Last week, we had our first all-hands meeting with the entire DSS team. During the session, we discussed the most important updates from the previous few months, showcased our successful projects, and talked about exciting innovations for the company and its employees.
We had several speakers, including our General Manager, Plamen Nakov, who described the company's strategy, future direction, and most significant achievements. IT Director Georgi Kotov and Manager of IT Service Management Implementation and Strategy Georgi Shishkov presented the highlights of their teams and distinguished several colleagues' accomplishments. People and Culture Manager Kornelia Pavlova illustrated the results of an anonymous engagement survey conducted over the summer.
Purpose and idea of an all-hands meeting
We are introducing this new type of meeting to increase transparency and share our company's progress and goals. We aim to provide more visibility on what we are doing, what projects we have, what can be expected for the company and the development of employees in the next 3-6 months. These all-hands meetings will be held quarterly and will include updates on significant new developments and ongoing or future projects for individual teams. We also plan to celebrate the most prominent achievements, welcome new team members, and provide an opportunity for colleagues to ask questions or share information that can be useful to others.
During our first all-hands meeting, we discussed the latest developments in the company over the past year, provided updates on the different teams (Banking, Web Development, ServiceNow), talked about people, culture and HR issues, and made some announcements and reminders. We concluded the meeting with an open discussion and Q&A session, followed by pizza and beers at the office.
Welcome and introductions
We are excited to announce that we have recently welcomed new colleagues to the DSS family, which has led to expansion in every department of our company. At DSS, we understand that our people are our main asset, and they drive our energy and passion. Therefore, it is essential that our team feels supported and comfortable in their environment. We extend a warm welcome to our new additions and hope that they find the team and atmosphere to be everything they expect and more. We look forward to having them on board!
DSS has been positioned as #95 in the Digitalk101 ranking. This year, for the first time, we participated in the ranking of the largest companies in the country's IT sector by total revenue and by revenue from different business segments. This is an excellent achievement for us, considering we are ranked alongside the biggest companies in Bulgaria with huge turnovers. This is the result of everyone's hard work and dedication.
Exciting developments are taking place within our organisation. We have expanded our scope and are now offering products in addition to our services.
This year, we began developing a new product that will provide end-to-end capabilities for performing OCR and KYC. OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is the automated extraction of characters from an image. KYC, or Know Your Customer, is a questionnaire that all financial institutions must obtain from their customers per European regulations. The solution being developed by our web team will enable the creation of custom KYC questionnaires, allowing each bank to create questionnaires tailored to their specific needs and regulatory requirements. The OCR component of this solution will allow for remote capture of an ID card or document from all sides, automatic data extraction, and identity verification. Through this process, clients will be able to fulfil the EU requirement of knowing their customers and keeping their information up to date without requiring a physical office visit.
We have successfully completed another project this year for UniCredit Bulbank by providing them with an OCR library as a separate SDK as part of their omnichannel KYC process. The bank created a KYC questionnaire, and we developed the OCR library that allows personal data to be extracted from a photo ID.
“Unicredit Bulbank partnered with DSS to implement an Optical Character Recognition solution that provides an automated KYC process for the bank's retail users. It is a plug-and-play system that does not require any development effort from our team. It takes a photo of an ID, crops the necessary format, and extracts the relevant information types (name, address, ID number), which is then returned in a machine-readable form. This seamless process is much faster and eliminates the possibility of human errors, resulting in a significantly improved customer experience. We highly recommend DSS's OCR product for easy document digitisation.”
- Anton Kutev, Strategic Initiatives Manager at Unicredit Bulbank
Our performance in the past year has been impressive. We are proud to have achieved a 41% increase in our employee count, with over 65 people now working for DSS.
In terms of financial growth, we have seen a 30% increase in comparison to the same period last year (01.01-31.10). This indicates that we are maintaining our position in the market and attracting new clients and projects. Great job to everyone!
Firstly, we have recently begun working with a new client, 365 Talent Portal, a UK-based company specialising in Microsoft Trainings and talent recruitment. We are responsible for their website maintenance, redesign, and managing their Azure infrastructure since their entire infrastructure is cloud-based.
