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Life @ 45°

Pluralit partnership : Diversity to support customer services

Can you introduce yourself and Pluralit?

I am Pablo Sammartino, Founder and CEO of Pluralit.  We are a young company with the mission to connect European IT / Digital demand with top talent from Argentina and other LATAM countries.  Our company was born international, with presence in the UK -where I live- and Argentina -where I come from. Soon enough we expanded to Belgium -Mechelen area- thanks to 45 Degrees’ initial challenge to help with senior Azure roles.

What’s in it for 45 Degrees?

I am Diederik Wyffels, Founder and Managing Partner of 45 Degrees.  We started 45 Degrees when we saw the need to focus on having a top team of architects in this world in transformation.  Architects play a key role to help customers with their transformation journey.  There are business and technology opportunities.  Finding these architects is a challenge.  In the summer of 2019, I was contacted by one of my former Microsoft colleagues, who introduced me to Pablo and Pluralit.  Pablo offered me help to find seasoned enterprise consultants and senior Azure cloud architects.  Call it ‘Grey hair’ value: 15+ years on international enterprise environments – typically working for US firms with global reach.  We soon discovered Pluralit could find these consultants for us.  And could take ownership of the whole relocation process.  Today we are looking at a long-term partnership.  At 45 Degrees, we are looking at Pluralit consultants as our own (i.e. investing in them, developing them, discovering new business opportunities through them, etc.).

How does the collaboration work?

It starts with 45 Degrees articulating the person they are looking. We do this via a combination of job profiles, meetings, search keywords and quick feedback on CVs and interviews. This fluid iteration has been paramount to continuously enhance the operation of our on-site talent partnership.  Once the profile target is clear, Pluralit finds suitable candidates in Argentina and other LATAM countries, and discusses with them the opportunity to relocate to Belgium and work in a start-up energising environment.  Our in-house talent operation screens interested consultants for their technical competences and way beyond, including: suitable personality, English level, entrepreneurship, and motivations to relocate to Europe.  Those that succeed through this rigorous funnel get introduced to Diederik and Loes (HR Partner of 45 Degrees) for an interview, usually followed by a technical assessment with one of 45 Degrees’ architects. Once interest is firmed, all parties involved (45 Degrees, new consultant and Pluralit) agree contracting conditions and desired start date of work in Belgium.

How is the relocation organised?

The operating model is designed to preserve simplicity for the Cronos company, i.e.: 45 Degrees hires the services of the consultant via Pluralit Europe BV, our Belgium firm. And Pluralit Europe employs the consultant, hence fronting all the immigration and re-localisation process and associated costs. In simple terms, 45 Degrees accesses the consultant ‘as if’ she/he would be already a Belgium resident offering their services as a freelancer. This way of working requires an aligned long-term partnership mindset between the parties.

Our employee proposition goes beyond the required basics (permanent employment in Belgium + sponsoring the Work Permit). We aim to accompany our new employee and their family end2end during their relocation, including:

  • managing (and covering cost) the Work permit and Expat status processes.
  • advising on readiness to relocate.
  • managing (and covering cost) of family travel and temporary stay upon arrival in Belgium.
  • a comprehensive welcome service, ranging from providing the practical essentials (SIM, bank account, local residence) to advising and facilitating life-relevant decisions (where to live, languages, education preferences for children).

Our aim is to reduce the stress points inherent to any relocation and facilitate a solid family settlement into Belgium. This way our consultant can focus on the exciting challenges in their new work environment and their family can discover life in Belgium.

What is the impact over Covid-19?

Far from negligible! On Feb’20 our first consultant, Nacho Sellan, arrived to Belgium, following a 9-month period of preparation and investment. Just a few weeks later uncertainty and travel restrictions kicked in, halting our operation for 6 months.  Only by mid-August EU consular services restarted in non-EU countries like Argentina, which enabled us to reignite operations. Hence a couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure to welcome Esteban Fadel and Hernan Feder to the Pluralit Europe and 45 Degrees family in Mechelen!  Fortunately, we are well funded and have financial prudency in our DNA, so have emerged stronger and more resilient at the other side.  Having developed real experience this year despite Covid-19 has been very valuable. For instance, it has confirmed the cultural fit of our consultants in Belgium and the possibility to work effectively in English, perhaps two of the main areas anticipated for scrutiny during initial plans.

What are the future plans?

We are very pleased with our partnership and collaboration with Cronos! The entrepreneurial spirit and supportive, ‘can-do’ attitude have been evident and highly valued from the start.  Today we have 5 senior consultants working for Cronos companies in cloud, enterprise transformation and cyber security domains. We aim to triple this within the next 12 months… can’t help being ambitious I guess!! 😉  Having pioneered the Belgium on-site model with 45 Degrees, we now seek senior talent for other Cronos firms within the Bluu cluster (such as Arinti) and beyond (such as IS4U).

Pluralit also provides off-shore IT / digital services in a broad range of domains. We recently won our first Cronos off-shore engagement from Nimbuz for very specific operation services on the Microsoft System Center domain for one of their clients, which will be delivered by our specialists from Argentina. By off-loading these tasks, Nimbuz’ end-client regains valuable capacity in their core IT team to focus on their cloud migration journey, supported by 45 Degrees. And by having a Pluralit/45 Degrees consultant onsite, the orchestration is seamless.  For the end users it doesn’t feel like something is offshored, it feels like one team is operating for them.

Beyond BENELUX, we have been experimenting in the UK market for some time, and now plan a proper launch there. And we are looking beyond for a 3rd and perhaps 4th European country to expand our concept.  Whatever the future entails, one thing is certain: this exciting partnership with the Cronos family will keep us energised, young and far from bored in Belgium and beyond!

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