Interview with Tomasz Żyła, CEO of nazwa.pl
It's nice to know that hosting doesn't exist solely in a vacuum--that hosting services are available globally, serving needs of all customers in all geographies. Tomasz Żyła is the CEO of nazwa.pl, the largest hosting company in Poland and one of the largest IT companies in the country. The company, which will celebrate its 20th year in 2017, focuses on domains, hosting, online stores, web wizards, email, and SSL certificates, as well as professional services in configuration and consulting. It was a pleasure learning about the business from the person at the helm, Tomasz Żyła, who gave me some great insights into what the business is focused on.
Can you tell us your evolution at the company? I see you started in marketing at NetArt in 2000 and are now CEO of its brand – nazwa.pl.
Yes, I started my adventure with the company in 2000, before it became nazwa.pl. At the beginning I was responsible for administrative work and providing service for the virtual server customers of our serwery.pl brand. In a few months, I advanced to the position of independent marketing manager and after a year, I was a marketing director. Since 2004, I’ve been the Chairman of the Board and the CEO of nazwa.pl.
How was the climb to CEO at nazwa.pl? What skills do you possess to make you a successful CEO?
My analytical skills have a great influence on my professional development. Logical thinking is very helpful in planning, developing processes and in effective management. In order for all the processes in the company to work properly and for the company to develop, it’s important to prioritise and delegate tasks in such a way that they do not block each other.
Besides that, I think that I can establish and maintain good relationships with employees and business partners. It’s about being yourself, which makes other people be more open as well. I always listen to people, analyse the needs they express and try to assess in what way they can improve the performance of the company and contribute to its development.
I also have a rule: I answer every e-mail the same day – this means I’m not delaying other people’s work and I have the feeling that all is well and running smoothly.
Are most of nazwa's customers Polish? Do you serve outside countries at all? What is the geographic breakdown of your customers?
At nazwa.pl, we focus on providing services and meeting the needs of local businesses, which means that a significant majority of our customers comes from Poland.
Can you tell us a bit about nazwa.pl and the brands it serves? Do you work exclusively on the nazwa.pl side of the business right now?
nazwa.pl (formerly NetArt) is the largest hosting company in Poland and one of the largest Polish IT companies. Our portfolio includes three main brands: nazwa.pl – the most important brand, in which we offer domain name registration services, hosting and a variety of other services that support running an online business; serwery.pl – a brand for professional customers that offers dedicated servers and the IAAS cloud computing service. Our third brand is Onet Hosting (hosting.onet.pl), in which we offer similar services to nazwa.pl, but tailored to the needs of individual customers (a less expensive offer for less advanced users).
What are your biggest challenges that you are facing right now at nazwa.pl?
We want to be the first place to visit for an entrepreneur who’s looking for business support solutions. We’d like to create and offer intuitive and reliable services, thanks to which our customers will be able to successfully grow their business. We’re guided by the principle that every entrepreneur, who registers a domain name or creates a website, can become a leader in their field and bring in clients from all over the world.
The most important goal and challenge that we set for ourselves at nazwa.pl is providing the highest quality of services, so that customers who choose nazwa.pl can be certain, that they’ve made a good choice and put their businesses in the hands of a proven, reliable and competent partner. We want customers to stay with us for years, so we listen to them and develop our services to meet their needs and expectations.
What advice do you have to someone who is "climbing the ladder" as you've clearly done?
Looking at my own professional path, I can say that I’ve always done twice my part. Determination in work combined with a strong commitment, a love of what you do, knowledge and a sense of the industry gives the best results. But to manage a company well, personal traits aren’t enough. You also have to know how to analyse the market and predict the way it can change in the future.
What’s most important in my personal development and the development of the company is the team I co-created in nazwa.pl with a trusted group of co-workers. People who believe in the product and are involved in what they do, help us to effectively pursue our objectives and achieve success in the market.
Do you have any tips and tricks to people who are looking to run their own hosting company (outside Poland, of course!)?
First, you have to realize that in the hosting industry, the market is already very saturated and mature. This is why it’s going to be very difficult to build a new brand. You also have to be aware of the specifics of the hosting services market – on the one hand we can observe a high level of competitiveness, on the other, a tendency for market consolidation. Everyone who’s thinking about starting a business in this area, needs to be aware of this. It is also important to take the expectations of local customers into account. Adjusting your offer to the customer preferences and meeting their needs is a key element of a good strategy. A good example of a mismatched business that didn’t understand the market was the 2010 entry of one of the biggest world players, the company 1&1, into the Polish market. Despite huge spending on promotion and marketing, 1&1 failed to achieve a significant position in our market. It wasn’t until they acquired home.pl at the end of 2015 that they were able to really make a name for themselves in Poland.
Are you seeing any increased focus on cloud infrastructure, which is something that the serwery.pl brand serves?
We saw the advantages of the cloud a few years ago and we were the first to include it as part of our offer, providing hosting services in the cloud. Now we can say that the technology has dominated the market and our customers can take advantage of the solution using nazwa.pl’s hosting.
But we also see more. At serwery.pl, we provide our customers with infrastructure cloud services (IaaS), based on the innovative OpenStack technology, created and developed by NASA. This is a response to the needs of users who want unlimited service scalability, high performance and competitive methods of accounting for the resources used. The service enjoys interest on the market and is also connected with the growth prospects of IaaS in the world and in Poland. Due to the high market potential, we’re going to develop this service further.
Are you doing any innovation at nazwa.pl to focus on the competition of sites like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace?
In the context of these solutions, our response was the 2015 introduction of the revolutionary simple website service – Online Business Card. It responds to the needs of entrepreneurs looking for an inexpensive and quick website setup. As part of the package, the customer receives a set of ready-made projects, thanks to which they can easily pick a layout for their type of business. We’ve enriched the product with the ability to integrate the page with the most important social media – by adding links to company profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. Moreover the page automatically adjusts to the device it’s viewed on, which guarantees that it displays properly, regardless of whether it’s viewed on a tablet, smartphone or PC. In short, the Online Business Card from nazwa.pl is a website ready in 60 seconds, for everyone, without specialised knowledge or skills.
What improvements are you planning on introducing at nazwa.pl in 2016?
In the area of services, first of all we want to focus on investing in further development of the Business Card, which became our sales hit in 2015. Next, we want to ensure our customers better access to services related to general security – SSL certificates, anti-virus measures, secure e-mail, etc.
Additionally, we plan to offer our customers a range of services that make it easier to run a business online. We’re aware of how important selecting the right partner is, so that prolonged formalities and deadlines have no impact on the business. This is why we’re introducing partnerzy.nazwa.pl, which is intended to provide businesses with the services we recommend, ensuring a high standard of service, timeliness in project implementation combined with effectiveness and based on modern solutions. The offers we present are valued by the users, confirmed by positive opinions and recommendations and provided by proven and reliable partners who offer high-quality services.
Finally, I will add that a high level of market competition in the hosting industry means that the customer can choose from a number of companies offering very similar services. We want to stand out on the Polish market not only thanks to highly reliable services, but also high quality of customer service that goes above and beyond the call of duty. For many years, we have tried to do this, responding to the needs of our users and I think we’ve been doing very well, as evidenced by the dynamically growing number of customers.