'There is more demand': Ken Coyne is helping keep offices ticking over remotely
One of the Irish brothers behind Poland-based OpsTalent on managing the impact of Covid-19.
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IT HAS BEEN a busy couple of weeks for OpsTalent.
Set up in 2012 by Cork brothers Ken and Trevor Coyne, the Poland-based company builds software applications for its clients – including applications that assist with remote working, something that is quickly becoming a necessity for many businesses.
“Companies are asking for more support from us in the last two weeks,” he said. “There is more demand in the short term – a lot of companies are being more proactive and making sure everything is running correctly.”
Some of the company’s clients range from Revolut to HSBC, while its Irish customers include Flex-Fi and Irish-headquartered Kingspan.
Coyne said there is concern over future projects, with a lot of businesses halting their plans to see how the next few weeks pan out. “Projects that are currently running are ongoing but I am finding a lot of new projects going forward have been put on hold,” he said.
“It is a wait and see approach to see what companies are impacted (by the virus) so longterm that is a concern,” he said.
He is expecting business to be disrupted for two months and for things to return thereafter.
The company has a small office in Krakow, with a larger one in Wroclaw and employs over 160 people across its operations. The firm also has a multilingual customer support team that’s available 24/7 – and it builds teams and manages on clients’ behalf ‘so companies don’t have to set up an office in Poland’.
At the moment he said Poland has gone into lockdown, with everyone working from home – everything closed except for grocery shops.
“Everybody is quite nervous in terms of social distancing. So it is very quiet at the moment,” he explained.
Coyne and his brother are no strangers to uncertainty – having decided to leave Ireland during the recession. “We were in the pub business in Cork for years. We had pubs down there – we had a student bar there. I used to run the pub with my three other brothers. I was in college at the time,” he said.
“Then we got involved in property back in 2006 and it all went downhill very rapidly,” he said.
When the recession hit he moved to London with his brother – who met a Polish girl and ended up moving with her. “I ended up in Belgium but now we are back working together in Poland and my other brothers did separate things,” he said.
Coyne has found that it has been an exciting time to work on tech in Poland.
“There’s a lot of cutting edge technology and innovation here. I spoke to a guy who has set up a gaming company and built space satellites for it,” he explained. Coyne also runs a podcast called Poland Technology where he interviews various Polish tech founders.
“20 years ago businesses would have started here as a cost solution and access to talent at a good price which is very much operational focused. Now we are moving to quality talent and high tech innovation,” he said.
One of the positives he sees coming from the coronavirus is that businesses will be more open to remote working.
“I believe companies will see that they can actually do it, that it works and they will start to look at other options like distributed teams or look to other countries for talent,” he said.
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Note: This article was updated to correct the date that the business was started.