Edin Deljkic: After opening an office in Banja Luka, Klika plans to expand globally
6 Jul 2021
The IT industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and in our country - where the number of successful companies exclusively working for the global market is rapidly climbing. Among the best is Klika, an IT company that develops software for some of the most renowned companies worldwide.
In an interview with Klix.ba, Klika's CEO, Edin Deljkić, talked about the success of the company, the challenges that came with the pandemic, the digital development of our country, and plans for the upcoming period.
How would you assess the development of the IT industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, where do we stand compared to countries in the region and the world?
“After 15 years of experience in the industry, actively participating and closely observing the development and improvement of the market, I am happy to have witnessed the success of the IT industry in BiH, which is at a very high level, a global level, when we are talking about quality and business standards, project quality and clients, as well as the work environment and conditions for employees. If you’d visit our offices, you'd be stunned that it is still Bosnia and Herzegovina you are still in. Innovation, courage and a continuous push onto the global market are key for the IT industry, but these also represent a good business model for BiH non-IT companies. IT is one of the rare sectors that shows continuous growth, i.e., 20% per year. Unfortunately, an unfavourable legislative framework is where we lag, which often hinders the progress of the IT market. In addition, the role of the government should be crucial, as well as investing in the IT sector, especially if we consider that the IT industry hires young people with higher education from different backgrounds who directly contribute to the development of the IT sector with their talent and values.
For example, I see the IT industry, and Klika in particular, as a pioneer in changing the paradigm of business practices and inclusion, whereby we are able to see a growing number of female IT experts in the workplace. When it comes to neighbouring countries, we can see that strategic industries in Serbia and Croatia, including the IT sector, are significantly supported by the government. In return, the invested funds are directly reinvested back through taxes and contributions, which enables sustained growth and development, not only of the IT sector, but the entire country and society as a whole, and that is exactly the approach we should adopt.
What additionally hinders an even faster development is the market size, since we are significantly smaller than other regional countries, but comparatively, it only means that we need to look for other work models and discover new markets to expand our business.“
Photo: Peđa Kazazović
Do you consider that BiH companies follow tech development trends, where else can they find room for development and growth?
“When we talk about tech development trends, we are not lagging behind global companies. Our companies are working with the latest technologies, adhering to the highest global standards. But this matter also requires a strategic approach in order to ensure continuous quality and a competitive advantage. We see an opportunity to do so in improving the education system. Currently, the education system does not promote nor invest in research and innovation that would enable BiH to strengthen its expertise and to position ourselves as experts in certain IT areas. Klika took it upon itself to produce the workforce necessary to keep the IT sector going, but a joined and united effort is imperative here.”
From this standpoint, are BiH citizens and companies coping well with organizing their work processes through online channels? How did you organize your business operations during the pandemic?
“We at Klika decided to work in line with our employees’ needs, so, more than for a year now, our employees have been working from home or other locations they see fit and they feel productive and comfortable at. Coming to the office is optional, and we do not intend to change that to a larger extent in the upcoming period. Generally, the fact that we are working in international markets and use the most advanced tools enabled us to transition smoothly to the online work mode, but we always kept in mind that a sense of belonging and interaction were highly necessary, so our HR team works on preserving the well-being of our employees in the best possible way.”
Photo: Peđa Kazazović
What’s the future of remote work in BiH, given that we have seen global companies announce allowing remote work even after the pandemic?
“The pandemic and all the challenges it came with taught us to always be response-ready to all possible circumstances we could find ourselves in. Most IT companies will keep supporting remote work, since it enables our employees to be more flexible, a healthier work-life balance, and easier time management. Other industries will probably gradually go back to the old ways. Even though remote work comes with many benefits, consequences may appear after a longer time, in terms of how much people will feel connected to other people, their team members and the company. Before the pandemic, we were not aware of how coming to the office, at least in a small number, positively impacted our mental health through socializing and communicating with others. One year of the pandemic cannot change hundreds and thousands of years of evolution we evolved through as social beings. The next period to come will definitely show us which model works best for people and for the companies. But, we are ready. We actively observe what is happening on the global market. We will always adhere to global standards, but combine it with our culture and mindset. We readily expect new “waves” to conquer and strengthen Klika and our team even more.”
Photo: Peđa Kazazović
Given that Klika is a market leader, could you tell us what or who is to credit for such a success, what markets are you working for, and what are the most significant projects you have worked on so far?
“We are really proud of our results, because when we look back, we became one of the biggest IT leaders in BiH in like five years, which shows us that we are doing things right and that we are on the right path. On the other hand, we are not afraid of feedback from our clients or employees, and we are always looking to improve our business and reach the next level, as well as to set an example on business practices to other BiH companies. We exclusively work with clients outside of BiH, i.e., clients from the USA and the EU, and we are able to meet the quality standard that are expected there. We are talking about different clients and projects from different industries, but we are not always allowed to mention names due to data confidentiality, but we can say it is some of the biggest brands in industries like IoT, marketing, sales and finance.”
Photo: Peđa Kazazović
IT companies are always looking for new employees, so could you tell us if it is hard nowadays to find qualified IT experts? Is experience a job requirement in your company or do you have some sort of training programme for young talents?
“That is one of the biggest challenges of the IT industry, a lack of competent experts. We are dealing with a small market, and the demand and competition are big. We are aware of the circumstances, so we’re continually working on improving our work environment and are looking after our employee’s needs. Besides a competitive compensation, we also offer our employees different benefits, like private healthcare insurance, private dental insurance, food and beverages in our premises, parking spots, paid sports activities, gym membership, pet-friendly offices, and there are also additional compensations like bonuses, a dedicated budget for educational purposes and professional development, a budget for traveling with the team, as well as additional vacation days and better work hours depending on how long an employee has been with the company. We just launched a programme, called Klika Service Awards, that helped us define and promote additional benefits for our employees, which are pretty rare to find in other companies in our region. We also intend to keep working on new activities with a focus on caring for our employees.”
Photo: Peđa Kazazović
What are your plans and expectations for the upcoming period?
“From the very start, we’ve been continually growing, and we plan on keeping doing so in the upcoming period as well. Last year, we opened an office in Banja Luka and started hiring IT experts from neighbouring countries. This year, we will also open an office in the USA and we plan to expand globally. We already plan to hire around 50 more IT experts for different technologies, which additionally shows the strength of our brand and business strategy. We will continue to work better and stronger and be a role model for other companies. Expectations we set are big and they require hard work, but Klika always loved new challenges.”
How much is Klika involved outside the IT industry and is it important to you?
“Klika does not and cannot exist outside the community it is a part of. Therefore, we continually find ways to balance the reciprocity, which our citizens had the chance to see during the pandemic. What we would like to announce is that we will additionally commit to giving back to our community under the concept of Klika Foundation. In the following weeks, we will have a call for Klika Scholarship applications which will not only be limited to IT, but Klika will also ensure students from all faculties at the universities of Sarajevo and Banja Luka are included, since we consider that our responsibility goes beyond IT. We want to support young people from all industries and of different social backgrounds because we consider it to be the only way to get our society forward as a whole.
We will soon post scholarship requirements and we are inviting all students to follow us on social media and our website in order to stay in the loop with the scholarship programme.”
This article is originally published on Klix.ba.