Ranked as the 2nd biggest technology company in Vietnam by Vinasa (2016), NashTech, part of Harvey Nash Group plc, is one of the most desirable workplaces for IT practitioners and engineers. Mr Paul Smith, CEO of NashTech Vietnam, has shared the journey of NashTech in Vietnam throughout the past 20 years.
NashTech – A journey in Vietnam
In 1998, Harvey Nash entered Vietnam’s market while Internet was first launched in Vietnam. Why did Harvey Nash decide to invest and start from scratch? What potential did you see in such a new, underdeveloped market at that time?
In 1998 the Internet, or the World Wide Web as it is known, was not used much internationally, let alone in Vietnam. Thus, we were not looking to develop an Internet-based company, but a people-based one. We wanted to have young people who were productive, able to respond to technology development requirements and understand international business as well as learn and communicate in English properly. At that time, Vietnam’s market was emerging. That’s why we chose Vietnam.
Presented in Vietnam for 20 years as Harvey Nash and recently re-positioning its software development division as NashTech in 2016, what has NashTech Vietnam achieved?
Up to now, NashTech has become the number two technology company in Vietnam’s market. Our business operates in 42 offices worldwide and it is the strongest business of Vietnam in Europe. We are also one of the most sustainable companies in Vietnam with innovation at our heart and seeing significant business growth.
Can you share some projects completed by NashTech that you are proud of?
A really good example of recent work we have done is that we developed the automatic parking technology used by car manufacturer, Ford. It enables Ford cars to use GPS to find a parking location nearby, then guide them to park in the identified lot. It also reminds the users when the parking time is coming to an end. That technology is now going worldwide.
Another example of innovation is for a major Asian property development company. We have developed Hololens technology which enables potential buyers to view an apartment, walk around it, and even place furniture in situ to get a feel for what it would be like to live there.
All of these innovations are developed by the people at NashTech Vietnam.
What is the vision of development of NashTech in the future?
Our vision is to develop our team as technology and business innovators. We are looking to double our size in the next two years. We see our people as the biggest future, so we focus on talent development, making sure they are well trained, well developed and well looked after. In return, we get high productivity. We make sure everyone is kept up to date with the latest trends and get as much opportunity as we can to give them direct experience of these technologies. At the moment, we are focusing on wearable technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more traditional technology such as cloud.
In your opinion, how has the IT industry in Vietnam changed over the last 20 years? Where does IT stand in the region and the world?
The market has matured. When we first came here, nobody had the experience of developing for international clients, the technology and computer science skills were not as strong as they are today. There were only few people in the market who really understood technology and international demands. Now the industry has developed rapidly. There is a much bigger pool of IT talent with a lot of experience. Additionally, IT is now one of six sectors of growth in the future as committed to by the Vietnamese government.
Speaking frankly, it’s still nowhere compared to India or China, in terms of the volume of people and maturity of the market. But Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi individually are both now ranked in the top 50 for technology outsourcing. Over the next five years, I believe the technology industry in Vietnam will grow more and gradually move away from outsourcing to innovation and invention.
That’s because of the talent in Vietnam. Vietnamese people are very different, they are creative, want to turn their ideas to reality and contribute to make clients’ projects better. When they are interested, they are really productive. That’s what we are looking for.
What has NashTech done to attract and develop IT talent?
Our first priority is talent development. We want to ensure everyone gets trained, be challenged and developed. What we do is to get our talent to gain more experience by working on international projects for some of the most innovative companies in the world, such as Google, Ford and NSK which, in turn, helps them improve their language skills and improve their experience on their CVs.
That is where they gain experience, knowledge and be more valuable in the future.
We have fantastic social life with all sorts of activities and events. We treat our female and male employees equally and around 50% of our employees are female, many of whom have joined us for their career development.
Do you have any advice for IT graduates to be more competitive?
University graduates, when applying for their first job, should ask themselves “How can I develop my career?” An average person works for at least 40 years. They should think about what they will gain in 10 years’ time, not 1 years’ time. It is all about patience.
For example, Mr Nguyen Hung Cuong, General Director of NashTech Vietnam, joined NashTech as a junior manager in 2005. He has followed his career plan and used NashTech to develop his skills. As a consequence, he now leads our business in Vietnam.
So, be patient. The person focused on developing their skills, experiences and career will be the person who wins in the end. And NashTech guarantees to offer a long-term career that allows people to develop their expertise.
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