Before I answer the title question it would be nice to explain what SoDA actually is.
SoDA – Software Development Association Poland – is the union of Polish software companies. The main goal of this organization is to support its members in business development and to create a frame to help in their daily cooperation. SoDA was founded in October 2018 by 10 companies. Today (August 2020) it has over 100 members.
Evertop has entered SoDA in February 2019 and we were about the 30th company. So I feel like we are in this project from the beginning. The entering process was very easy. We had to fill some simple form, sign a few documents and pay the membership fee. A few moments later we were a proud member of Software Development Association Poland! And we had access to all its resources and tools (Slack to communicate with other members, Google drive with dozens of document templates, webinars, podcasts and many others).
Now, one and a half year later, I can see that our membership in SoDA has brought us many benefits. Both measurable businesses and those which are hard to measure. Just take a look on some of those which are best in my opinion.
One of most interesting SoDA’s activities is organizing foreign trade missions, available only for members as well as participation in the fairs under the one common name of the Software Development Association Poland. It gives a unique opportunity to establish new business relationships, search for clients and explore new markets.
Very often, such a foreign trade mission is preceded by a series of information meetings that allow to prepare for it better.
SoDA is also a great place to improve skills and increase the level of competences of its members’ employees. It organizes a lot of meetings, workshops, webinars, breakfasts etc dedicated to companies like ours. They are primarily related with business development, sales and marketing. Other concentrate more on business administration, law or technical aspects.
All recorded events are available on SoDA Academy Platform where they can be reached later if somebody couldn’t take part in the event.
In our business we receive sometimes such inquiries that we are unable to handle. We can potentially kindly refuse such a client but we can also look for someone who would be able to answer it positively among over 100 SoDA members. And many companies do exactly like that. Personally I am very happy to use this possibility both ways (to share a lead or to make use of lead shared by others).
The other thing is something like a common bench. When we have less workload, or when one project has just finished and the next has not started yet, the programmers are out of work. In the industry, we say they sit on a bench. SoDA gives the opportunity to find them quickly a temporary job in another member company that needs such developers.
SoDA organizes at least a few nationwide events each year. In addition, a dozen or more smaller, local ones (of course, this data comes from the time before the pandemic, now most of the events are on-line). This is a great opportunity to meet new people and exchange experiences. Each of the member companies is similar in some way, but each is also different and has its own specific features. Talking to people from these companies allows me to better manage Evertop.
The organization is big enough and is so recognizable that our voice is heard and taken into account more and more often. SoDA has a chance to become a representative of the Polish software industry in discussions with the government and universities. Further development of this aspect is one of the main goals of the organization for the coming years.
Of course, there are also some less advantageous aspects of being an SoDA member that are worth mentioning for the sake of chronicler reliability.
To become a SoDA member, we had to pay a membership fee. It was 7,200 PLN payed once a year. It is also possible to split the fee into 2 parts of 4,000 PLN, payed every six months. Compared to other organizations, the fee appears to be quite high. Moreover, it is worth to mention, that this fee cannot be included in business costs. Also a VAT tax cannot be deducted.
SoDA works very transparently (that’s an advantage) and all decision-making processes are clearly defined. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes that a longer time is needed to make or approve a decisions. Especially these that require spending money.
An organization such as SoDA, in order to have a real opportunity to cooperate with the government or politicians, must be apolitical itself. As an association of employers, we have views on the economy and ideas for its development, but we cannot manifest openly our political sympathies and dislikes. It is not difficult but it requires us to watch ourselves.
So is it worth being a SoDA member? Probably everyone has to answer this question on his own. Evertop has been with SoDA for over a year and personally I consider it as a great value for our company.
Since the beginning, more than 100 companies have signed up to the organization and only 2 have resigned. It seems that the statistics also speak for simply being in SoDA!
My recommendation is for sure positive!
Written by Maciej Kotok
Technical person converted to an entrepreneur. Previously a programmer, designer, analyst and project manager.
Now a CEO at Evertop. Coffee during the day. Whiskey and wine in the evening.