Today we have selected Alexandra Rostovtseva to take her interview. She is the Chief Business Transformation Officer At GBKSOFT.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
The team is doing all right, all considered. Of course, all of us feel the lack of face-to-face communications, out of the office activities, and a clear line between work activity and free time life. But since our company’s work is mainly organized in the cloud and since our team is tech-savvy, we didn’t experience any productivity loss.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
I have started as a Project Manager leading a team of 5 developers. However, I didn’t really like the attitude to clients from the company I’ve been working for. So having found my two acting partners who had the same vision of building long-lasting relationships, we decided to build our own team with a particular focus on the client and product. Currently, I’m more involved in setting up the processes between different departments of the company ensuring a seamless client experience in the company.
How does your company innovate?
We think that the best way to keep innovating is to build a culture of changes in the company where people are not afraid to try new things and change the working patterns. And our 2021 strategy is fully based on building such a culture. This touches all directions of the company, e.g. extension of the team’s tech stacks with Flutter, Node.js., development of the design thinking framework during the discovery stage, use of the data-driven approaches in the overall company management.
And one of our biggest steps in keeping innovated is partnering with the Altamira.ai organization that is very much focused on AI, Cloud, Big Data, which allows us to provide not only new services in the mentioned direction but also to bring the product development service to the new quality level.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Starting from the last quarter of 2020 the small and medium-sized businesses, which is our main client, entered into the recovery phase in terms of tech investment, so the demand of the market is only growing. Considering we are a tech company, it was not a problem to switch to remote work. So our company is one of the lucky ones, where coronavirus almost didn’t interfere with the business activity and in some occasions even made it better. E.g. our geographical borders widened as we got the opportunity to hire specialists from different locations.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
During the pandemic, a lot of our clients’ businesses experienced hard times. Since we are a client-oriented company and think that our success is directly connected with the success of our client’s business, the biggest challenge for us was thinking through such partnerships that would allow our clients’ businesses to survive. We have developed custom offers for each client, with some it was a discount, with others it was the payment restructuring, with others the affiliate program. Of course, it led to certain margin and cash flow troubles for our company, but this is what a true partner does. And this had only a positive effect, cause these clients have become very loyal.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We use a combination of tools and software that are integrated with each other. Having changed to remote work we didn’t change the software much, since most of our instruments are already cloud-based. We use Jira & Confluence (Atlassian products) for the project tasks and documentation management, which allow agile integrations that provide data into the self-developed reporting system. Our main communication channel – Slack is also integrated within Jira and Confluence to ensure quick reactions. We have agreed on the whole system of public and private channels for each project, providing the space for out-of-work interaction and working discussions. Zoom, Google Meeting, and Slack handle the video calls, while Calendly together with the Google Calendar provides a quick way to schedule a call with a person or a group you need. We still feel the lack of personal communication though, especially at the leadership level that demands more communication time versus other employees. And this sometimes leads to full days booked with video calls and you almost do not have time to do the actual work. We haven’t found an efficient solution to that problem, but I’ll tell you once we do 🙂 Miro, Figma, and Google Documents Suite allow an easy way of real-time collaboration, which helps to stay creative and share ideas. The general recommendation on all those instruments is to make sure you have the proper permissions and security protocols to keep the sensitive information secure.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Our main difference from competitors is that we do not do just the coding as a service but more the product development and solutions where development is only a part of the package. Design Thinking in finding the solution to the business problem, fast prototyping to quickly test this solution, business, and marketing analysis, all prepare the basis of the offer for services that the business might need, and this might not be particularly development but also moving to cloud, change of business approaches, promotion plan, etc. And this makes us different from those that try to sell development just because this is part of their main service.
Your Final Thoughts
This time demonstrated that reliable partnerships, the pace with which you can adapt and accept the changes matter more than ever. And of course, COVID showed that remote business is not something innovative but it’s a must, and this is a matter of time till the rest of the businesses will catch up. But at the same time, it brings new challenges like security or loading sustainability that the tech industry has to meet. And GBKSOFT is happy that we are one of those that help businesses to become even more advanced by switching to the cloud, custom software, and remote work.
- Spokesperson: Alexandra Rostovtseva
- Company: GBKSOFT
- Website link: https://gbksoft.com/