Develop globally and locally
50th anniversary of Sisa Studio Informatica taking place in an international context. The rapid pace of change in this hectic era is best gauged by looking at the world of IT, which plays an important role specifically in the customs clearance segment of Switzerland’s forwarding and logistics industry. Sisa, a developer of software for the sector, can celebrate its 50th anniversary safe in the knowledge that it’s the European linchpin of a global network.
If two players team up the result can easily grow into an enterprise. If someone takes a trip then the result may well be becoming part of a corporation.
That’s what happened to Sisa, at any rate. In 1972 Gianpaolo Carmagniola and Angelo Ferrazzini established Studio Informatica SA in Lugano, on the eponymous lake in the Swiss canton of Ticino. The IT company specialises in customs software for forwarders and logisticians.
At the beginning of 2020, long before this year’s golden jubilee, Sisa became a part of the Sydney-based Wisetech Global Group.
Arrive at a strategic decision
Roland Schumacher, Sisa’s managing director, took some time recently to tell ITJ editor-in-chief Christian Doepgen how developments this decade took this turn.
“The global business framework shapes a medium-sized firm’s ability to compete.”
“We faced the challenge of adapting our technological solutions to international and correspondingly diversified customs systems – and all this in a market that is equally characterised by consolidation as it is by a lack of qualified IT specialists.”
It’s no secret that large platforms with a global presence are the market leaders in many segments. In IT this is the reality. “This is the business framework that shapes a medium-sized firm’s ability to compete in the future,” Schumacher adds. This is why teaming up with a multinational partner was seriously considered. In the course of 2019 Sisa’s executives assessed the options and – having completed a due diligence process lasting several months – led it to success. “It was very valuable for us to discuss their strategy with to several potential partners,” Schumacher elaborated.
In the end the team opted for Wisetech Global, a global player with medium-sized roots founded by Richard White in Australia in 1994. White has simultaneously also been at the head of the group since said year, and has consistently pursued an internationalisation strategy.
Whilst Sisa operates as the Swiss arm of the group, Schumacher recently took over additional tasks related to other Wisetech locations in Europe.
A big step like that also involves new challenges. “It’s primarily our customers and employees who are our capital,” according to Schumacher. Thus he brought an external change manager on board to accompany the process at the time. He’s proud that all of Sisa’s employees stayed on board and seized the opportunity to work on the company’s new orientation.
Of customers, staff and technology
Keeping its customers satisfied is as important, of course, for they appreciate continuity and good products. The transition phase, in which the Cargowise software is being introduced, is thus correspondingly demanding. Why? “We’re currently running a parallel strategy of looking after existing software and simultaneously introducing new packages,” Schumacher explained.
“We’re our customers’ insurance policy that collaboration with the customs authorities will work.”
The far-reaching digital reform of the Swiss customs authority has proven to be very difficult to plan for. Its implementation phases have repeatedly been postponed. It remains to be seen whether the new ‘Passar’ goods traffic system, which is set to replace NCTS (transit and export) and e-dec (imports and exports), will actually be implemented from mid-2023. “We’re our customers’ insurance policy that collaboration with the customs authorities will work,” is how Schumacher describes Sisa’s core task with ‘Passar’.
Schumacher has a positive take on the coming years. “We’ll continue to develop products specific to Switzerland here in the country, transfer them to the cloud and, in close collaboration with the Swiss customs authorities, adapt them to our clients’ needs. Schumacher’s experience is that customers prefer to get all of their solutions from one IT partner. Sisa is well equipped to provide this in its international alliance with Wisetech.