Alexandru Dorobantu: SaaS is rapidly reaching maturity in the Balkans
Describe yourself, please.
– In a sentence, let’s say I am a driven, resilient and results-oriented 37 years old individual who has enjoyed being a salesman throughout his entire career.
This appetite for selling has provided me with a set of soft skills both professionally and personally. Hence, I would add to the above list, as a side dish, empathic, confident, and communicative.
The Intelligent Systems office in Romania opened in February 2020. How did you adapt your business model to the changing market conditions, due to the pandemic?
– We needed agility, creativity, and resilience to adapt our business model to changing market conditions caused by the pandemic. We quickly assess the distribution and different sectors that were impacted, especially in retail, automotive, manufacturing, and distribution, and tailored our value proposition accordingly. The toughest challenge, however, was changing our mindset and being able to deliver our services remotely, and online. Last but not least, we never stopped communicating with our customers. We kept them informed about our business operations and how we are responding to the pandemic.
What types of clients does IS typically work with, and how do you ensure that their needs are met through your solutions?
– Intelligent Systems delivers Microsoft’s business applications to medium and large businesses in several industry verticals like manufacturing, automotive, wholesale and distribution, retail, and professional services. We make a difference due to the fact that, on top of the generic solutions, we come with more than 45 Microsoft-certified developments, focused on specific workflows – from meat and dairy processing to full end-to-end solutions like DealerBox, a high-end DMS for Automotive, Retail for Dynamics 365 Business Central solution, and 4Construction business project management solution.
In addition, we approach our customers’ implementation projects by collaborating with experts from all our subsidiaries in order to make sure our customers have access to our best delivery team in that particular industry. We prioritize our clients’ needs by tailoring solutions, providing training and support, and gathering feedback for improvement. Our goal is to build long-term relationships and drive our clients’ business success.
Can you tell us more about your approach to recent projects and the impact they have on your clients?
– As previously mentioned, we are able to choose from a wide area of our own developments and we approach our implementation projects with a designated team. For example, one of our latest customers is a major meat processing company. On top of the ERP system, we have deployed our solution for advanced disassembly, to support the slaughterhouse operational flows, saving the customer from supporting extensive system developments. Consequently, there was a positive impact both in terms of financial investment and system adoption.
Behind the successful delivery of every implementation project, there is a team of developers, solution architects, and consultants with many years of gathered expertise, mainly in food processing, from our offices in Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. In this way, we make sure that both the customer and our delivery team “speak the same language”.
What were some of the biggest challenges and opportunities you faced as General Manager?
– I had the “honor” to start my journey in the role of a General Manager at the same time as the pandemic, so I had to adapt quickly to the “new normality”.
The sudden shift to remote work posed significant challenges in terms of communication, collaboration, and managing teams. We had to find new ways to keep the teams connected and engaged while working remotely. Moreover, the pandemic has led to a significant economic downturn, which impacted not only our organization but most businesses across the world. As a manager, I had to navigate through these economic uncertainties and make complex decisions, like expense streamlining and postponing major investments, to keep operations afloat.
On a positive note, those 2 years accelerated the digital transformation across many industries. Customers had to speed up the adoption of new technologies and digital solutions, to stay ahead of the curve. Of course, increased demand meant more new business for us. Some of the new market opportunities were in the areas of remote collaboration tools and e-commerce technology. We had the ability to pivot our value propositions, accordingly, enabling us to take advantage of these new opportunities.
What are some of the current or future trends or opportunities that you are excited about in your industry?
– Software as a Service is rapidly reaching maturity in our region. The shift from CAPEX to OPEX, along with the increasing customer need for business flow automation, better data processing, and interpretation across their organizations, leads me to conclude that generic ERP systems are becoming a commodity shortly. To make a difference, our solutions need to be tailored and aligned to our industry focus. I am excited that within our organization, we have the vision, expertise, and the means to develop such solutions.
How do you find the appropriate work-life balance?
– Finding the appropriate work-life balance is a personal journey and may require some trial and error. It is important to prioritize what is most important to you and to adjust as needed, to ensure that you are finding a healthy balance between work and personal life.
When in school, my mother always told me: “Playing is playing, and studying is studying. Don’t mix them up.” Setting clear boundaries helped me. This involved setting fixed work hours and following them, avoiding work email outside of those hours, and not taking work-related phone calls during personal time unless the matter was critical. As a manager, there will always be an endless stream of tasks and responsibilities to tackle. However, it is important to prioritize tasks based on their level of importance and urgency. This can help prevent work from spilling into my personal time.
What do you want to achieve in the next years? How do you see the future of IS Romania?
– Intelligent Systems Group is one of the major Microsoft partners in the region. As part of this group, it is our duty to raise Intelligent Systems Romania into becoming a top reference among the business applications providers in the Romanian market. We are looking forward to building more long-term customer relationships that are based on trust, collaboration, and mutual respect.
Over a period of 3 years, we are proud to have a team of qualified professionals in Romania who are passionate about delivering high-quality solutions and services to our customers. Our team members benefit from a collaborative and supportive environment where they can learn from each other and share their expertise. We have the opportunity to work on big multinational projects where we can showcase our skills and experience in various industries and markets.
Fortunately, Romania has a thriving tech industry and broad market opportunities. With a supportive business environment, access to funding, and a focus on innovation, there is great potential for us to succeed and make a difference. Nevertheless, it will ultimately depend on our vision, strategy, and execution – both individually and as a team.