Across the world, there’s a growing demand for IT professionals as entire industries embark on digital transformation. However, there remains a global shortage of talented IT professionals to meet this demand. Having recognised this phenomenon and seeking to address it, in 2017 Anna Kalm and Patrik Alm founded Ascentic.
Since its founding, the company has quickly become a specialist in developing scalable and future-proof cloud solutions. Catering exclusively to the Swedish market, its services cover everything from setting up robust infrastructure and architecture to designing smooth user interfaces for devices.
Recognised as one of the Best Places to Work in Asia, Ascentic comprises a team of 90+ technology professionals. Working together as fellow Ascenders in the shared belief of having a healthy work culture is a priority while creating innovative solutions enabling its clients to gain the most out of technology.
The Swedish Connection
While in Sweden and working at Microsoft, Anna was tasked with helping partners of Microsoft to scale their development and sales of Microsoft technology-based solutions. However, she noticed, “We had a situation where the demand for digital solutions was growing rapidly. There were skilled developers in Sweden, but the number wasn’t enough to cope with the demand.” The situation meant Swedish tech companies often turned down lucrative projects simply because they didn’t have enough developers on hand.
Later, Anna and Patrik took a trip to Sri Lanka and it wasn’t long before they fell in love with what the country had to offer. Seeking to build a life in the island nation, the duo began exploring different options. Anna investigated the local IT sector to explore the possibility of continuing her career. “I learned that there were a lot of skilled developers in Sri Lanka. It was an ideal location to start a business to help organisations in Sweden with their technical projects.”
Thus, in 2017, Ascentic was born. In just four short years, the company has grown rapidly, expanding its workforce while strengthening its position as a digital solutions provider for Swedish companies. “The companies we work with mostly range from small to mid-size in scale. We work with companies building digital solutions for the healthcare industry, fin-tech, insurance, IT consultancy and various other industries,” shared Anna describing their client base.
Further, the willingness of Swedish companies to embrace the newest technologies has allowed Ascentic to develop unique expertise and stay ahead of the curve. Sharing a few examples, Anna pointed to Qvalia and Cuviva. With its cloud-based e-invoice software platform, Qvalia works to redefine financial processes for corporations through automation. Meanwhile, Cuviva is creating a digital ecosystem for effective and sustainable distributed care, based on human needs and individual circumstances. Ascentic is a critical partner in helping such companies make their digital visions a reality.
Building one of the best places to work in Asia
Along the way on their journey of growth, Anna shares they’ve faced their fair share of challenges. Yet, the Ascentic formula is an optimistic one of, “failing fast and moving on from setbacks and then figuring out how to improve moving forward.” It’s a formula that’s worked well in the company’s favour.
One such hurdle Ascentic faced in its earliest days was recruiting great talent when the Sri Lankan IT industry had its fair share of established brands. Anna and Patrik realised that Ascentic needed to have something extraordinary if they were to attract skilled professionals to join them. Hence, they invested heavily in developing a great working culture.
“At Ascentic, we believe that if you have a healthy work environment, where you feel comfortable, that you can be yourself, that you can share your ideas and that they will be valued, you will be more productive, motivated, and better enabled to reach your full professional potential. We’ve had that focus from the first day of the business,” said Anna describing the philosophy they adopted.
With that in mind, Ascentic held onto the goal of becoming one of the best places to work in Sri Lanka by 2021. Little did they know that Ascentic ascended above and beyond, ranking among the Best Places to Work in Asia. The company was also listed as one of the Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka and among the 15 Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka for Millennials. The achievements serve as a testament to Ascentic’s culture that among other things prioritises a healthy work-life balance for all.
Today, Ascentic employs 90+ technology professionals and is actively expanding its team to meet the continuously increasing demand for innovative digital solutions in the Swedish market. As it expands, the company is focused on empowering women in technology as well, starting with its own leadership and crew.
Beyond growing its team, Ascentic has also expanded its footprint. Earlier this year, the company opened an office in Gothenburg, Sweden in collaboration with the city’s regional economic agency Business Region Göteborg and Sweden-Sri Lanka Business Council (SSLBC). The new office allows it to better serve its clients in the region to meet the growing demands for digital solutions, particularly from small and medium-sized businesses.
Looking towards the future, Anna shared that Ascentic’s plans are to continue doing what they do best. As she put it in her own words, “We’re focused on doing what we do best and keep improving on it. Ascentic will continue building on the unique culture we have, taking on interesting customers to work with, and do what we do well today even better tomorrow.”