The mobile market has grown, matured and evolved and so has Bliss Applications. André Gil, Managing Partner of the Portuguese company, talks with SAPO TEK about the course of the last few years and upcoming projects.
Bliss Applications was created in 2009 as an independent subsidiary of the digital marketing holding company, WYgroup, to be exclusively focused on smartphone application development. In the company’s portfolio are projects such as Mapa do Cidadão, a public service station finder in Portugal, Embly, the event management solution which was used at major summer events that have just passed, as well as banking and health sector applications.
TEK: In the last two years, has the mobile market changed a lot? What about Bliss? What is the company focused on right now?
André Gil: The mobile market has grown, matured and evolved. Nowadays, when we talk about mobile, it’s not just restricted to smartphone apps anymore. We’re talking about wearables, virtual reality glasses, augmented reality glasses, home automation and robotics. Today we speak about the Internet of Things (IOT) because there are more and more smart, connected devices that we can interact with, most of the time through our smartphones.
Cross-platform interconnection is increasingly common along with more platforms for users to interact with and channels to communicate with consumers. This creates challenges in design and usability which is why we hear more about Design Thinking and Design Service. There is less talk about platforms and technology and more on improving business processes. Bliss is more focused on helping companies optimize business processes.
TEK: What projects have been added to the portfolio? What kind of solutions is the company developing?
André Gil: I would say that we work within four main areas: startups, pharmaceuticals, events and banking. For startups, we have some current projects where we help entrepreneurs turn ideas into products and services to help launch a business. With startups, the challenges always go beyond just the materialization of an idea.
In pharmaceuticals, we have worked with some companies in Portugal and abroad assisting them in the development of sales support tools. With events, we have worked within the corporate sector on several projects using our event management product, Embly. In banking, we work with different banks helping them to build digital tools for internal use and for customers.
TEK: What have the last few years been like? How has the business evolved?
André Gil: Very positive. Since its inception in 2009, Bliss has been growing every year with the number of employees increasing, more projects and we even opened up more offices. This year will be no exception with current results and financial forecasts. The market has matured, especially in Portugal in recent years. Mobile projects are no longer a nice-to-have, but as a need for consumers, which has made the degree of complexity and demand of our projects increase. The importance and impact of these projects is now greater than ever for organizations and for the market.
TEK: Is Portugal still Bliss’ main market? Which areas represent most of Bliss’ business?
André Gil: Yes, Portugal is still the main market with the US market growing and having more impact on the company’s current results.
TEK: How many employees do you have? Has it been easier to recruit? What kind of profiles are you looking for?
André Gil: Bliss Applications has about 50 people and shares services with the WY Group in areas such as administration and finances.
The challenge of recruitment has been increasing in recent years. There is more demand for mobile projects, there are more foreign companies setting up production in Portugal and there are highly funded startups that experience rapid growth that need resources. Finally, there is remote working which is here to stay especially for those who work in Portugal for companies with international headquarters.
There is also more and more technological specialization that universities can not keep up with to provide the education. The number of students entering the labour market has not been enough to keep up with the demand and more recently we watch resources being consumed by some companies which is not good.
So the area of recruitment nowadays is challenging for tech companies.
TEK: What can we expect from Bliss in the near future?
André Gil: We are working on some interesting projects but I cannot reveal much about them yet and others are private corporate projects. But we are very active in the area of banking, working with some national banks and companies and by the end of the year, we will launch new projects with some startups.