In early 2018, Sbanken advanced a variety of technological solutions. With a plan of more extensively utilising AI and Machine Learning in 2019, Sbanken needed access to skilled technologists to handle the challenges that lay ahead: “The challenge for Sbanken was to get enough competence within technology. It was a challenge for the whole industry,” Eirunn Skogen, HR Lead, Sbanken says, while highlighting that, due to the challenge, they were looking outside of Norway at the time, attempting to find companies that could aid: “Portugal came up and was a very good fit for us due to their time indifference, it being an attractive location for our employees to travel to as well as the Portuguese culture being quite similar to Norway,” Eirunn states.
However, due to Sbanken being based in Norway and with their primary language being Norwegian, preparing the organisation to work with a company outside their borders proved challenging as well: “The main challenges were to prepare the organization for working with sourcing, and then the language. To use another language, that was a big challenge,” Eirunn Skogen says, while suggesting to other companies considering the same, to: “do your homework, prepare your organization for it, and really welcome the employees from the sourcing company. That is important,” Eirunn explains.
Creating a safe environment
With Sbanken having their eye set on Portugal as a nearshore location; cultural differences, herein business culture, was also a difficult and interesting subject for the company: “Be prepared to spend time to get over the cultural differences, get the team members safe. You cannot expect to put everyone in a meeting room for something and they’ll just speak their mind. You need to create a safe environment; that takes time. I think it is very important to create that mutual respect,” May Britt Haugsvær, Engineering Manager, Sbanken, suggests.