Codespring CEO’s exclusive interview
Codespring’s road to success. A long story in short, told by the founder himself: Mr. Levente Szelyes. Find out how he started, what he faced and which principles are guiding our CEO while doing good business. An exclusive interview offered to BV Business Center.
Exclusive interview with Szélyes Levente for the BV Business Center
Translation of the original interview published in:
1.What are the business fields in which you currently operate and what is the story of the business you own?
Since the past characterizes us, but the present defines us, I dare say I’m a lucky guy: each business that I helped develop, either as founder or as strategic partner, was related to the IT&C field, more precisely software development.
Out of the businesses I own, „Codespring” and „Softech” are companies that operate on the global software development market both as an independent service provider and as outsourced provider.
Each business has a unique story. Yet, the development of each of them was marked by the vision that the founding team deeply printed in it. Looking back 12 years ago, when I laid the foundation of the first business (Softech), I now see that the cycle I went through is the same: I saw the opportunity, I made an inventory of existing skills and I answered the challenge. This is how Softech was born in 1998, Eurosoft International in 2000, Softline International in 2001 and Codespring in 2005.
All these businesses are related to the software development field: my passion. As an entrepreneur, I always followed the optimal time for the „entry” and „exit” – things that I believe each owner should ponder at a certain moment. I achieved two success exits (selling shares) and in my current portfolio I own the companies Softech and Codespring, to which I will refer now.
2. Which are the main products or services that you provide and what makes them different? Is there any strong point that makes them unique?
Codespring provides the full software development cycle, as well as specific services: consulting in defining and managing the software development projects, execution (programming in itself) and related services (support and technical assistance, helpdesk, upgrades etc). We have teams that work as outsourced providers for global customers from the IT&C industry (Graphisoft, Teracue, Seeburger etc) and teams that work either directly for customers from various industries (food production, telecommunications, transportation and logistics, construction and design, media & entertainment, education, medical services etc. ), or develop our own products (Productis, iSpeed Cam).
As for the differentiating element, there is one, the most valuable for the customer: the added value that we bring with the Codespring formula: [knowledge of the business processes in over 15 industries] + [ the expertise acknowledged in software development].
The unique attribute is the Codespring print on all supply processes for services and products. I am thinking here of a set of values and a system of working that has proven quality, reliability, efficiency, agility and satisfaction.
3. Which is the key to your success in business and what are the steps you took to achieve success?
Honestly, I am very demanding when it comes to defining „success in business”. In exchange, speaking for here and now, I would refer to the „key of my achievements” until now.
…I would start with what I have learnt from my own experience, as a programming engineer who started without initial training in sales and marketing (J): key number 1: always try to think from the customer’s perspective, to understand what he expects from your team and what solution answers his needs.
…And… I would insist on something that’s very specific to our industry and that I would like to extrapolate at company and team level: key number 2: to own and to provide business continuity. A major risk in our field, yet present in other consulting or outsourcing businesses, is the risk of having your business activity interrupted from various reasons: changes in management or team structure, technical issues, financial problems, and others that I don’t need to mention. Once your company has made the commitment for a long-term reference project, you don’t afford any „distortion” in your program and in your service supply flow. Therefore, the „business continuity” principle is one of the key for success in the long term.
4. Which are the marketing strategies that you have used in promoting the company?
I have mainly used two marketing strategies: 1) direct references from customers and 2) strategic partnerships with customers, providers and collaborators. In our field, these two promotion strategies have proven to be the most viable. Once the business has increased, then of course we have used the full promotion mix depending on the specific nature of services and products that we wanted to promote.
5. What professional objectives have you set for this year?
For 2010 my objective is consolidation at all levels and mobilization of resources to capitalize opportunities. We are preparing the steps for the following business development phase and it is very important for us to have the team by our side, a team that’s well trained and ready to handle new projects.
6. You are a success owner: what do you think the future trends will be in the Romanian business environment ?
2009 definitely was a year of tremendous economic change at global level. Neither Romania nor the IT&C industry were spared. We all put our efforts together in order to enhance quality, to have a closer follow-up of deadlines and to provide the most adequate solutions. In my opinion, the Romanian business environment will follow the global trend of „reshaping businesses”. Once the economic recession has impacted us, we have reassessed the way resources are used and the investments are directed. The IT&C industry has and will continue to have a major impact on the business environment through the new technological applications that redefine the way in which we interact, both as individuals and company representatives. „Change” and „Evolution” in the software development industry is a fundamental prerequisite, and maybe this is why we feel at ease when witnessing these phenomena. Romanian managers and entrepreneurs generally respond well to challenges, thus I am confident that Romanian businesses will surge again.
7. Which are the basic principles that you follow in business?
The sum of basic business principles for me would be that „extraordinary businesses rely on extraordinary men”. With this thought in mind, I have always tried to surround myself with people of highest moral integrity, with talent and potential to become very competent in what they do. In software development these criteria are to be followed by the team and the customer’s team as well. When developing strategic partnerships with international companies, you have to lay the basis for a worthwhile collaboration that can only be achieved with a shared intellectual and ethical platform.
8. What are your business plans for the future?
Future plans target three major aspects. First of all, we wish to respect our vision and to become strategic partners of customers specialized in IT&C, and with them to make our contribution in shaping the industry and our lifestyle. Second of all, we wish to be among the most sought-after teams of software developers in Central and Eastern Europe. Third and last but not least, we wish to commit our creativity and intellectual potential in developing products and software systems of best quality, by giving our full attention to social responsibility and ethic topics.
9. What advice do you give to young entrepreneurs and companies from Romania?
Given my own experience, but also the experience of managers of companies with whom we interact, I would recommend the new generation of entrepreneurs to make permanent improvement at all levels: personal and professional. And in particular I would advise all entrepreneur, manager or project initiator to carry things through. Failures are inevitable in the learning and developing process. The idea is to learn from them and to improve. Success belongs to those who make it to the top despite all obstacles.
10. And a closing now, please.
„Every end is a new beginning”. I would like my closing words to be a „foreword” or an „intro” for those who make the first steps on the path of developing their own business and in particular in the IT&C field. The career of an entrepreneur in software development is interesting; what matters is that we know when to switch to manager and then to leader. As for me and my team, the imminence of the „next edition” , „newest generation” or „innovation” attracts us to new and new challenges.
I extend my thanks to the BV Business Center team for their initiative and I invite those who want to know us better to contact us.