SSII: a definition, and a list of the best ESNs in Switzerland!

SSII: a definition and a list of the best ESNs in Switzerland!

Find out what an IT services company is, what it does and which are the best ones in Switzerland. If you’re looking to work with an IT services company in Switzerland, our guide will help you find the right solution. 💡

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Do you come across terms like ‘IT services company’ and ‘digital services company’ without really being able to tell them apart? Are you hesitating over whether to hire qualified staff or delegate your IT project to an IT services company? Qim info is here to answer your questions about IT companies.

We’re an IT services company ourselves, founded in 2004. This article is aimed both at companies wondering whether they should call on the services of an IT services company, and also at future talent considering working for an IT services company. With our versatility, 600 employees and 120 customers from all walks of life, we’re delighted to introduce you to our industry and dispel a few myths about IT companies.

Let us guide you through this vast sector of new technologies.

Defining an IT services company

How does an IT services company differ from a digital services company, and why has the term changed in recent years? Here are a few explanations.

What does "IT services company" mean?

The term “IT services company” denotes a company offering services in the field of IT and new technologies. The aim of an IT services company is to support a customer’s IT project, and it generally incorporates a number of different professions. At Qim info, our personnel cover more than fifteen professions, some more technically oriented, such as Front-End/Back-end/Fullstack Developer, and others more focused on corporate culture, such as Agile Coach.

What's the difference between the terms "IT services company" and "digital services company"?

The answer to that is straightforward: there isn’t one!. Both terms refer to a service company specializing in IT and new technologies. So why do the French acronyms ESN (“digital services company”) and SSII (“IT services company”) coexist, and are they used interchangeably?

Surprisingly, this name change is purely political! In 2013, the Syntec Numérique employers’ association decided to replace the category “SSII” with “ESN” for three reasons:

  1. To mitigate the overly technical nature of IT services companies by emphasizing the notion of service.
  2. To cover the entirety of digital services, which have evolved considerably and whose services are now much more varied than the initial tasks of integration, maintenance and technical assistance.
  3. To improve the reputation of IT companies, which was fairly poor at the time.

Let’s take a look at the role played by an IT services company.

What is the role of an IT services company?

The role of an IT services company is to offer its expertise in terms of IT solutions and services in a Business to Business (B2B) model.. Indeed, the client companies often need to outsource these elements beyond their own IT departments.

IT services companies’ missions can be divided into two main areas:

  1. Advice, training and assistance for users In short, an IT services company’s mission is to communicate and build relationships with its customers. This may not be as well-known as the more technical services we provide, but it is essential. At Qim info, we make it a point of honor to listen to our customers and advise them on the best solutions for meeting their needs. Our people skills are one of our strengths.
  2. More technical services, including facilities management (maintenance, software test management, infrastructure management, business process outsourcing) and systems integration (architecture, development, technical assistance and software sales) are, of course, the best-known services.

Another important point is that IT services companies cater to all customers, for all types of projects Whether you’re part of a small company or a major corporation, whether you work in medicine or luxury retail, you may need to call on the services of an IT services company.

At Qim info, we work for companies in sectors ranging from watchmaking and trading to public administration. We currently have customers from over 10 different sectors.

We treat each customer’s project with the same attention to detail, and ensure that our solutions are tailored to their specific requirements. To find out more, we invite you to read our article about our IT group.

How do IT services companies work?

Generally speaking, an IT services company operates on an assignment basis. These assignments vary depending on the customer’s needs and the contract signed (daily rate or fixed price). The size, internal structure and business model of IT services companies also have an impact on the services they offer customers.

The assignments

An IT services company can offer to take on various types of assignments. That’s what we do at Qim info, with:

  • Delegation This is our core business. We can provide you with one or more consultants who can bring your IT project to fruition. Delegation is more commonly used when the customer’s request requires a reduced number of steps between the initial request and final realization.
  • Our Center of Expertise This is a service that involves a consultant or an entire team, and for which we make a commitment either in terms of resources (with support), or in terms of results (on a project).

Our Center of Expertise has 6 departments:

Methods

IT services companies rely on several levers to carry out their missions. Their operating methods are based on:

  • Customer prospecting
  • Needs analysis
  • Solution design and development
  • Project implementation
  • Tool training
  • Maintenance
  • Service billing

And on the inside? An IT services company is divided into two main families of employees.

