interview by Dimana Trankova; photography by Nelly Tomova

Andon Simeonov, Country Manager of SoftServe Bulgaria, on how to excel in the current software economy

Andon Simeonov, SoftServe Bulgaria.jpg

Artificial intelligence, clouds, big data analysis, Internet of things: until recently such terms belonged to sci-fi novels and movies. Not anymore. Our lives, business, entertainment, healthcare and a lot more is getting increasingly dependent on software and digital experience. Software economy is a thing.

The development in the field is rapid and can become overwhelming for the businesses. SoftServe, however, is a company that can help with innovation, software development and consultancy services. Established in 1993 in Ukraine, it is now a major global player with presence in 14 countries around the world. In 2014, SoftServe opened an office in Sofia. Country Manager for Bulgaria Andon Simeonov, VP, has been a part of SoftServe since the beginning of its Sofia operation.

What are the latest trends in software economy?

Companies are paying significant attention to machine learning, data analytics, artificial intelligence. These new technologies use information to enable solutions on how the client's business should develop, providing options for faster decision making.

The approach has application in a number of fields, like social media, healthcare, finance and many others.

The methodologies vary. For example, in social media the behavior of groups of customers is analyzed. Based on preliminary defined personal traits, the information is used to adapt the content to inspire a wanted behavior from the user or persona, for example the purchase of a particular good in a particular color.

These are based on contemporary programming languages, which rapidly evolve to process data faster. For our clients, however, technology remains a mean to achieve the main goal: identifying the best business solution for any problem.

What is the future of software economy?

It will continue developing towards AI, predictive data analytics, bid data analysis. Also cloud solutions. Everything is getting to the cloud nowadays, as it makes businesses and people more flexible, allowing them to access their data from any devise, anywhere in the world.

Who are SoftServe's clients?

We work with two types of companies. The first one is independent software vendors who develop solutions for the end customer. Such companies are interested in our engineering background, and we excel in software development.

The second group is large enterprise companies in different industries. We offer them an in-depth knowledge of how their business works, what software technologies and methodologies could be implemented or improved to increase the company's product value.

SoftServe's expertise is in the fields of media, retail, healthcare and fintech.

We know what technological solutions can be implemented in the particular industry so that the incomes increase and the costs are optimized.

As an organization with 5000+ employees and 25 years of experience, we have thorough expertise in those areas and actually have a great feedback from our clients.

SoftServe's NPS (net promoter score) is 69% which is one of the highest in the industry. For comparison, Amazon's score of customer satisfaction is 62%, while the market average is between 25 and 35%.

What challenges face companies working in software development?

It is all interconnected. First is lack of experienced staff. It has become endemic on the international IT specialists market. This brings in the problem of what do IT specialists look for in a job. The current market empowers them to be very selective. They look for interesting and challenging projects, good working environment, the opportunity to master new skills.

This environment creates two major challenges to companies. They have to find the staff, and then they have to keep it in the company. The firms have to be creative employers and to constantly offer their employees intellectual challenge and the opportunity to develop.

SoftServe is such a company. The variety of technologies we apply in a range of fields allows us to offer a score of alternatives for any employee who wants to develop new skills.

The challenges a company in our field faces, however, go beyond human capital. Our industry is in a constant flux. To stay on top, a firm should be always up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations. It should adapt, and quickly, to changes, to constantly adjust to the business environment. It also needs a clear focus on where it is heading.

How does SoftServe Bulgaria achieve that?

SoftServe has a working methodology, one of the best in the industry, for talent development, which states that each employee has a clear vision on his career development and steps which should be achieved.

We also emphasize on developing Big Data analysis for cloud solutions such as AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, allowing the client to achieve the wanted customer service level. We also develop platform knowledge such as Salesforce and Sitecore that not only solve particular business problems, but develop a complete digital experience for the customer.

We also have a representatives in CoE  group such as Solutions, DevOps and DXP Platforms serving our Global Organization.

The SoftServe University is internal initiative which has many different training programs such as language courses, software development, leadership development, career development, mentoring, etc. It is our greatest competitive advantage. I doubt there is another company with a similar set of tools for talent development.

We also use different digital platforms and tools for constant feedback from our employees that gives us a clear view of the problems our teams experience when working on a project.

What did SoftServe Bulgaria achieve since 2014?

We successfully ended our baby phase, discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the local market, and establishing functioning operations. We successfully implemented managerial strategy allowing our staff to work for global clients. Now our Sofia office is constantly growing and expansion outside of the capital is a matter of time.

In September we are starting an ambitious training program for training of System Administrators into DevOps, which will potentially end up with obtaining a Google Cloud Certificate. Another activity is to create a Google Cloud competence centre in Bulgaria. This program is the first step towards it. We are also starting Salesforce training initiative, which will develop SalesForce certified experts.

And of course our IT academy is an ongoing activity with 4-month courses. When a student graduates, he is either employed by us, or finds a job elsewhere. So, we are helping the development of Bulgaria's IT labour market.

Career growth and personal development of people is our most significant strength which supports the growth of our SoftServe Bulgaria location. My goal is to go beyond and develop a structure which will become a factor on the world stage with experts in a number of fields who add value to our Customers.



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