The quarantine imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has frozen most economic sectors where many employees cannot work remotely, reminds us of the importance of digitalization for all companies, no matter their size or scope. The fact that many businesses use software solutions to manage their operations, gives them an even greater advantage in these challenging times.
“This epidemic has shown, beyond a doubt, how interconnected we are all at the moment, and how quickly a situation that seems isolated, can have a global impact. If we look at the glass half full, I think that the last few weeks have clearly proven that people are, in fact, extremely flexible and adaptable,” says Adrian Bodomoiu, Managing Director of Wizrom Software, in a recent interview with Business MAGAZIN.
However, one of the market segments where the specific ‘appetite’ of other software sectors, is lacking, are companies in the manufacturing arena. “While we see tremendous growth potential, there are still companies active in this sector, an industry segment that has strongly felt the lack of a specialized workforce, and increased production costs. In this context, automating production processes has fast become a priority, and we expect to see a growing number of customers focus on demand planning and manufacturing execution systems,” explained Bodomoiu. “Similarly, the flexibility of the work environment has become vitally important, as companies must be able to continue their activities by maximizing the ‘engines’ – the software systems they currently rely on.”
“As the work environment becomes more flexible, companies need business software that can be accessed and used without limitations, on any mobile device, regardless of the location of the user. Here, for example, we expect to see a surge in mobile solutions and mobile applications usage, where even the smallest companies will choose the path of digitization, especially via accessible solutions available in the cloud,” he added.
Long time Priority Software business partner, Wizrom Software, was founded in Bucharest, Romania in 1994, and is managed by Israel’s Davidai, a family-run company. With approximately 3,600 active customers in the local market, Wizrom also serves an extensive customer base in Bulgaria, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Hungary, Israel, US, Canada, Belgium, UK, Croatia, and Poland. In 2019, Wizrom achieved € 5.7M in revenues, based on company-provided figures. Among the most popular Wizrom solutions, is WizSalary, through which the salaries of over 600,000 employees in Romania are processed.
“The demand for solutions closely reflects real business challenges,” said Bodomoiu. “For example, expanding the labor crisis to a growing number of industries, has led to an increased demand for Human Resources (HR) software solutions, while the pressure to boost the cost-effectiveness of the consumer and retail industries, has increased the need for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. Overall, professional services, manufacturing, distribution and HR, had the greatest contribution to our revenues in 2019, with demand coming mostly from large companies.”
What solutions are Romanian companies looking for?
In an information-led economy, some of the most important ways to effectively reach customers are identifying, analyzing and anticipating their needs based on available data and data analysis. Taking a closer look at the Romanian market, the Wizrom team maintains that Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, namely those that help customers leverage their business data, are increasingly being sought after in the local market.
This trend is clearly reflected on a global scale, where data and data protection is so vitally important, that in 2018, the EU had to implement a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This same reality transcends to all economic sectors, even reaching local elections, where Cambridge Analytica used data analytics based on information collected on every American voter in the 2016 US election campaign.
But what the market is heading for in the coming years remains to be seen, where it’s estimated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and its many benefits, will be a game changer. In Romania today, AI can enhance any company’s existing software technology, bringing with it, an entirely new perspective. “The next step is to streamline the solutions that integrate AI, enabling them to generate in-depth analysis in a shorter time. The benefits increase significantly when these solutions integrate with existing ERP systems, since data is collected and analyzed in real-time, to support the business decision-making process,” said Bodomoiu. “I would even dare to say that, in five years’ time, it will be difficult to find a company that doesn’t have a viable solution based on artificial intelligence.”
The early pioneers of digitization in Romania were the distribution companies, according to Wizrom, as they perceived digitization as the answer to managing cost efficiency. “When it comes to distribution companies, we’re referring to their complex operational processes, which rendered their manual administration inefficient. In fact, in general, automation has been embraced industry-wide, particularly by those with complex, multifaceted workflows, such as manufacturing or the consumer goods. These industries welcomed automation into their workflows to reduce operational costs and boost productivity in a relatively short time.”
Transitioning from “I want” to “I must”
Automated solutions are no longer perceived as simply a ‘trend’, but as a reality that responds quickly to labor shortages, in addition to meeting other critical business needs. “Today, automated solutions are technologies that virtually any company, regardless of size or market sector, should turn their attention to, to develop their business and increase their operational efficiency. They should no longer be viewed as “nice-to-have”, but rather, as a “must-have”, added Bodomoiu.
Many of Romania’s businesses serving the local market were reluctant to adopt automation when they were forced to invest in software solutions, Bodomoiu recalls. “For some time now, we’ve encountered company management’s hesitation to invest in complex software integration projects, choosing instead, to invest smaller amounts in stand-alone solutions. However, as these companies began implementing business management software in their day-to-day operations, and the financial benefits became clear, we’ve seen considerably greater openness on their part. More and more local companies are aware of the importance of investing in IT infrastructure and business automation solutions, and as a result, have chosen to increase their budgets, which in turn, supports our objectives as well,” explains Bodomoiu.
Wizrom sees competition as particularly fierce in Romania’s software vendor market, as companies have become very focused on new technologies, and how they can integrate automation into their operations, from small to large companies alike.
At the threshold of digitalization?
Wizrom believes that in the last two decades, Romania has recovered much of the gap in implementing new technologies, at least in terms of the consumer and the private sector, with the business community quickly picking up steam.
“As for technological advancement, in the last 20 years, Romania has successfully competed with the most powerful European countries,” said Bodomoiu. “In an attempt to make up for lost time, local companies quickly embraced new technologies. One only has to look at the success of Romania’s Fintech market or other collaborative platforms, such as Uber or Airbnb, fast becoming local market leaders.”
Romania would still be prepared to adopt early technologies, such as blockchain, 3D printing or machine learning, as demonstrated by other Romanian companies in the private sector that market these solutions. However, to keep Romania’s business momentum going, the IT sector needs new investments to remain attractive, as it’s approaching 6% of the country’s GDP. In recent years, the contribution of education and taxation has further supported the growth of the IT sector.
“Today, the IT & Communications (IT&C) sector in Romania is one of the key contributors to the country’s financial success. The economic benefits, with the relatively low cost of labor as compared to other EU countries, but also the focus on education in this sector, have all contributed to its marked increase in recent years,” said Bodomoiu. “It remains an attractive offering for investors, but its development potential is limited by the size of a skilled workforce. The annual number of new graduates fails to keep up with the demand for employees. I believe that the future success of the IT&C sector will greatly depend on how well we’ll be able to attract a foreign-base workforce or develop new specialists at the local level, for example, through professional retraining programs.”
Author: Alex Ciutacu, Business MAGAZIN, Romania
(Translated from original article in Romanian)