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BUSINESS FOCUS - SPANISH FOCUS

Spanish know-how and Slovak local knowledge unite in IT firm

A SPANISH and Slovak joint venture has become a partner of the global IT firm Hewlett-Packard in creating European IT operations centres in Slovakia.
The new company, Soitron, will provide IT infrastructure management and supporting services mainly for Hewlett-Packard (HP) call centres. Slovak firm Tronet and Spanish-Portuguese company Soitsa, a traditional European outsourcing partner of HP, established Soitron in December 2003.

A SPANISH and Slovak joint venture has become a partner of the global IT firm Hewlett-Packard in creating European IT operations centres in Slovakia.

The new company, Soitron, will provide IT infrastructure management and supporting services mainly for Hewlett-Packard (HP) call centres. Slovak firm Tronet and Spanish-Portuguese company Soitsa, a traditional European outsourcing partner of HP, established Soitron in December 2003.

As Tronet would like to focus on its core activity of designing complex IT solutions, it decided to outsource activities of technical support to a new company. Soitron took this role, providing deliveries for HP technical support centres.

"We have spotted the growing difference between the development of new IT systems and supporting existing systems. To serve all clients properly we have decided to establish Soitron," said Ondrej Smolár, the company's technical director.

"We see the need to be specialised in the area of IT outsourcing. Customers do not want to waste their time building IT systems," he added.

Soitsa owns a majority shareholder stake in Soitron of 51 percent.

The other 49 percent belongs to Tronet. However, according to its founders, Soitron will work as an independent company.

"Soitron combines the advantage of foreign know-how, as Soitsa has provided technical support services to HP for several years, and the very good knowledge of the local IT market provided by Tronet," said Vladimír Šikura, general director of the new firm's Slovak parent company. Soitron plans to reach about Sk250 million (€6.2 million) in service sales this year.

Soitron will create about 200 job opportunities by next year. "By May 1 it will have about 60 employees and by September this year the number will increase to 150 people", said Denisa Moravská, the Tronet human resources director.

"We are looking for IT experts but also graduates for junior positions.

We are trying to find people with experience mostly through headhunting, and junior positions through the internet," added Moravská.

The most needed skills will be operation systems management, monitoring systems, and networking. Some experts have also come over from Tronet.

"Soitron will mainly concentrate on small and medium-sized enterprises. Such businesses can hardly follow the newest trends in IT and it is extremely complicated for them to employ an IT specialist. That is the trend of outsourcing," Šikura added.

According to Šikura, outsourcing will enable such businesses to concentrate on core activities and create space for their further growth.

On the other hand, global IT players can focus on their major projects as they have outsourced services of technical maintenance to smaller IT companies like Soitron.

Tronet thinks that a specialised outsourcing company can help its clients decrease their costs and control them, free their own resources, and find their way to better IT knowledge.

The firm's Spanish parent has been operating on the Iberian market since 1999. It provides outsourcing services targeted to manage the technological infrastructure of its clients and has about 250 employees. Apart from Spain and Portugal, it also operates in France and Holland and has begun running businesses in other regions.

Tronet is one of the leading communication systems integrators and data and telecommunication service providers on the Slovak market. It has been operating since 1991 and has carried out more than 4,000 installations and deliveries for customers from various sectors such as public institutions, banks, hospitals, and retail chains.

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