Three questions for ...
Member of the Management Board - Director of International Development
The SII Group posted revenue from international operations of close to 61 million euros for the year ended March 31, 2012. This growth reflects SII’s firm intent to expand beyond France, the traditional base of its business. What brought about this change of strategy ?
J.P Chevée : Our strategy hasn’t changed. Foreign expansion is not the ultimate objective. What we want to do is continue supporting our clients’ projects, and today those clients are mainly European corporations with international projects. Thus, it simply makes sense for SII to have expanded abroad in response to our clients’ demands for geographic proximity and offshore outsourcing capacity.
In doing so we took an approach that was unusual for SII, in that we opted for growth through acquisitions. It started with our purchase of Coris in Switzerland, then the Concatel group of companies in Spain, Aida Development in Germany and finally the acquisition of Uniway in Belgium. We save time by using this approach, of course, especially in mature markets, but it’s also a way to broaden our line of services. With Concatel, for instance, we have acquired resources in enterprise content management and infrastructure management. As for our German colleagues, they bring with them considerable skills in aeronautical design.
You mentioned offshore outsourcing. Can you be more specific ?
J.P Chevée: Of course. We currently have offshore outsourcing capacity in five countries: Morocco, Argentina, Romania, Poland and India.
Merely having facilities in Morocco or India isn’t sufficient to do offshore outsourcing, which is a business in its own right. We have been relying on our extensive experience in project management – SII is ISO 9001 and CMMi3 certified for all of its packaged services – to develop a specific methodology for offshore projects. The approach is based on both SII and the offshore facility leading the project while communicating with each other on a permanent basis, so that the home teams work closely with the local staff. For our clients, this means continuing to deal with their usual SII representative, while for us it means the possibility of guaranteeing the quality of the services performed.
Do you believe that you will be able to maintain the pace of your international expansion in the future ?
J.P Chevée: That’s not our goal. Of course, we examine every opportunity that comes up. The creation of a subsidiary in Chile in 2010 to support one of our major clients is an example of this. We must proceed at the right pace, however, which is why we are currently concentrating on integrating companies that we have acquired in recent years. Our acquisitions and newly-formed subsidiaries have generated considerable potential for synergies within the SII Group. We must first take advantage of this potential before considering further international expansion.