SOFTSERVE: AIMING HIGH

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Andon Simeonov, VP, Country Manager of SoftServe Bulgaria Andon Simeonov, VP, Country Manager of SoftServe Bulgaria

Andon Simeonov, VP, Country Manager of SoftServe Bulgaria on the company's unique services, its educational programmes and its ambitions

Founded in 1993, SoftServe is the biggest global IT company with Ukrainian roots, specialised in software development and consultancy services. Its global team of 5,000 employees includes some of the finest specialists in the field, and is spread in the company's sales offices in the US, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and development centres in Ukraine, Poland and Bulgaria. SoftServe's expertise covers from Сloud, Security and UX design to Big Analytics and Internet of Things. Andon Simeonov, VP, Country Manager of SoftServe Bulgaria, shares more.

What is the biggest challenge that faces the IT outsourcing industry? How does SoftServe cope with it?

Nowadays, very few companies provide outsourcing services alone. In the past this approach might have been effective, when cost was the most important factor considered by international companies when they outsourced in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. Back then, the region was a cheap destination for IT services. In the past few years, however, many of the companies have been transforming from outsourcing providers into providers with added value on their services. They now consult their clients on their possibilities as well as the software products or solutions that will help their business grow, by becoming more and more Digital Services companies.

At SoftServe we deliver our services in certain business domains: Media, Healthcare, BFSI (Banking, Finance services and Insurance), and Retail. We have a large portfolio of clients, which has effectively become the basis of our professional expertise in these industries. We know how they are developing and where they are going.

We’ve been on the market for 24 years and our vertical expertise, in combination with our strong engineering background, makes us a reliable partner, both for ISV’s and large enterprise organisations.

Who are the clients of SoftServe?

We sell mainly to the US, but recently we’ve had a very strong start in Europe as well, and we plan to expand here. We work exclusively for large enterprise companies in Fortune 500, and we successfully compete with big corporations like Accenture and IBM.

Our potential future clients are the largest worldwide companies. Such organisations need consultancy on how to use software services, as their sheer scale makes them inept to fast changes. They lack the expertise to develop in line with the digitalizing world. We have the expertise to help them cope with this challenge.

What distinguishes SoftServe from the rest of the IT companies in the industry?

We offer a unique service on the market. Traditionally, when a client goes to a service provider, they discuss the problem and the solution, then they make a list of the features needed in the software solution they had agreed on. Then the provider starts working on the needed software solution. When the product is ready, it very often occurs that the client has missed some features or that during the initial planning meeting there was some sort of miscommunication. The project is then reworked until it satisfies the client. In the meantime, however, a lot of time and money is wasted.

Instead of this classical think-deliver cycle, we apply the Think-Iterate-Deliver cycle. In the “Iterate” phase, the client is presented with a prototype of the solution. It gives him the opportunity to check if it is what he wants, and to suggest changes. Only when the prototype is completely approved by the client, we can enter the delivery stage of the process. Our clients are very happy with our prototypes, because they save money and time, and because thanks to our large team we implement the changes quickly.

SoftServe is one of the few companies with its own R&D department. The presence of one adds a lot of value to the client. The department works only on developing new technologies and ideas, which we can later offer for integration. Moreover, we don't patent our software solutions, so the intellectual property rights remain with the client.

What is the secret of the successfully developed product – the organisation, the technologies, or the professionals?

People always come first, but in order to inspire them to perform at their best, you need an excellent, strong organisation with the right structure. You also have to be able to motivate people to develop, particularly in our industry. Technologies are not that important, they appear, they develop and they die. In the end of the day, what matters is whether people understand how the particular business operates.

What are the possibilities for professional development at SoftServe?

SoftServe has created a framework of processes, called Abiliton. It covers two fields – SDLC (software development life cycle, or how software is developed on the basis of worldwide standards) and human resources (how to offer the best career development to our employees). The Abiliton programme includes technical criteria for evaluation of current skill set and levels of future professional development – whether one is a beginner, an intermediate or a senior, or is something in between. Every applicant for a job at SoftServe goes through this evaluation. Each specialist we hire has a very clear path of professional development in front of him, based on the programme. We know which parts of which books he should read, which certificates he should take, how much industry experience he must have in order to move forward.

This frame is very strict and unique. Few companies have such a set of clear rules on how someone can grow in the organisation, and how to develop to become better.

We also have a SoftServe University, with different programmes on leadership development, project management, business analysis, software development, etc. We have programmes for individual career development as well. Every employee has access and can pass these trainings. The Bulgarian branch of SoftServe University duplicates the one in Ukraine, but is adapted to the local particularities.

We also offer English-language courses, as the higher in the hierarchy someone is, the more often he interacts with our international clients. For them, fluent English is a must.

This is an enormous investment from the company in the quality of its specialists, particularly in developing them further. We don't want to keep a permanent level of excellence. We strive to be better and better.

The university is one of our strongest advantages on the competitive labour market in Bulgaria. With this mentioned, together with our Think-Iterate-Deliver approach, our industry knowledge expertise and more than 24 years of experience, makes us a serious company on the global market. That is why we have a constant annual growth of over 30%, and every day we hire 8 new people in our offices around the world.

Sofia, 49B Bulgaria Blvd
phone: +359 2 902 3760
www.softserve.ua/bg/

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