Balkan Services Manager Vladimir Rashev: Bulgarian Companies Are Increasingly Seeking IT Consulting
Interview with Mr. Vladimir Rashev, Managing Partner of the Greek-owned Sofia-based company Balkan Services, for the Greek Survey of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency)
Your company offers services and solutions for effective management – ERP, BI, IT consulting: would you briefly explain these activities in layman’s terms, from the outset?
Balkan Services offers solutions for effective management through consulting services, implementation and support of IT systems. Our areas of expertise are: ERP- implementation and support of complete Enterprise Resource Planning solutions; BI/DWH - Design, Implementation and Support of BI/DWH Information Systems combining information from different sources for ad-hoc analysis and reporting; Business Requirement Analysis consulting services for the implementation of information systems; IT Audit of information systems, Business Continuity Planning; Microsoft Dynamics CRM- Development of Customer relationship management; Solutions for leasing and factoring companies; Complete solutions for insurance brokers; Professional development and management of project proposals under the Structural and Pre-Accession funds of the EU, as well as other programs of the European Community.
Your company is Sofia-based. Are you active internationally? Why was Bulgaria selected as the place to set up Balkan Services?
Basically our company has a good presence on the Balkans. We have already realized successfully some projects in Greece, Romania, and Serbia. The ambition is to carry out more and more projects in the englishwhole region.
What are the perceived benefits of your services to companies? Why would they need your offered expertise? What sort of companies need your services, and why?
The vision of Balkan Services is to be a symbol of competent IT consulting company. Our mission is to improve the organization and usage of Information Technology in corporate customers and support the process of turning data to information, information to knowledge, knowledge to decisions, decisions to actions.
We actively promote software products as the vehicle to deliver value added services to our customers who are from different business fields: Financial institutions, Industrial sector, Distributors and wholesale dealers, Retailers, Construction sector, Telecommunications etc.
Balkan Services’ consultants have managed the implementation of ATLANTIS ERP and Business Intelligence solutions in many large-scale projects including: First Iinvestment Bank, Emporiki Bank Bulgaria EAD, Hebros Bank, HVB Bank Biochim, Coca-Cola IT Services, Multirama, Prostream Group, Elmec Sport (Nike), Germanos Telecom Bulgaria, Cablecommerce, Optima Financial Services, Belpak, Rigips, Chrysmetal, EVGA, Tirbul, Danone, Boro, Kometta III, Convoy World, Sofia Mel, Top Drinks, Darko, CBA Asset Management AD.
Our strong expertise helps the customer to turn the data into valuable insight and to squeeze efficiency from daily operations.
Has the recession hit your Bulgarian company in particular, and the overall company in general? Or are the services and solutions you offer insulated to some extent from such financial fluctuations? Are you, indeed, expanding despite the overall financial situation?
We are proud to declare that our financial statement for 2009 is better than the one for the previous year. The crisis was created by over-expectations, speculations and very optimistic vision. We try to be realistic and to base our company development on concrete results.
This is thanks to the hard efforts of our people and the awareness of our customers that one company should manage properly the processes and its IT system not only in times of growth but also in a period of difficult decisions.
Your web site differentiates between “Project Management” and “EU project management”. What, essentially, are the differences, and are the two areas merging as more Bulgarian or Balkan companies adopt EU technical standards and qualifications?
Concerning the EU project management, our support to the customers is in the form of preparing professional concepts and proposals under the Structural and Pre-Accession funds of the EU and other programmes of the European Community.
The Project Management solutions are automating the whole process of company’s management – activities, resources (employees, machines, equipment, etc), costs. The product that we offer - Primavera Project Management- is a worldwide leader in Project and Portfolio Management solutions which is implemented in more than 75.000 companies in over 80 countries.
How does Bulgaria compare in your field to other Balkan countries where you operate? Are you involved in a young and developing market, or a more mature one, from the Bulgarian perspective?
In Greece, for example, the IT business is developing more rapidly than in the other Balkan countries. Meanwhile, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Albania are also registering a considerable progress. From this point of view, our interests are both in developing and mature markets.
What level of operations and management have achieved your Bulgarian clients? How would you compare their position with, eg, other Balkan countries, and on a pan-European basis?
We are pleased to remark that Bulgarian companies, including our customers, are growing constantly which means that their needs of professional services and solutions for effective business that we offer are also increasing.
Most of them are international and serious companies, so I think that their position particularly on the Bulgarian market is similar to their positions on the global markets.
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