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The story of our Swiss department is special. In fact, we believe it to be a rare case. Cultures in organizations have been subject of research and real-life studies for decades. And yet, it seems, nobody has been able to fully pinpoint why it is so hard to transfer cultures geographically – let alone from company site to company site.

We are not saying, we busted the myth – but in terms of succeeding in establishing a remote office with an intact culture, we truly did it. The key to being successful with your clients and with your colleagues and partners? Alexandre Saltiel sums it up with one word only. "Decency", he says. In 2009 he was looking for a change in his working life. "I am not a big company-guy", he states and outlines the paradox in the fact that he at that point had spent his career in very large, global companies. With success too. “It took me three years to find the right alternative. Danoffice IT was doing something very special, so in 2011 I reached out and little did I know that this was actually the beginning of Danoffice IT in Switzerland”, Alexandre says.

How, why, who

Why do we start the story this way? We could list a long line of successful cases, numbers, and figures. However, we do so because culture is what differentiate us. Ourselves and all our colleagues in the IT industry all sell the very same things. The sole difference is how we do it. Why we do it. And all of it is determined by who we are.

Our Swiss history is not made from acquiring other companies or merging with such. No, this is a story on how to build something valuable from the very ground – made possible by the people involved along the way.

“How come a company like yours doesn’t have an office in Switzerland?”

Being a global company and working with the world’s largest and leading NGO's, IGO's and charity organizations, our work is all about making a difference and creating positive change. The keywords to succeeding is presence and closeness. The concept of proximity only refers to an actual, physical nearbyness. Closeness, however, lies within the relation. According to Alexandre, when starting a company or a remote department up from scratch, you will be needing both. You need the relations, obviously, but you also need to be there.

"I approached Danoffice IT which I could see was doing something, nobody else was doing. "How come a company like yours doesn’t have an office in Switzerland", I asked them. And this is actually how Danoffice IT in Switzerland came to light. After just two months of in-depth training and onboarding, we opened the office in Nyon”.

 

The first large contract changed everything

“Our first great challenge was to position ourselves. With potential clients and with the manufacturers”, he states and elaborates: “As long as you don’t have local contracts – you are not being listened to nor being noticed, so we had some hard work in front of us”.

Today all clients with ties to our Swiss office are based in the French speaking part of the country. “The first large contract with a world-leading NGO changed everything – it positioned us to the manufacturers”, Alexandre says.

“My message to everyone trying to start a new office, department or company from the ground is: Focus on ensuring, developing, winning and maintaining your own contracts: Doing so will provide you with the extra attention and support from headquater and manufacturers”.

 

 

 

What are we doing here?

Going back to the initial reflections on the importance of relations and local anchoring, we are able to define why we are in fact in Switzerland. As of 2023 Danoffice IT has remote departments and logistics hubs in USA, Singapore, and Switzerland – with even two more to come very soon in both China and India. These satellites all share the same purpose: Being close to our clients, so we can offer them our world class services. “We are really here to help them standardize their IT”, Alexandre points out. “Through standardization they can reduce their acquisition costs, which is an ongoing struggle for all organizations in the world”.

Obviously, customer success is a driving force for Alexandre, our Swiss department, and our entire organization. “We show them that we care. What we do for them is important so that they can succeed in their work”.

You are very lucky!

Today our Swiss department is, like Alexandre himself, very international. In fact, to a point where our staff there speaks a language which none of them has as their mother tongue. "We come from very many places, and we have so much fun together. It lies deeply in our culture. This is also the explanation to why we speak our own version of fun Portuguese on a daily basis. It makes no sense, but it is very fun", he says and continues.

"This is just one of many examples on how we have built a very informal, vibrant, healthy and very professional workspace. Everybody trusts each other. And when our clients witness this firsthand, they see us with big eyes and say: "You are lucky" – and yes, we are", Alexandre concludes.

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