Employees

First, there are the Business Managers. On the customer side, these are the ones who canvass potential business customers, and it’s with them that you negotiate contracts. Internally, their role is also to support the consultants. This is what we do at Qim info: each employee is supported by a Business Manager on a daily basis, not least so as to prepare them as well as possible for each new assignment entrusted to them.

Then there are the consultants who work with you to implement and ensure the functionality of the IT solutions you’ve chosen. At Qim info, our people are our greatest asset, and the human dimension is paramount. With over 600 employees, we have opened a new branch in Geneva, bringing together experts from our Center of Expertise to support you with all your IT projects. What’s more, beyond these visible roles, we don’t forget the essential behind-the-scenes teams, dedicated to administration, finance, accounting, communications and event organization, who keep our company running smoothly and dynamically.

Last but not least, some IT services companies have a team dedicated to recruitment. That’s the choice we’ve made at Qim info: to find the best talents to bring your projects to fruition. Our hiring process is based ontwo principles we hold dear: transparency and trust. The diversity and richness of our consultants’ profiles are a real strength! We bring together a wide range of skills to offer a unique response tailored to each customer’s needs.

The benefits of working with an IT services company in Switzerland

Are you considering using a Swiss IT services company? To help you with your thoughts, here’s a list of the benefits of working with an IT company.

Expertise

Your time is precious and you need the best experts to take care of your IT requirements. IT services companies put a large team of employees at your disposal, each specializing in a particular field.

Partners

IT services companies work with IT suppliers and negotiate the best rates for their customers. At Qim info, we partner with Gold Microsoft. We work closely with Nintex, AWS Partner, Fortinet and TD Synnex, to name but a few.

Cost reduction

Contrary to popular belief, working with an IT services company can be less costly than hiring new staff and setting up training programs. High-quality training takes time and money. By delegating your IT project to an IT services company, you win on both counts.

Flexibility

An IT services company listens to your needs and is able to offer you an adapted solution, taking any constraints you may have into account. Flexibility is in fact one of our watchwords here at Qim info. If a standard solution suits you in every respect, we opt for that one; if you need more customization, we’ll meet your requirements.

Reliability

An IT services company is familiar with the security and quality standards, as well as the regulatory frameworks to be respected, in order to guarantee the reliability of your IT system. It also masters the issues of tool compatibility, to make your IT system as efficient as possible.

That’s why working with an IT services company in Switzerland is such a cost-effective solution. Delegating an IT service allows you to stay focused on your core business, saving time and improving efficiency.

List of IT services companies' areas of expertise

As mentioned above, the areas of expertise covered by IT services companies are vast. This is why some IT services companies tend to specialize in a few areas, while others choose to offer a wide range of services. Qim info has opted for this second route: we favor versatility, in order to meet the needs of any customer, in any sector of activity. Our aim is to take your project from start to finish, without ever asking you to call in another IT services company to carry out a particular stage of your project.

What’s more, the services we offer are aligned with customer demand and the new needs that emerge as technologies evolve. And they’re evolving fast! It’s for that reason, in fact, that we decided to create our own Center of expertise: The aim is to remain at the cutting edge of innovation in all technological fields.

Our Performance & Observability department

Our sixth department’s mission is to optimize your IT system’s performance. We are reinforcing our expertise in load and performance testing, continuous performance engineering, application performance monitoring, rapid performance diagnostics, strategy and governance, and also resilience and reliability.

Right now, we can identify 3 areas of expertise for IT services companies where demand is increasing:

  • Cloud Computing is becoming increasingly widespread: it enables companies to manage large volumes of data and secure them more easily than with an on-premises strategy. However, making the right choices and managing several types of Clouds is not something you can improvise on, and that’s why we offer our services in Cloud Consulting. We also invite you to take a look at our detailed article on the Cloud.
  • Security With the digitalization of businesses, every company, from the smallest to the largest, uses computer data that is essential to its activity. As a result, IT services companies offer not only data security procedures to guard against the risk of theft or loss, but also recovery or continuation plans should the worst happen.
  • Outsourcing and maintenance : IT services companies are often asked to manage an IT system, without being part of the client company’s team. These services can be provided remotely or face-to-face.

