NCR is the employer with the biggest growth of the number of employees in Serbia in the past years. This American technological company with 135 years of tradition used to be primarily known in the world for cash registers and ATMs, whereas their operations today are primarily based on creating software solutions and providing various types of technical support to clients from the sectors of finance, retail, telecommunications and hospitality. NCR (National Cash Register), headquartered in Atlanta, USA, has transformed into a company which focuses on software and the provision of services thanks to a digital transformation of its operations in the past few years, although the hardware is still a part of the portfolio of the company's operations.
Around 10% of the total number of employees at NCR work in Serbia, making the country one of the strategic locations for the development, improvement and innovations in the domain of provision of technical support to clients worldwide.
More than 3,100 of the employees currently work in several locations in Belgrade, and in a few years all of them will work under the same roof, in a new campus, in an innovative and stimulating working environment, which will also encourage personal development and socializing. The announcement of the construction of the new campus was an occasion for us to interview Stefan Lazarevic, the General Manager of NCR Serbia and EMEA External Affairs Director, and learn more details about this project and the American company's further plans in Serbia.
eKapija: NCR has announced that the construction of the new campus will start this spring. Tell us something more about this project – what will the campus feature, how will it look and how much will it cost?
– The investment is worth around USD 90 million, and we have chosen an extremely attractive location in new Belgrade's Block 42, which is very well connected by traffic routes. The area meant for the campus will take up around 30,000 square meters, featuring two underground parking levels, a ground floor with retail and hospitality facilities and another seven floors of office space meant exclusively for our company. NCR employees will work in a modern environment with numerous additional features, such as education, relaxation, play and recreation rooms, a cafeteria, a cafe and others. We hope that all employees will feel good in this space, which will allow them to socialize and share ideas.
eKapija: Such a big project will certainly involve a lot of people. Which companies will you cooperate with in the realization of this project and have the contractors been selected?
– The campus in Belgrade will be quite similar to the new building in Atlanta where the headquarters of the NCR Corporation have been located since January 2018. Both campuses are based on the same idea – to provide space for the development of operations through innovations and an inspiring working environment for the employees. The campus in Belgrade will be a reflection of our company as a leader in digital operations, considering that the vision of the NCR Corporation is to become the leading software and service provider. Regarding the design, this campus will be adapted to the local culture, environment and weather conditions. For example, the campus here will feature lighter colors, as Belgrade has fewer sunny days than Atlanta. The construction should entail the use of the latest technologies when it comes to the realization of the facility, installations and interior equipment.
The facility will be designed and built in line with the internationally recognized certification program of building highly energy-efficient facilities, LEED Gold. Many technologies and standards used at the NCR Campus in Belgrade are the first of their kind in Serbia and can only be seen in the best business facilities in the most developed countries. Local and foreign experts from the USA and Great Britain are currently working on the project, and the contractor will be chosen in the upcoming months. A local company has been put in charge of the entire project, from beginning to end (defining technical characteristics, responsibility for the whole building, the selection of the contractor, guaranteeing quality...). In other words, we use the same model as in Atlanta.
eKapija: What is the planned schedule? When do you expect to move in?
– We expect the preparatory works to begin this spring, and we should move into the campus in late 2020 or by the end of March 2021.
eKapija: One of the reasons for this investment, we assume, is the fact that the number of employees at NCR is constantly growing. How many workers do you have at the moment and are new employments planned?
– The initial idea, eight years ago, when we started our operations in Serbia, was for NCR to first employ 300, possibly 600 workers, whereas today, it employs more than 3,100 talented, predominantly young people. We plan to reach the number of around 3,600 employees by the end of this year, and we expect to have around 4,000 in several years.
eKapija: Speaking of new employments, can you tell us what kind of candidates are you looking for?
– The basic requirements are the knowledge of English or another foreign language, for, example, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and others, as well as technical knowledge and IT skills, the degree of which depends on the position or the team the candidate is applying for. Lately, we have been employing more and more people from the fields of industrial engineering, software development, finance, analytics and similar fields. Working at NCR, our employees acquire unique experiences, as they have an opportunity to constantly perfect their skills, working directly with clients from all over the world. NCR fosters the kind of organizational culture in which constant learning and development, team spirit and dedication to clients are stimulated. We believe that happy employees are the key factor to a company's success and client satisfaction.
eKapija: It has been announced that, after this investment is realized, Belgrade will become NCR's regional center. What does this mean for the capital of Serbia?
– NCR has decided to invest in Serbia due to the large number of talented people, good infrastructure, positive economic trends and the state's support to investors. The opening of the campus will primarily contribute to the employment of a large number of people. I believe that the realization of this project, will, among other things, incite the creation of modern business processes based on digitalization and innovations. I expect that the number of business people coming to Serbia from abroad thanks to our companies will increase, and we will also revive a currently empty zone in the heart of New Belgrade.
Each week, two delegations of our clients visit the NCR in Belgrade on average. These are large world companies, leaders in their industries, whose representatives have not had the opportunity to visit Serbia before. We hope that our quick growth and the decision of the NCR Corporation to invest continuously in Serbia will have a positive impact on the arrival of other foreign investors, but also the development of new innovative local companies. Also, the growth and the further development of NCR contribute to the budget of Serbia through taxes and contributions, which we pay regularly, as a responsible company and a conscientious employer. In the upcoming period, we plan to strengthen the relations and the exchange of ideas with the startup and the academic communities in Serbia through various forms of cooperation. We believe that the campus will help us achieve that, considering the experience of our colleagues from Atlanta.