Regarding our ServiceNow projects, we are thrilled to announce that all the positions we have for one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world are secured for the entire year of 2024. This is a significant achievement as contracts are typically renewed three or six months ahead. The fact that our ServiceNow consultants will be continuing to work on these projects for an entire year is a testament to the customer's satisfaction and trust in our ability to deliver quality work.
We continue to work with another long-term client - one of the largest telecommunications companies in Switzerland, where we will enrich the team and add more people to the project. In addition, we are expanding our partnership in the ServiceNow implementation with another FMCG company on a global scale and are currently in negotiations to add several new colleagues to this project. Last but not least, we have been working on a project for an Italian investment bank and have been providing them with a couple of upgrades every year. Recently, we finished the latest upgrade and are pleased to report that it was successfully uploaded to production with no issues.
Regarding our Banking team, we are currently working on two new business analysis projects for a leading local bank. These projects usually lead to further development opportunities upon successful completion. Additionally, we have recently delivered a few more registries, such as the agent registry, which allows the bank to manage franchise-type branches; a sanctioned country registry; and a registry of regulatory documents containing template documents, such as payment orders and account opening procedures. We are also beginning to work on two more registries: a vault registry and a payroll register, both of which are crucial to the bank's operation.
Our Web Development team has also been working on some exciting projects lately. One of our recent achievements is developing the official website for a prominent government institution. Additionally, we worked on a project for the Technical University of Sofia that enables lecturers to register for courses that help improve their qualifications.
In addition, we are now resuming a partnership for a 3-year state project, so stay tuned for future updates.
We want to extend our warmest congratulations to several colleagues who were expecting children or have become parents again. We wish you all the best and express our sincerest happiness for you!
Moreover, one of our goals for the different teams is to hold regular team-building activities to unite everyone. We want to spend more time outside of work and foster stronger relationships. Examples of activities we had included events such as visiting escape rooms, going bowling, and board game nights at the office.
People and Culture updates
Results from employee engagement survey
Over the summer, we conducted an anonymous employee engagement survey to gather feedback from colleagues on pressing issues, suggestions, and anything else that concerned them. The survey took place from August to September, and we received a nearly 70% response rate (2/3 of the company). We will encourage everyone to participate in these surveys because it is the only way to get a sense of where the priorities should be in further developing the company culture and what aspects we should work on more.
A key survey highlight was that 100% of DSS employees recommended it as a great workplace. The reasons behind this rating are the friendly environment, culture, and people, challenging and exciting projects, opportunities to learn and develop, and work flexibility. However, we recognise the need to improve social events and team-building activities and provide more clarity on performance review processes.
When asked about the topics our colleagues would like us to discuss more outside of work, Sports and Healthy eating came first. Our idea is to form a working group to discuss covering these topics more.
We also asked colleagues to rate a few statements on how much they agree with them. The highest-rated statement was, "I receive support and understanding from my colleagues." We should all be proud of having built this as an environment. Because one person does not drive it, we all do it for each other.
It has been identified that we need to improve in certain areas related to the following statements: "I am provided with constructive feedback that assists me in my personal and professional development" and "In our team, we frequently acknowledge and appreciate individual and collective accomplishments." In light of this, we have organised this all-hands meeting to acknowledge and celebrate our successes more frequently.
We have an amazing Christmas party planned this week, so make sure to keep an eye on our blog and social media for more information. As a yearly tradition, we will host a second party in the office, including a Secret Santa gift-giving. This informal celebration also involves everyone bringing a dish to share, a lovely practice for many years.
We also offer a great perk for our employees during the holiday season. From a few days before Christmas until after the holidays, we give our employees extra time off to spend with their loved ones and truly relax.
To support new parents, we are introducing a new social benefit - a one-time bonus for every newborn or adopted baby of one of our employees. It's important to support our employees not only in their professional development but also in their personal lives.
Last but not least, after updating the company's branding at the beginning of the year, we also refreshed the office, making it even more pleasant and cosy.