Comtrade Digital Services sets out European growth strategy

Comtrade Digital Services sets out European growth strategy

Digital transformation calls for agile approach to IT services where long term mega deals are slowly being kicked out by more flexible service agreements in which buyers expect quick wins and results. Such climate brought up a new wave of challengers with nearshore delivery models aiming to win the trust of struggling buyers that now look beyond labour arbitrage to drive further efficiencies in standing up to market headwinds.

Comtrade Digital Services is one of the latest ventures of €300m+ Comtrade Group, which is among the largest technology players in South Eastern Europe. The group's focus is on wide range of IT services. Traditional apps services based on Oracle and Microsoft platforms are offered by Comtrade System Integration; infrastructure solutions and services are going to market as HYCU, a brand that partners with the likes of Google, Citrix, HPE, Nutanix and Microsoft; and emerging digital solutions and services are offered by Comtrade Digital Services. The group currently operates across 13 countries with more than 1,000 software engineers in nearshore delivery centres in Serbia and Slovenia.

PAC recently caught up with Dublin headquartered Comtrade Digital Services to discuss its digital offering and go—to-market strategy for its European push across the markets in the UK, Ireland and Germany. In a nutshell Comtrade Digital Services is a digital services business, with very agile approach focusing on areas like IoT, AI, DevOps, UX, cloud and Quality Assurance/testing, with solid off-the-shelf portfolio as well.

Major focus verticals for Comtrade Digital Services are travel/transportation, financial services and manufacturing, and its go-to-market strategy is underpinned by two major pillars. One of them is partnership oriented where Comtrade Digital Services looks to partner with domain expert players whose main focus isn't in digital, for examples intralogistics companies. The second pillar is standardised software enabled by emerging digital technologies like IoT and AI. These include chatbot platform Assisto tailored for applications in banking, insurance and airline sectors, an airline marketing platform Adnexa and fleet sharing solution for transport operators. Major clients include the likes of Ryanair and Skrill.

Still, apart from airline and financial services Comtrade Digital Services sees manufacturing as a major opportunity for further growth and is beefing up its offering of products and services. Expertise around system integration, optimization and automation of warehouses, it's Smart Dock logistics solution and IoT platform Forensixx for design of end-to-end IoT solutions such as predictive maintenance are core of its offering. Important piece of its IoT puzzle is AI for which Comtrade Digital Services created an ecoystem of academic partners and specialist players addressing different problems.

Finding the right balance of nearshore capabilities and onsite expertise to address the digital challenges that buyers face seems that played out well for the wave of digital players like Luxoft, EPAM and Endava. Most of them are growing more quickly than global giants with India-centric delivery models.

PAC sees Comtrade Digital Services riding the same wave. It is well positioned to become legacy-to-digital journey partner for businesses craving for quick innovation and agile approach. With its nearshore development capabilities Comtrade Digital Services can offer scalable capabilities and follow the customers’ growth.

Still, the needs of digital transformation go way beyond agile development and innovative solutions, and tap into consulting, change management, process engineering and integration into wider business applications landscape. Comtrade as a group has some, but not all of these much-needed capabilities available in its other business units. Therefore, to continue digital momentum, Comtrade will need to work on integrating the capabilities of its other business units into its digital offerings. Additionally, further developing its already solid partnership network with industry specialists will be another growth driver in the future and PAC will watch its progress with interest.