Growing an Internationally Recognised Software Product
Tieto is the leading IT services company in Nordic countries with annual net sales of 1.8 billion Euro. While being a services company, Tieto has also a very strong offering of industry-specific software products. One of the strategic products of Tieto is Card Suite, a system used by 369 financial institutions in 4 continents for payment cards processing. All key processes related to development, sales, implementation and support of Card Suite are managed from Latvia.
In this talk, we will share our experience on how this successful software product business has developed and evolved over time from early 90 s up to these days. There are pros and cons in entering such kind of business. Advantages include possibility to achieve good profitability and growth, if the product is commercialised successfuly, predictable revenue streams from maintenance and support services and ability to expand geographically. Disadvantages of software product business are high risk of lost invetments if commercialisation fails, high competition, relatively small size of the business because the products usually cover some particular niche and shortage of very specialised human resources.
When establishing a software product business there are four key elements which require particular attention customers, finances, processes and people. The main element is customer. Products are made for customers, therefore also in product business customer relationship plays important role. Customer references usually is one of the main criteria in making purchase decisons. Marketing and brand building is another essential building block of products business. And strong sales culture supported by good network of partners and alliances, especially to reach wider geographic coverage. From the finance perspective strong financial discipline and control over investments in product are important. Processes in product business are different from the ones in software services, and it should be taken into account. Special attention should be paid to renewal of product portfolio and continuous quality improvements. And, finally, people are creating the products. They should be treated as the key asset and require investment in their loyalty, skills and motivation.
Tieto is a publicly listed company with over 16000 employees in more than 30 countries and 1.8 billion euro annual net sales. Currently Māris Ozoliņ is responsible for development, sales, delivery and support of Tietos proprietary software product Card Suite. Card Suite according with Gartner ranking is one of top world leading international software solutions for payment cards data processing. Over100 banks and financial institutions in more than 30 countries worldwide are using Card Suite. In his previous carrer Māris Ozoliņ held different managerial positions in the field of IT and banking services: CEO at Lattelecom Technology, CEO at TietoEnator Financial Solutions, Managing Director at Konts SIA, Marketing Director at BankServiss and Project Manager at Baltic Technology Group. Apart from his everyday duties in Tieto, Māris Ozoliņ is lecturing in Riga Business School, MBA programme on subject E-Business Solutions. His hobbies are rally racing, ice hockey and downhill skiing.