When is it a good idea to call in an IT services company?

We have already set out the benefits of working with an IT services company, and now we can list the cases when this is the best option:

  • You don’t need to hire a full-time IT specialist, but require one or more one-off interventions
  • You need expert advice
  • You want to implement an IT strategy
  • Your IT project is a complex one
  • You want to improve a tool or a process
  • You need some training
  • You want to outsource the maintenance, security and management of your tools
  • You’re short of time

In all these cases, the IT services company will be your best ally.

For how long is it worth your while to be supported by an IT services company?

If you’re looking for an IT services company for a long-term project (design of a new tool, maintenance, ongoing development, tool management, etc.), then the collaboration could last several years. If you’re calling on an IT services company for a one-off assignment (setting up a new system or updating an existing one), then the support will last for a few weeks, or even a few months.

How much do IT services cost in Switzerland?

This is a key question. The cost of IT services depends on several factors:

  • The services requested
  • The company’s location
  • The length of the assignment
  • The complexity of the project
  • The qualifications of the employees assigned to the project

The cost is thus highly variable, and depends entirely on a series of factors specific to each company, but also on the IT services company concerned, its business model and the specifics of your request.

What concrete results can you expect to get from an IT services company?

Here’s the part we’ve all been waiting for: the results! Expertise, reliability, flexibility and cost reduction: the benefits of working with an IT services company are manifold. To be more specific, here is a list of results you can expect to get from an IT services company:

  • Improved quality of service for customers: If the tools you implement have a direct impact on them, the involvement of an IT services company will soon make itself felt in your customer feedback.
  • Optimized operational efficiency Your employees can work more efficiently on repetitive or time-consuming tasks, and thus optimize their productivity.
  • Optimal adaptability to new IT tools
  • Advice and technical support

In this way, an IT services company can offer you significant improvements in the fields of security, quality and digital performance.

List of the most popular IT services companies in Switzerland

There are several IT services companies in Switzerland. Each competes with the rest in terms of innovation and professionalism.

For just under 10 years, the ICT Journal rankings have been ranking the 100 largest ESNs in French-speaking Switzerland by number of employees.

Qim info came third in the ranking in 2022. We are also number 1 in Geneva and 3rd in Lausanne. Founded in 2004, our IT services company has offices in Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Zurich and Annecy. Qim info demonstrates its expertise through its delegation service, which provides a transparent, personalized response to every project. Capable of intervening at all levels of your information system, we support you on a daily basis to help you realize your goals.

ICT Journal’s rankings also include other well-known names in the IT sector in French-speaking Switzerland, such as the ones listed below, which, together with Qim info, make up the top 5.

  • Swisscom Business Customers
  • ELCA Informatique SA
  • Sword Group
  • Mantu

Our guide to working with the best IT services company

Have you decided to take the plunge and work with an IT services company? If the process of choosing an IT services company seems complex, here are our top tips.

How should you go about choosing your IT services company?

To help you refine your search for an IT services company, we’ve put together a few criteria for you to consider.

Specializations

To narrow down your search, first define the specific needs that your company has. To do this, draw up a precise inventory of your needs and compare them with the expertise offered by the various companies. Which one seems to provide the most comprehensive response to your needs?

You can also make the values that are important to you a key part of your search. For a successful collaboration, it’s important to share the same convictions.

Reputation

It’s no secret that an IT services company’s reputation plays a decisive role. So don’t hesitate to take a look at the customer reviews on Glassdoor, or ask your contacts. Qim info is proud of its 4.1/5 rating and 91% recommendation rate! Glassdoor

You can also draw on your customer portfolio. Find out about the collaborations carried out by the various IT services companies, and what has been put in place. You can then search for information on the various use cases and the results obtained from these collaborations. Customer testimonials are also an excellent indicator of what you can expect. We invite you to read the QimCase section on our site, which sets out several of our achievements, as well as testimonials from our customers.

How can you optimize the results of your collaboration with an IT services company?

Once you’ve found the IT services company that’s right for you, it’s important to ensure that your collaboration runs smoothly. Here are a few pointers.

