The biggest change in a string of structural shifts at Itransition is that Alex Demichev is now the CEO of the company in charge of Itransition’s everyday management. Alex has been with the company for more than fifteen years. He began as a developer and excelled on every step of the career ladder, including managing one of the largest departments as Head of Web Development. Former CEO Sergey Gvardeitsev who remains Chairman of the board is currently responsible for strategic direction, opening up new development opportunities. Alex Demichev is getting his MBA at Oxford on top of his busy schedule but he found a few minutes to talk about the latest changes with us.
Itransition is one of the biggest outsourcing providers in the region, boasting large projects with clients like Phillips, Toyota, eBay, Adidas and Shell. With offices in the US, UK, Russia and Belarus, the company consistently wins prestigious international titles and awards. Why change anything, if things are going so well?
We don’t want to rest on our laurels or stagnate. It is time to evolve and bring the best Western business practices to the table without forgetting our roots, of course. Now Sergey Gvardeitsev will be able to spend all his time and concentration on extending our horizons. He is still a major decision maker, fueling the evolution of Itransition, entering new markets, sealing new partnerships with large clients – but with a laser focus. The vision we have can really come to life now.
Your new position is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of structural changes, right?
Yes, it is. Structural changes span the whole company. We moved on from a situation where we garnered growth by supporting a competitive environment between separate department entities, to a consolidated effort of every part moving in the same direction as one. In the past heads of departments were independent of each other, each pushing their own agenda. Now we are truly a team, mirroring the best organizational practices of major global IT companies.
We achieved unprecedented growth and current success using our former strategies. Now the focus is on syncing our business with the rest of the world – easy to understand for investors and potential partners. We are more transparent, dynamic and accessible. We have identified the leaders who are responsible for all key processes in the whole company, eliminated inner conflicts and bottlenecks so that our most talented executives can realize their potential on a new level. In addition, one of the goals of the reorganization is to take the best practices used in individual departments and apply to the whole company.
This process involves consolidating all development, opening new offices abroad and restructuring the already existing offices. Our new representative office in the UK is a huge step. American offices are currently being restructured, with the goal to be as close to our clients as possible.
Why do you think there is such a need to be more open in terms of structure?
We want our clients to feel there is no difference in quality of service between working with their current local IT teams, except for a very pleasant difference in price. We want our business to be flexible, both in structure and inner collaboration. Now we can painlessly whip up a team of specialists with the same level of expertise but from different departments. I believe that this will significantly strengthen our position when competing for large projects. Also, we are erasing the last bit of distance between the client and the team by becoming next door neighbors. Any shadow of a doubt that the word “outsourcing” carries is gone. This, I believe, will lead to a higher level of deals, and hopefully unlimited growth.
What are your expectations of the new management model?
We kept what worked from the old structure, but transformed it in the hope that the new structure will facilitate seamless integration during mergers and acquisitions.
The new structure will provide an opportunity to consolidate the lessons learned, applying them to the development of the entire company. We will develop new competence centers, focusing on mobile development, e-commerce and other fields.
Can you see any direct results of the reorganization already?
Absolutely! We are now more attractive to experienced IT specialists. When we started in the late 1990s the IT market in Belarus was non-existent and we had to train bright kids, effectually being the first to launch professional IT courses. That time has gone and skilled employees with valuable experience continually flock to our doors. However, we do maintain a healthy balance between more senior employees and those who are starting their careers, allowing us to build on the best practices while also drawing energy from “new blood”.
What do you envision for Itransition long term?
Our goal is to increase the number of major partnerships, providing full cycle services, covering all the needs of our clients at all stages of the development of their products. Ultimately we want to be indispensable. We are evolving naturally to achieve this, moving away from the software outsourcing model to the product development services model. I am excited about the future.