Maciej Cielecki, CEO at 10Clouds tells us more about digital transformation and how they innovate by staying at the forefront of emerging technology.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maciej Cielecki: Thank you for asking. It hasn’t been an easy time healthwise, but fortunately, we are doing OK at present.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 10Clouds.
Maciej Cielecki: I founded 10Clouds with my university friend Michał Kłujszo. I’d left my previous position because I didn’t like how ineffectively the company was being run and how poorly the developers were treated. I felt that there is a better way to take care of your staff, and I wanted to make this a focus in the company that I ended up running.
After having some experience with startups, we eventually started doing some freelance development work for external companies from the States. That was not so popular back then in Poland, and it gave us the competitive edge that we needed. There are different paths to success in our industry, and we have focused on high-quality service, operational efficiency and strategic customer relationships.
How does 10Clouds innovate?
Maciej Cielecki: Innovation has always been at the centre of our work, as we strive to be at the forefront of emerging technology. However, we always put our clients’ needs first, and we will only suggest the solutions that we feel would truly suit their projects.
We have a longstanding partnership with Trust Stamp and Mastercard and have worked together on biometric solutions and data protection, which empower people to access more with an identity that can be safely shared and stored.
There are a lot of business ideas from enterprises in terms of how to digitize their products and services, and we want to fill in this gap and be the translator of technologies to the business side.
We want to help them understand what is important to build those services and solutions for their customers that would help them bulletproof their businesses for years to come.
We’re also focusing on MLOps at the moment, as we want to ensure that our data scientists, developers and operations teams work effectively together in order to streamline processes and to provide deeper, more consistent, and more useful insights from ML for our clients.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Maciej Cielecki: In terms of business, we are lucky enough that we were working remotely before the pandemic struck. We were able to continue working smoothly without any stops, and our customers were unaffected.
That was very important for us. In regards to our customers, their level of uncertainty rose a lot, and due to that, we saw a little slowdown in business decision-making in March, but that wasn’t a problem for a very long time.
After people adjusted and understood that this is the way we are going to operate for quite some time, they started innovating. We saw a huge demand for people who were trying to solve business problems. We helped develop an app for one of the universities in the US that would help spot the fake news about Covid-19. So, in conclusion – it increased uncertainty for us, but fortunately, our customers quickly got back to business as normal, and we saw a huge increase in creativity as people were trying to address the new needs of the market.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Maciej Cielecki: Among our customers, the level of uncertainty rose a lot, and due to that, we saw a little slowdown in business decision-making in March 2020, but that wasn’t a problem for a very long time.
After people adjusted and understood that this is the way we are going to operate for quite some time, they started innovating. We saw a huge demand for people who were trying to solve new types of business problems that the world is facing. We helped develop an app for one of the universities in the US that would help spot the fake news about Covid-19. So, in conclusion – it increased uncertainty for us, but fortunately, our customers quickly got back to business as normal, and we saw a huge increase in creativity as people were trying to address the new needs of the market.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Maciej Cielecki: For the last 10 years, we have been building a remote organization at 10Clouds, with the aim of facilitating work from home for our staff and being able to undertake projects for clients all over the world. We kept using our offices as a great way to socialize and work in an in-person environment, but it was always imperative that we set everything up for being remote. That’s why we were lucky enough to already have the tools and systems in place to support effective work in dispersed teams. We use Zoom for conference calls internally and with our clients, and we use Slack for instant messaging. We have also moved all our socials into the online world, but we keep it creative – from hosting workshops by tech experts to sessions on creating your own forest in a jar. There’s always something for everyone!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maciej Cielecki: We are a software house which means that we have a range of competitors both within Poland and across Europe. Significant players in the Polish software house market include Netguru, El Passion, The Software House and Codilime. We are pleased that we are very highly ranked on Clutch.co. We are focused on bringing consistent value to our customers: creating great teams where people are engaged problem solvers, and we make sure that we stay a great place to work. Our aim is to attract top talent from Poland and beyond – we are currently moving towards hiring from other European countries.
Your final thoughts?
Maciej Cielecki: We’re lucky enough to have longstanding and well-established relationships with many of our clients, and we receive numerous recommendations from them. Thanks to this, and our previous remote setup, we’ve been largely unaffected by the pandemic. We’re always very open to sharing our experiences and knowledge to support companies of all sizes in their process of digital transformation.