Establish fluid communication

For a successful collaboration, nothing beats good communication! Don’t skimp on brainstorming: this is the ideal time to discuss your respective ideas and choose the best options. Thereafter, set up recurring checkpoints throughout the assignment, so that you can exchange views as you go along and make any necessary adjustments.

Tracking the results

At these points, you can evaluate the results. Observe how they have evolved, then discuss what could be done to maintain or improve your results. It’s important to establish a precise KPI system, so that the results are as clearly visible as possible.

Is there a ranking of Switzerland's top IT services companies?

As it happens, there are several, including the ICT classification. Provided for just under 10 years by ICT Journal, this annual ranking lists the 100 largest IT companies in French-speaking Switzerland. Among them is Qim info, which has been on the list since 2016. After rising from eighth place to third, Qim info is proud of its progress and has no intention of stopping there! If you are interested in the details of this ranking, read our article ESN : Ranking and list of the best digital services companies in Switzerland.

Are there any IT services companies to avoid in Switzerland?

To suggest that certain IT services companies should be avoided seems rather over-the-top. However, it’s clear that a particular IT services company may not be right for a specific company or project, so we encourage you to find out more about the IT services company that interests you.

One of the selection criteria we haven’t mentioned is perhaps the most important of all: how do you feel about your contact person there? Does the IT services company provide you with a dedicated contact person? To put it plainly, does the IT services company give you the attention and personalized service you need? At Qim info, we position ourselves as a trusted, local partner, building a long-lasting, fruitful relationship with you.

FAQ: Our guide for (future) IT services company employees

Future IT service providers, we haven’t forgotten you! If you’re thinking about joining an IT services company, our guide will help you narrow down your choice.

If you’re still having trouble making up your mind, here are some of the advantages of working for an IT services company:

  • Gain expert status in the eyes of your customers
  • Carry out a variety of assignments
  • Perfect and diversify your skills
  • Build a professional network
  • Benefit from an attractive remuneration package
  • Receive support from the IT services company’s Business Manager
  • Receive training during inter-contract (or inter-mission) periods, something we offer at Qim info.

To find out more about the benefits of working for an IT services company, why not join the Qim info adventure?

Certain disadvantages are sometimes mentioned:

  • The fast pace of the work
  • Frequent travel (moving from one customer to another)
  • A mismatch between the consultant’s skills and the assignment proposed

However, let’s be wary of generalizations: every IT services company is different and they do not all necessarily have these characteristics. At Qim info, the well-being of each and every employee is our top priority. The HappyIndex®AtWork label in Switzerland and France. We are committed to training our employees, supporting them and ensuring that every assignment they are offered is fulfilling.

In all cases, we recommend that you carry out thorough research before making your choice, and don’t hesitate to talk to former employees in order to fully understand the challenges that IT services companies take on and their corporate culture.

You can read testimonials from our employees in the QimFamily section of our site, in particular those of Benjamin, one of our Center of expertise managers; Arthur and Liviu-Daniel, who have benefited from training financed by Qim info, or Floriane, who has progressed within Qim info to become Scrum Master.

As you can see, IT services companies offer a wide range of specializations, with a wide variety of professional profiles. However, certain profiles stand out from the crowd and are highly sought-after by IT services companies:

  • DevOps integration engineers
  • Back-End developers
  • Front-End developers
  • Fullstack developers
  • Business analysts
  • Project managers

Do you recognize yourself in any of these profiles? Don’t wait any longer – check out our Qim info recruitment page.

Generally speaking, IT services companies offer competitive salaries. However, it’s important to bear in mind that salaries vary from one IT services company to another, depending on the consultant’s experience, qualifications and profile.

The inter-assignment period is the period during which an employee is not assigned to a project. This happens when a project comes to an end, is cancelled, or when the current projects don’t match their expertise. During this period, the employee generally works on in-house assignments for the IT services company. The inter-assignment period is often described as uncomfortable, but don’t worry: IT services companies do their utmost to minimize this time.

For some, like Qim info, these are even treated as important moments in the support given to employees. The periods between assignments enable us to offer our staff training so that they acquire new skills and certification, and feel ready for their next assignment.

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