Centric Public Report 2020
Besides the tight job market, it’s evident that IT technology is continuing to develop at an incredible pace. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud technology. The use of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, remote desktop applications and remote workplaces (and management of such) have shown strong growth. This development has prompted technology vendors to accelerate their investments in the further development of collaboration tools and cloud technology to facilitate work location independence. In addition, companies are becoming increasingly aware of security issues arising from working from home; they want to protect their organisation against attacks and they want to protect their intellectual property too.
The current shortage of mid-level and senior IT specialists on the market will continue. Because of the uncertainty concerning the impact of coronavirus and the lockdowns, those who were considering a switch were extra careful when actually taking this step. In addition to the emerging cloud technology, there is a growing need for new knowledge and skills, like from data specialists, for example, who can help companies choose their data platforms. Due to the market demand, recruitment of mid-level and senior IT specialists remains a top priority for Professional Staffing.
Another emerging trend is that companies are increasingly open to the joint development of young talent. Professional Staffing recruits specifically within the target group of graduates to meet this need.
For example, in 2019 we started Qmagic, a label for starters in IT. With Qmagic, not only do we offer these IT professionals great assignments, but also great career prospects. Qmagic serves as a springboard to Centric.
In total, we helped than 50 IT professionals find a job in IT in 2020 and achieved 200% growth. In 2021, Qmagic Netherlands will be joined by Qmagic Belgium.
Our activities Professional Staffing operates daily in the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia with more than 1,400 professionals working both internally and on-site for external customers. Our activities can be further divided into four disciplines:
- IT-professionals Our IT professionals provide on-site support and help desk services, software development and management, application management, Microsoft Office 365 deployments and cloud migrations, and much more.
- XCENT The professionals at XCENT help local and provincial government bodies deploy their support systems for primary processes in a smart and efficient way. XCENT also offers support with functional management and specialist administrative tasks in local government domains, like taxes, cemetery administration, finance, information management, personnel and payroll administration, public affairs, social affairs and permits.
- Qmagic Qmagic’s IT professionals help customers – both inside and outside Centric – in the areas of service desk, workplace management, field service and warehousing.
- Financial Professionals Our financial professionals help organisations stay in control of their business and project performance. By combining our knowledge of technology and finance with a pragmatic and customer-driven approach, we are able to quickly identify ways the customer can make optimisations and cut costs.
In addition to these traditional secondment activities and the development of 21st century skills and technical skills among talent, Professional Staffing invested last year in three knowledge-specific domains:
- Digital strategy
- Software Enabled Solutions
- Decision Intelligence
General developments in 2020 2020 was a year with two stories. On the one hand, the coronavirus pandemic had an enormous impact for many companies. However, because Centric Professional Staffing has a broad customer portfolio and is mainly active in sectors that have been less affected by the pandemic, for us it was mostly business as usual. The demand for the deployment of home-working solutions was high.
In 2020, all Staffing activities at Centric Netherlands and Belgium were merged and the resource and recruitment activities were placed under one management team. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this process has been accelerated and successfully completed.
Centralising the capacity requests for professionals throughout Centric at Resourcing & Recruitment Support has boosted efficiency enormously. As a result, internal and external customers could continue to focus on their core business and our professionals were not unnecessarily left sitting idle in an ever-tightening job market.
In Scandinavia, to integrate and strengthen our services all IT activities – both from our nine Scandinavian offices and in combination with our nearshore support solutions in Lithuania – were brought under one management team. Although the effects of the pandemic encumbered the Scandinavian activities, by the end of 2020 our organisation had already bounced back to its pre-COVID size.
'Software Enabled Solutions offers a unique range of professionals with specific domain experience'
Multidisciplinary approach and digital strategy Centric Professional Staffing provides its services based on an analysis of the specific business challenge and helps customers with a cloud roadmap, implementation, guidance, coaching and training. We help customers get a holistic view of their business, enabling them to design, develop, implement and maintain solutions that perfectly fit the organisation and meet its business needs. We do this in close consultation with the business, strategy and IT teams.
The multidisciplinary approach to our resourcing and knowledge-centred services (referred to as Resources as a Service and Knowledge as a Service) generates business solutions tailored to the specific needs of our customers. With this approach, industry standards and methodologies are combined with customer-driven solution engineering, architecture and operations.
