The IT sector is one of the least affected by the current economic crisis in the context of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic. As it turns out it has also generated a number of opportunities for IT and technology companies such as R Systems. Read this CEO interview for more insights.
This blog post is based on the article published by Business Magazin (available here in Romanian), following the interview with Raluca Rusu, R Systems Chief Executive Officer.
R Systems, digital transformation and technical consultancy company, is one of the industry players which continue to maintain its growth during overall economic market decline. The growth of the business though depends on an important factor: hiring new employees.
R Systems entered the Romanian market in 2001 by opening the office in Bucharest. A key milestone in the company’s local development was the year 2009 when the business expanded with a new development center in Galati. One of the major challenges over the last 3-4 years has been the scarcity of IT specialists where the demand would outrun the offer.
“This is already a much-discussed topic. To over overcome this challenge, we organize the annual R Systems Academy, an internship program engaging students as well as fresh graduates of technical universities. For three months our technical experts provide training and guidance for the junior programmers, helping them to improve their technical skills and their potential. It is a program welcomed by both senior and junior developers, and builds close relationships between the participants.”
In 2019 the R Systems group registered a turnover of 14 million euros, with 44m lei turnover and 1.18m lei profit in Romania. The company’s target for 2020 is a turnover of 16 million euro but according to Raluca Rusu “we believe that this year’s results will also depend on the evolution of the local and global economical situation in the second part of the year. We remain optimistic and, at the same time, we watch closely this evolution”.
Since the beginning of March, the company’s over 300 employees have worked from home. “Technically we were already prepared because our internal policy allows work from home occasionally. Our project managers and the HR team are in close contact with each member of the team to make sure that everybody is in good health, with the needed resources to continue their activities and we can provide support when needed”, Raluca Rusu explained.
Mindful of the new general business conditions, R Systems is fortunate to operate in one of the few industries which hasn’t been massively affected. “IT and technology have connected the entire world and allowed the transfer of most of the normal activities into the virtual environment. We have a number of clients who registered increased volumes of work over the last couple of months but overall the situation stays within the normal parameters.” Also R Systems is still actively hiring through a 100% online process “as we need additional staff to round up the team and allow us to maintain the growing trend of the business”.
R Systems’ portfolio includes over 20 local and international companies. “We have partners with whom we’ve worked for over 10-15 years, as well as more recent clients acquired in the past 2 years. Our approach is always the same, targeted at building long term partnerships”. The line of service starts in the consulting area where – alongside the clients – the company identifies their needs and the most suitable solutions: from technical solutions to team management and agile methods for project delivery. “Once the projects go into production, we often take over the responsibility of maintaining the systems and providing 24/7 support with very short response times. By company policy we provide services at a high quality/price ratio.”
On the medium and long term, R Systems aims to achieve an annual growth of 10-15% at group level, to extend the cooperation with existing clients, to gain annually 2-3 new clients and turn them into long term partners, and to grow the cloud solutions department. “We also wish to ensure a sustainable growth of the team, with motivated people who can find in R Systems the suitable place to evolve and achieve their professional goals”, added Raluca Rusu in the CEO interview.
Another objective is the expansion of services beyond the telecom industry into the segment of public and hybrid cloud solutions. “We have successfully delivered private cloud projects for telecom companies, especially outside Romania, and we can see the actual benefits that technology can bring to organisations. We believe now is a good time to also contribute to the development of this market in Romania and to help local companies to use cloud technology to accelerate growth and improve their relations with their clients and employees.”
According to Raluca Rusu, this crisis will accelerate the digitalisation of many organisations “Many companies have been caught unprepared for 100% work from home, although the nature of their activities would have allowed them to do this, if they had prepared the needed infrastructure, software systems and processes. Also, unfortunately, many industries have been affected; the companies with the required capital to get over this period will definitely reconsider their business models and this reconfiguration will include the digitalisation of some of their services.” Regarding the IT industry, the companies working with the affected sectors will have difficulties in ensuring the necessary work volume for their existing employees and “therefore may go through difficult times”.
Another affected segment is that of Romanian startups which depend on financing and gaining market share. As Raluca Rusu stated: “I think it depends on the served market segment and the development stage of the startups. From the IT employees’ points of view, as compared with the 2008 – 2009 period, we now have many more international companies which opened development offices in Romania and many outsourcing companies have grown in a sustainable manner. I believe these organisations will be able to absorb the candidates available on the market, especially considering the acute lack of IT resources over the past years.”