With businesses across all industries investing heavily in e-commerce, the demand for technical expertise has grown exponentially in the last few years. The pandemic further accelerated this trend and put a lot of pressure on the e-commerce service providers to scale and meet the demand.
In Bulgaria there are 15+ companies, operating within the Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) ecosystem. Some of them with 200+ people, and growing. But to truly turn the country into a regional hub for e-commerce tech solutions, SFCC companies need access to talent to address the demand of customers and the high speed of the market.
“In business, it’s growing or dying”, says Slavi Slavov, the VP Delivery at AIOPSGROUP, a company, providing digital solutions for global brands such as IKEA, Puma, and Rossignol.
“We realize that we must scale. Each of the SFCC companies has rejected a significant amount of business over the last months due to a lack of people”, Slavov tells The Recursive.
To solve this problem, seven companies (AIOPSGROUP, Isobar, Tryzens, Merkle, ZaUtre, ForkPoint, C4Nexus) joined forces and instead of competing for talent, chose to cooperate in training and upskilling it. In partnership with Telerik Academy, they launch a 3-month program for Salesforce Commerce Cloud Developers with the aim to make the e-commerce development more popular across the developers’ community.
Stefan Stoyanovski, the Growth Manager for Europe at Isobar Commerce Center of Excellence believes that the only way forward is through partnerships that would enable growth. He points out that the pandemic made the competition in the sector fiercer and talent deficits have skyrocketed. “We all have a common understanding that to be successful, we need to set foundations that would allow us to grow, so what better way than to train the future of e-commerce today?”, Stoyanovski adds.
Web developers who want to understand the business
The program is free and open to admissions until the 10th of October.
It is designed to be easily combined with jobs or studies, as the classes are held in the evenings and online.
The program will cover the fundamentals of the e-commerce business while delving into the specifics of the SFCC platform. Participants will get a hold of how the entire Salesforce Commerce Cloud system works and what an online store really means. The program will cover topics such as API integrations, security, data protection, etc. The trainees will have multiple tutors specialized in different areas of the product.
“The first version of the academy will be primarily focused on the SFCC technology, so they will understand how it works and gain hands-on experience on various tasks. This will allow them to immediately start working on projects once they graduate successfully”, Plamen Mihaylov, managing partner at ForkPoint explains.
“Solving a problem is not just about writing a code, but understanding the client’s business need or issue and resolving it by applying technology. In many cases, this requires out-of-the-box thinking, lots of research on how e-commerce works in specific markets, and sometimes understanding legal restrictions or requirements in some countries”, Georgi Zapryanov, co-founder of C4 Nexus explains.
The goal of the upskill program is to nurture independent and strong analytical minds, adds Dimitar Peev, co-founder and CTO of ZaUtre. “Hopefully, they will discover that what matters the most in being an SFCC developer is the same as what matters the most in any other human activity – commitment, understanding of the whole and its parts”, Peev says.
Bulgaria’s potential to become an e-commerce regional hub
The long-term goal of the SFCC upskill academy is to make e-commerce development more popular in the job market.
“E-commerce technologies are not as popular in Bulgaria due to the local perception that it is not challenging enough and not impactful enough for people to work in this business”, Georgi Zapryanov, co-founder of C4 Nexus says. But together the companies can reach out to a broader audience and change that perception by showing how their work helps brands and retailers make billions online, he explains.
In addition, through the cooperative approach companies share the cost and the work on the preparation of the program. “By joining forces, we can offer very high-quality training without taking away key people for long periods”, Kaloyan Yordanov, EVP Delivery at Tryzens explains.
All companies agree that Bulgaria is on the path to becoming a regional hub for e-commerce and SFCC solutions. The foundations were laid 15 years ago when international e-commerce companies started building their nearshore centers in Bulgaria. There’s already an expert knowledge accumulated, but it needs to reach a broader pool of people to attract more global attention.
“We are already a key player in the e-commerce market, with many leading service providers delivering from Bulgaria. The rapid spike in demand for e-commerce talents is a significant change for us to establish as a major center of excellence for e-commerce services. It all depends on our ability to scale and maintain the high quality we have been delivering through the years”, Kosta Yordanov, EVP Delivery at Tryzens says.
Slavi Slavov from AIOPSGROUP adds that Bulgaria offers a good balance between cost and quality. “While countries such as Ukraine have bigger capacity than us, they cost more and are outside of the EU so even legislation, data protection rules such as GDPR work in our favor”, he explains.
According to Slavov in order to train more e-commerce developers, the business needs to have better connections with universities and organize proper training there.
“We need to scale the businesses and attract Salesforce to invest more in the region. The next step we are looking for is to build better awareness of the product and continue doing the training regularly”, Plamen Mihaylov, managing partner at ForkPoint concludes.