Sixsentix is a Swiss company that specialises in software testing and has branches across Europe. The company’s expertise is already recognised by clients, so it comes as no surprise that it is expanding its network of partners and clients, while increasing the number of employees, year-on-year.
Speaking for CorD Magazine, Sixsentix Serbia MD Branko Milikić explains that innovations, new ideas, products and start-ups come on the basis of the company’s experience, constant development, work with clients from various fields and cooperation with research centres and other companies.
Sixsentix Serbia is a subsidiary of the eponymous Swiss parent company, which has branches throughout Europe. How are the Belgrade and Novi Sad offices that you head rated in that strong competition?
The Serbian part of the company represents the “Nearshore Centre” for all of our locations (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary and the UAE).
The company’s policy is to have a specific number of employees at each location, but for most of the employees to work from Serbia. The model that has proven itself to be the best in working with clients is to have mixed teams on projects, i.e., a number of employees working at the location where the client is located, with the larger part of the team from Serbia. When it comes to delivering quality, it remains on the highest level, but it is important for clients that a model like this enables them to save more, or at least receive a bigger team for the same investment. We currently have 145 employees in Serbia, while the entire group has more than 300.
The IT sector is attractive to everyone, but mostly open to developers, while you offer opportunities to both mathematicians and physicists who’ve proven themselves to be excellent during testing. Is that possible without additional training and continuous improvement?
Constant improvements and investments in additional education, certifications and training is required. Candidates who think analytically fit into our working method very well. We have possibilities to retrain candidates who possess some experience that isn’t strictly related to IT, because we have internal education that’s coordinated by the Education team that was founded six years ago and has numerous coaches, educators and mentors. We invest in methodological and analytical approach to work, consulting skills, agile ways of working, understanding different areas of operations, communication skills, training for the different tools and languages that we use etc. Each of our employees receives regular training throughout the year in various fields, not only from the technical aspect, but rather we also invest in improving various skills.
Our success stories demonstrate how the Sixsentix approach and services save between 30-50% of our clients’ annual budget
From the very outset, Sixsentix aimed to develop its own unique approach to testing – software agile testing (SWAT). What makes it special and superior?
We are constantly considering and improving this model, because we want to develop software testing in parallel with innovations in software development. SWAT implies a methodological approach to work, identifying risks in a system, defining priorities for testing and creating an appropriate number of automated test cases (not all possible combinations, because that takes too much time) with which we can cover a large percentage of systems or applications. We thereby reduce the time needed, which is very important to clients, because everyone wants to their new product or version to appear on the market as soon as possible, but we also reduce the capacity needed for further maintenance.
We are currently developing our new iTest (intelligent testing) product, which is based on machine learning, and we are heading in the direction of artificial intelligence. Our second product, QA Cube, is already working well and delivering results in the world’s leading companies.
You engage in software testing, but also in the development of software for the needs of clients. Who are those clients? From which sectors and areas of industry do they mostly come?
The greatest number of clients come from the banking, financial and investment sectors, but we also have clients from telecommunications, energy, sports organisations, medicine and the like.
We’ve recently been receiving ever more requests from IT companies that develop products for different areas. Not as much was previously invested in software testing, which was somehow an integral part of development and it was taken for granted that the company developing a product would also test it in parallel. However, this proved to be a very poor approach and it turned out to be better for one company to develop a product and another to test it. Over the past few years, more companies have been earmarking funds for testing and seeking companies like us that are specialised in testing the quality of applications.
We have possibilities to retrain candidates who possess some experience that isn’t strictly related to IT, because we have internal education
Is the work you do measurable? Do your clients know exactly how much you reduce their costs and how much you shorten the time they need to go to market?
Certainly. We work with large corporations that regularly evaluate your work. They demand constant improvements in the quality of work, but for costs to be reduced and delivery times shortened. Good examples can be seen in the fact that we’ve been working with the majority of our clients for many years and that we are constantly expanding our cooperation. We thereby enable manifold reductions in the annual budget that they allocate to develop and test their products and systems. Our success stories demonstrate how the Sixsentix approach and services save between 30-50% of our clients’ annual budget.
Clients are demanding, while their needs and expectations differ greatly. Does this mean that you have to constantly improve your business model and ways of working?
Definitely. If you want to be the best at something, and for others to recognise your work, you must constantly innovate and develop your approach to work and the models you’re able to offer. The reason for constant improvement mustn’t solely be the needs and expectations of clients, rather you must monitor new technologies, research and monitor the development of various systems and areas, be creative and bring innovations.
You also need to be ahead of the market’s current needs. Only in that way will you also be able to offer the client more than what’s expected of you. We collaborate with research centres and universities, have partnership relations with several companies that develop testing tools, and introduce new technologies to our work, all with the aim of having a good range of possibilities and options that we can offer clients.
What are your plans and goals when it comes to the further development of the parent company and the Serbian branch?
We took a break from our growth and expansion to new locations during the previous year, but we are slowly starting to hire new employees at all locations, including those in Serbia. New projects are being launched, new clients are coming and the market is slowly returning to normal, so we expect the third and fourth quarters to have the most investment. Plans also include expanding to new markets, such as those of the UK, the U.S. and the Benelux countries.