Prepare to be impressed. Since its creation in 2015, Upnetix formerly known as Imperia Mobile, a custom software development company based in Bulgaria, has successfully delivered over 50 software projects for more than 30 clients in Europe, North America and the Middle East, seen a fivefold increase in the number of employees and recently been acknowledged as Fastest Growing IT Company in Bulgaria for a 800 percent revenue growth in 2016. Other prestigious institutions from the technology sector were also impressed by the company, as evident from the numerous awards and recognitions, including Best Outsourcing Company in Bulgaria by the Global Sourcing Association 2016, Best Digital Entertainment App by Webit Awards 2017 and Innovative Company of the Year by b2b Media Awards 2017.
The company has also established a culture of continuous training and development of its own specialists, making it possible for people with other professional background to become highly-skilled software engineers.
The rapid growth of Imperia Mobile and the huge demand not only for mobile apps but also for end-to-end software development services inspired the company's transformation into a bigger, bolder entity. It changed its name to Upnetix and broadened its portfolio, becoming a provider of full range of software services for enterprises.
Radoslav Gaydarski, CEO at Upnetix, has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry. He holds a BA in Business Administration from the City University in Seattle, and an MSc in Project Management. For the last 5 years he has been exclusively engaged in companies for software outsourcing.
Why did Imperia Mobile become Upnetix?
Imperia Mobile changed its name because the old one didn't fit properly the company's vision and portfolio. Upnetix is more than a mobile development company, it has a grander view on itself and the services it represents. When we established Imperia Mobile, we had the idea to create a mobile development studio, aiming to become the biggest one in Bulgaria. We had a little different idea on the Bulgarian market, thinking that we could do only mobile apps. We soon discovered that a significant part of our clients and of the market needed not only mobile solutions, but complete solutions. We started doing as well server-side development, cloud-accelerated software solutions, enterprise solutions. This inspired us to rethink our vision about the business. At a certain moment, the name Imperia Mobile didn't seem accurate enough to express the company's goals and needs in the best possible way.
What changes, besides rebranding, are taking place in the company?
Internal changes have never stopped in the company. A rapidly developing firm like ours changes things all the time, and it is only natural. We are still in the startup phase of the company's life. We are still a young company, although we are not small anymore. More than 100 people work in Upnetix now.
One of your employees is a former MMA fighter, another is a doctor. How can someone with so different background become a software engineer?
The skills and qualities needed to work in the software development industry change constantly, but having analytical thinking and a high IQ are always a must. An MMA fighter becoming a software engineer is a part of an interesting process that takes place in Bulgaria today. There are several academies for IT specialists in the country, and we work with the best of them, IT Talents. This man was hired through them. We have many other examples for software engineers with interesting past unrelated to IT: a GP doctor, a former soldier, a former aviation engineer.
Today, people enter the IT in a different manner than my generation. My generation started early. We stayed at home, we played with screwdrivers, we built primitive networks connecting our parents' apartments. Today, the qualities at the highest demand in the IT sector are more human, communicative and analytical skills. Technical skills come second. Modern programming languages and technologies allow a novice to learn a technology like Java or iOS development in 6-12 months. They will continue to learn for the following 10 years, as an IT specialist never stops learning. But with the initial knowledge, structured in the right way, they are able to quickly become a part of the industry. This is in a stark contrast with university education in Bulgaria. In it, you have 4-year course of education producing people who are completely unprepared for the realities of the market.
Digitalisation is a hot topic, but how it is misunderstood by the broader public?
A lot of people, including in our industry, don't understand that digitalisation is not digitisation. Digitalisation is a completely different process that should analyse how a process is run in the analogue world, and then should redefine it for the digital one. Digitalisation is not scanning print documents and then using their digital copies. With digitalisation, a company aims to completely redefine the concept of its business and processes, using new technologies to bring real change in its work. Digitalisation is not replacing of print ink with electronic one.
What are the latest trends in mobile development and enterprise systems in the world and in Bulgaria?
Years ago, Bulgaria used to be among the innovators, but now we are lagging behind. There are many explanations for this, but it is mainly because of the lack of legacy when these technologies began to arrive in Bulgaria. We started from scratch, while in the West systems were being used since the mid-1980s and companies had developed a culture of investing in them. Today, Bulgarian companies lack the financial resources to reach the world's level at application of enterprise systems and systems like ERP and CRM.
The global trend is to keep everything in the cloud, and everything to be oriented towards the employees instead of the top management. Digitalisation of processes is another trend. Replacing processes that have been done in paper with different ones has a broad application. It can be complete automation of processes, the so-called machine learning and AI, which is able to make decisions. It can also be automating processes that are as simple as a request to the help desk saying "I want to change my password" to amazingly complex statistical and finance operations, which take time to the human mind, but when turned into straight operations with clearly-set rules, can be relatively easily automated with every form of machine learning build in them.
Which industries should implement more IT innovations?
All of them. In Bulgaria, all industries are lagging behind – from the public and administrative services like taxation, municipalities, healthcare, to the pharmaceutical sector, the banks, the taxis. Innovations are a must for the survival of industries; otherwise behemoth companies appear, swallowing whole industries. Uber tried to do this, but it failed in Bulgaria because it entered a regulated market. Airbnb is now the largest hospitality operator in the world without owning a single hotel. E-commerce is concentrated in two giants, Amazon in the West and Alibaba in the East, with both of them trying to open physical stores.
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