggest players need people on one hand; on the other, they’ve got a lot of investments going on. So, we see a massive cost-saving approach in the market, and due to this, it is expected to have a quality issue over time. Everybody knows if you buy twice, you buy at double the price. So, the secret behind building the right team in Germany is having as many senior experts as possible. Good people do good work, and it pays off, that’s the secret, and that’s what we are doing.
What makes Spyrosoft in Germany an employer worth considering?
We’re providing a bundle nobody really can resist. First, it’s the flat structure. We embrace freedom when it comes to our projects or what we do. Also, Spyrosoft is a stable company, young, but stable.
Most applicants that I’m talking to complain about missing opportunities to grow in their companies, for example, in the lead roles, some of them need more flexibility, like a four-day workweek or even a so-called job bicycle and other benefits.
Job bicycle? What is that?
You can actually get a bicycle in a leasing model. Instead of a car, you can choose a bicycle. I already requested this, so we’re open to meeting our people’s needs.
And we are still growing, Spyrosoft is growing. So, we don’t have the problem that 30 people are waiting in line for a promotion that can only happen after the current role-holder retires. We offer many opportunities for professional development.
If somebody wants to develop and has the capabilities, we’re supporting that. Weather it’s a four-day week, if somebody wants a bicycle, hey, we can get it done, very easily.
And at Spyrosoft, you can have all of the above with the stability and safety of 1600-employee stock-exchange-traded, fastest-growing European tech company. That’s an asset.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in automotive but lacks experience?
If possible, address this during your studies. Plan well what you do, your practical training, and the subject of the bachelor and master thesis to collect valuable job experience. This opportunity can open doors for you, even if you have no prior work experience.
And start with today’s technology that is on the market, that is there.
Enter a company that gives you the job you want and not just the job they would probably put you in and look at the company where you really have opportunities, let’s say, to learn and to grow, and not just be a number somewhere being elevated probably in 30 years.
And don’t take the first bestoffer somewhere. Don’t look at the big name at the entrance. If you want to go to a big-name enterprise later on, with experience, you are even more desirable.
What are the plans for the development of the German branch?
Well, we might need an office in Munich – the automotive is there and automotive will guide us, we plan on growing in this sector for sure. This is an open door and due to the capabilities and the reputation in the market we have, this is bound to happen. But we also want to support the so-called spine of the German industry, so middle-sized, conservative companies. They need massive support in terms of digitalisation because they can’t do it in-house, so we’re ready to step in.
Another thing to consider is the future of sustainability. Germany is going green, even in the heavy industries, and we are ready to support that. I also hope that sustainable industry will be the new German top export to the world, like cars in the past or machinery. And so, we have the prospect of building a sustainable business for the whole of the Spyrosoft Group. There is enough work for us to do!
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