Everything in the Universe has its own story – people, animals, things… the Universe itself has a story. And usually, it all starts with one sparkle, one idea to make things better, or ease people’s lives. 2020 has been all about going back to our roots, to the basics, to who we are, and how we have started. Thus, before entering 2021, we decided to share the story of ⋮IW or the idea behind our company.
Connecting to the world
It all started back in 2004, on one cold Monday morning, in one small city in North Macedonia – Bitola, when a group of enthusiastic programmers, set together and started writing the history of IWConnect The place was so small, and looked like a garage, but actually, it wasn’t. It was just a small space on the ground floor, and it definitely didn’t have the smell of a garage. It had the smell of creativity and optimism. We turned on our desktop computers (laptops, as we know them today, were still not invented) and connected to the Internet via our Dial-Up modem… And we connected to America!!! We had an optimistic idea to do programming for America (afterward we learned that Outsourcing is the proper name for that activity).
We knew that “some” guys from China and India are already there, but who cares! We were there as well! A handful of top experts armed with nothing but a great vision and expert programming background. Lunatics? Maybe. But our idea was that IT has limitless possibilities and if leveraged properly it can lead to tremendous business growth. And that is how it all started.
Connecting to TIBCO Business Works and expanding
In the beginning, we were working with technologies that were not mainstream in the city and in the country: Java, WebLogic Server, and Oracle as a database backend. The product that we have started building at that time relied on TIBCO, and that was our first encounter with this stellar technology, which soon became the basis upon which InterWorks brand was built upon along with Java. We were the only ones that were dealing with TIBCO Business Works in the region, and we were extremely proud of it.
Realizing the potential that TIBCO BW offers, as well as the immense number of other technologies that we can learn and use to provide value to our clients, we had to expand in terms of people. And even within the first 6 months, the number of people in the office grew significantly – facing us with a nice and positive challenge – looking for a new office. That was our first office expansion. We weren’t working in a “garage” anymore. Instead, we were working from a nice office in Bitola’s heart. The atmosphere within the walls of our new office was just as it was at the beginning – warm, creative, and positive all the time.
Learn, Grow, Inspire, Connect, Succeed
Our thirst for knowledge and contribution has always been on the highest level and when working in an industry that is changeable all the time, we have realized that the educational system can satisfy neither the market needs nor ours and client’s needs. Thus, we have started a collaboration with an educational center where we sponsored a group of 15 candidates to learn Java development and later explore the field of Enterprise Data Integration (as this was our base). Once the course finished, a part of them became employed in our company. We have kept this practice of teaching, learning, growing, sharing knowledge, and contributing to all those that want to learn even today via our ⋮IW Education Center (IWEC).
Fast forward to 2007 and the global financial crisis
In 2007, our portfolio of technologies expanded with Hibernate, Ajax and DWR (Direct Web Remoting), Web Logic Portal, Fuego BPM, and many others on the list. It was during 2007 that one client from the US decided to visit this small, yet big company focused on knowledge and providing outstanding value to its clients. There is nothing more important than to become connected to your clients both online and offline – this is something that we really pay attention to and have cherished ever since.
In just four years, the number of employees exceeded 50, making the office again small and asking for a new one where all our ideas would fit. That’s when our second office expansion happened and soon after it, we have moved to the place where we are now.
The period from 2007-2008 or as we know the global financial crisis closed down many companies and caused severe financial losses. We are grateful that during that period we managed to remain steady and thriving without losing any projects or people. A big thanks goes to everyone that was with us during this period. Once the crisis was over, the market started flourishing again and we continued growing and expanding as previously. Meanwhile, we have been working on big projects for marquee clients providing full-stack development services. Being involved in this type of projects enabled us to expand even more in terms of technologies, services, and solutions, and in 2009 we have experienced a great expansion of our QA services, especially our Extended Unit Testing (EUT) model.
Networking and collaboration
Once the world got back on its feet, we signed a memorandum for collaboration with the University in Bremen and started working on Micro B3 project – a project financed by EU with the main objective to create an integrative database, open to researchers worldwide and features many innovative tools for data analysis, and to develop a legal framework for genome-based environmental research. It was interesting being part of a project of this kind.
Moving towards the end of the first ten years of existence, ⋮IW also became part of Microsoft Partner Network as a Gold Partner with Microsoft full-stack developers, tons of libraries, participation in the open-source community, and certifications.
Throughout this period, we have also been part of a lot of conferences, and we have organized social gatherings which included mountain climbing – Pelister, Jakupica, Solunska Glava, Vigla, and many others were easily conquered. We weren’t just developers, but also nature lovers and sports people, something which usually doesn’t go together.
Ten years went by in a flash. Challenges, happy moments, difficult times, projects, new technologies, new friendships, social gatherings, events… painted the picture of ⋮IW and we were ready for the next period.
Major Changes at ⋮IW
They say change is inevitable, but growth is optional. The world that we are living in is dynamic and ever-changing, and surviving in it means being flexible and ready to adapt to the changes happening in the marketplace. In fact, change has always been the norm in all aspects.
The first ten years of existence established a solid ground for InterWorks to grow, prosper and change, leading to the next five years which have been all about improvements to ensure the delivery of exponential value to our clients. Many things happened during this period, but we will highlight only some of them:
Enterprise Data Integration with TIBCO BW has been our basis. Because our clients have different needs, and the market is huge, we have added another integration platform to our portfolio – SnapLogic. To increase the value we add, in 2015 we became partners with SnapLogic. And it was only after a year, that we have started using MuleSoft to optimize and maximize clients’ businesses.
In 2016 we became an official Atlassian Solution Partner and licensed seller of Atlassian products. Our goal was to expand so much to be able to provide solutions that will tackle every specific need that our clients might have. And besides Atlassian, we have also explored the fields of ServiceNow and Salesforce.
In September 2018 we renewed our Microsoft partnership, gaining an additional gold competency for Data Platform, and one year later, we added gold competency for DevOps, thus making a total of 4 Gold competencies.
To ensure faster and quality development of software and applications that will enable our clients to optimize their business processes at their fullest and experience faster time to market, in 2018 we also became partners with Inflectra and XRay.
People & Offices
Realizing that to continue providing exponential value to our clients means growing not only in terms of technologies but also people and opening new offices, in 2018 the number of people employed at InterWorks exceeded 100. This was the year when we opened our second office in Prilep, North Macedonia. The following year, we opened our office in the capital city of North Macedonia – Skopje, and after several months we expanded in the Dutch market by opening our fourth office in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
⋮IW Education Center
Educating young individuals and employing them in our company is proven to be the best solution to the recruiting problems in the IT industry. Thus, following our well-established and long practice of sharing knowledge, we opened our ⋮IW Education Center in 2019. Within the first year of operating, more than 100 students enrolled, 70% got employed in the IT sector out of which 50% are employed at ⋮IW. Working at full speed, our IWEC offers courses in different areas in IT – integration, .NET development, quality assurance, project management, etc.
And this is not everything, during these 5 years we have changed a lot, expanded in a great deal, we had some of the greatest team-building events and visits to conferences and more. In 2019 we had our 15 years anniversary party as well, where we reflected on our beginnings, achievements, happy and sad moments, and set the tone for the next period.
To be continued to…2020 at ⋮IW
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