Software Enabled Solutions While standardisation in today’s cloud-centric IT environments is the undeniable trend, there is also a movement where our customers specify a very particular IT strategy for business solutions that reflect their unique proposition and the distinctive character of their business.
Software Enabled Solutions has a range of professionals with specific domain experience who can support the alignment of smaller, specialised businesses or business units with their IT department and help them develop and manage solutions for their specific business processes and responsibilities. These solutions are small-scale and pragmatic, target very specific business niches, and add standardised software development, data science, application hosting and functional and technical application management processes to our unique business processes and procedures for customers. This is naturally always carried out in accordance with the customer’s standards, rules and regulations.
Decision Intelligence A good example of how Professional Staffing translates specific business requirements into standard solutions for our customers is its Decision Intelligence. Our BI and Data Science professionals have developed a Centric framework for best practices in organisational decision-making. By determining the specific details of our customer’s business needs based on an analysis of the specific chain of cause and effect, we can provide a solution that is certain to fit these needs and achieve the customer’s digital strategy and transformation objectives.
Flynth Dutch consulting and accounting firm Flynth approached Centric Professional Staffing for its input on how to digitalise the administrative processes of its end customers. Flynth’s end customers, ranging from partnerships and SMEs to larger companies, were offered the opportunity to digitise their analogue document flows. By installing a number of standard and custom applications for Flynth’s customers, they are now able to deliver their monthly and annual figures to Flynth quickly, efficiently and with high quality and save these in digital form, properly categorised in their own system.
After taking stock of the wishes and requirements, as well as customers’ local or national environments, Professional Staffing was able to support Flynth by setting up the ‘Flynth Brigade’, a Centric team consisting of experienced IT professionals responsible for the remote installation of the necessary software and for guiding the customer in adopting the functionality of these applications.
With a fully equipped support desk and planning office, this project was completed on budget and on schedule and with very high customer satisfaction.
In the wake of this successful collaboration, Flynth awarded Centric the national follow-up project, ‘IT Connect’. Professional Staffing staffs 50% of the IT Connect project team. This Centric team was deployed together with the internal Flynth team to guide more than 40 Flynth branches across the Netherlands in revamping the current IT infrastructure. VDAB VDAB is the public employment service of Flanders, a public company that has been a loyal client of Centric Professional Staffing for many years. In 2020, Centric seconded many professionals to VDAB at a strategic level, such as project managers and team leaders for various development teams. Centric also supplied domain architects, developers (Java, etc.) and specialists like automation testers and data analysts. Thanks to this close collaboration and the high degree of satisfaction, VDAB has also called on Centric to provide its expertise in setting up a new organisational branch, aimed at recruiting in-house professionals in the various IT segments. This will add a new dimension to the already good collaboration in 2021 and this will be strengthened further.
The non-stop flow of innovations is reflected in the certification policy of technology vendors. Certificates are only valid for so long, meaning professionals have to renew their certification every year so that they can keep up with these new technologies and their applications. With its separate centres of expertise for the various fields, Professional Staffing has for years had a proven instrument at its disposal to entrench this knowledge sharing. Technologies and applications will continue to develop at an enormous pace in 2021. To give a few examples:
The effective use of cloud technology that helps companies make the switch to digital will continue to be high on the agenda of companies this year. Professional Staffing is catering to this demand by deploying multidisciplinary teams made up of professionals from various fields to provide customers with integrated and future-proof solutions.
AI and machine learning are increasingly being employed in various applications, for example to gain insights by discovering patterns in the ever-growing amount of data. To gain new insights, an increasing number of internal and external data sources, with both structured and unstructured data, are being drawn on. The focus is increasingly on foresight (predictive value) instead of the hindsight provided by traditional BI dashboard reports that only show achieved results. AI and machine learning are also being used in chatbots, where customer and employee questions are answered in a chat. This application will mainly impact the support functions, which are increasingly moving up the problem-solving chain, which also requires a higher skill set.
5G technology will bring in a new level of acceleration. These networks facilitate various types of technologies, all brought together under the name Industry 4.0. This combines cloud computing, big data, analytics and algorithms, augmented reality, IoT platforms and advanced human/machine interfaces. In this ‘fourth industrial revolution’, companies will focus more than ever on their digital transformation and use all available new technology to improve their business processes and enhance the customer experience so that they can stand out from the competition.