"There will be huge opportunities for all of us as we move towards working as a truly global organization"
Susana Padesca is IT Director for Intrum in Portugal. She tells us how the business has changed since she joined, and how global transformation is changing ways of working forever.
Tell us about your role at Intrum
I’ve worked at Intrum since 2003. Before that I worked as an IT consultant. When I started, I was the first person in IT in the country – Intrum was a small business in Portugal then and IT support had been supplied remotely by the Spanish office. The company was growing and there was a need to have someone local. In the beginning, I was doing almost everything, from installing PCs to providing end user support. It was challenging: starting with the basics and building a team.
The business has a grown a lot since then. There are now 250 people in Portugal and we have an IT team able to run projects and support clients. It has been an amazing journey. As a country and a market we are growing and I have been able to grow with the company.
Why did you choose this particular career?
My background is in mathematics. I have always loved technology and it was an opportunity for me to work in an area I enjoy. IT is not the same as it was twenty years ago but it still allows me to use my mathematical thinking. It is that structured way of thinking that makes IT a good match for me.
What do you enjoy about your role?
Innovation is really satisfying; being able to provide solutions for the business. I enjoy managing the team and taking on the challenges that arise, trying to find the best solution. Discussing different ways of working with other people and understanding their vision is important. One person won’t have all the answers so we need to listen, discuss things with other people and see how we can support them.
Innovation is really satisfying; being able to provide solutions for the business. I enjoy managing the team and taking on the challenges that arise, trying to find the best solution.Susana Padesca, IT Director Intrum Portugal
How have things changed since Covid-19?
Before Covid we didn’t work remotely in Portugal – unlike some other Intrum countries. Overnight we had to support end users working from home when people didn’t even have laptops. We had to create virtual private networks (VPNs) very quickly. I think this will change the way of working forever. Mindsets have changed a lot – this is a huge point of discussion in Portuguese society. It comes with challenges around managing teams, IT and HR but this is part of the future. It’s important to meet face to face but that doesn’t mean being in the office every day.
What advice would you give to others who would like a similar career?
Love what you do and support the people around you. You can make other people’s and your own ideas come true. You need to enjoy helping people – this is more important than even the technology itself. You can learn how to develop technology but people come to you when there is a problem and you need to be ready to support them.
How does Intrum support people in their careers?
There will be huge opportunities for all of us as we move towards working as a truly global organization. It means not only working in your market but being able to support other countries and share experiences, trying things that are out of your comfort zone. I really enjoy that. I’ve had support from the business and my MD and this has helped me immensely.
In the past, each country has had their own systems and their own way of working. We are moving to a global function now as part of the ONE Intrum transformation. This will change the way we work. I think we can move to a different level, sharing ideas with other countries and working as one IT team.
What do you see happening in the future?
We are moving to more digitalization and increased online services – it’s a great opportunity but there are also challenges around that. People behave in different ways and have different preferences. This is something we need to take into consideration when we provide technical solutions. Some people want to do everything online but there will always be people who want someone to talk to. Like everything in life, it’s a balance.