They gather professionals together and create quality IT solutions. Meet the Slovak software company QBSW (Quality Business Software) and Kristína Horváthová, with whom we discussed mobile applications, without which most of us would not be able to imagine the world.
Hi, Kristína. Firstly, introduce yourself and QBSW.
Hello. My name is Kristína and I am trying to follow the slogan: If a person has strong enough “why”, he can manage to do any “how”. I arrived at QBSW 18 months ago. Since then I have been responsible for selling web-based and internal applications and IT solutions. In QBSW, we deliver services with the highest added value, analyse opportunities in private and public administration, as well as provide comprehensive solutions concerning the design, creation and integration of information systems.
One of the QBSW domains is mobile applications. Why applications?
Most people use smart phones daily. We pay invoices, we have fun, we meet other people, answer e-mails, scan QR codes, share documents, measure mileage, and without GPS we are lost. We can use the functionality of smart phones in business. There are more than 140 professionals in the QBSW team who are ready to tackle any topic and create an application for any client.
What are the most interesting and successful applications you’ve ever developed in QBSW?
We have a really wide range, but I would like to add the following: fan application for HC Slovan Bratislava, MedusaCard for company Medusa Group, City Monitor for communication between citizens and self-government, tablet application for the Nedbalka gallery, the DOCKitIN start-up application, which “changes” documents from paper to electronic form, or an application for the Toyota PPC Team, which will alert you when you need to change tires or order a service.
How does the whole process and communication with the client work?
Each client is different, so the form of communication is individually tailored. Sometimes the client has an idea how he/she wants to solve his/her problem, and sometimes does not. But that does not matter at all, we can take care of the whole life cycle of the application. We will identify the client’s needs and make a proposal that we then transform with our design department into a technological offer. I am an interpreter between the client and our IT guys. Subsequently, we agree with the client that everything matches his/her ideas. When each process is approved, the implementation process follows. Even before the implementation stage, our staff have to analyze the whole case before they begin to create and program. The finished product, of course, is tested. We can pride ourselves on having 16 custom testers to test the functionality of the application on all types of devices. The quality of the result is a priority test
Why should I choose QBSW for my application instead of getting my own developers to do it and so reducing the cost?
Our main advantage is market stability, position and experience. It’s a good idea to develop an application using our know-how and get the whole as a turnkey application. The price is based on the difficulty of the solution of the mobile application, and for both platforms the price starts at € 10,000.
We are a purely Slovak company and all projects are being programmed in Slovakia. We have been active in the market for 17 years, and despite the high quality of our services, we are still improving. The client can be sure he/she will find us here tomorrow too, and our cooperation will continue.
You said that your client has an application ready quickly. What time period are we talking about?
The development and coding of the application takes at least two months. This is the real time during which we need to identify the client’s needs, implement the solution, graphically adjust it, and test it. Application development is done in two teams simultaneously on two platforms –Android and iOS. However, the development of a high-quality application may last for even a year, depending on functionalities, whether there are transfers to payment portals or links to other systems. The more complex the system, the longer the process.
What are the main benefits of business applications?
Let’s just admit that we’re used to getting information immediately because we are always close to our phones. Because of the fact that smartphones today have wide-ranging coverage, they can be used by people in and outside of the business, for both customers and businesses. Applications can help make business work more efficiently, eliminate mistakes, speed up internal processes, reduce costs for transport or operation, link communication between internal employees and managers, and, of course, deliver real-time information. Applications are simple and clear, and thanks to that, they are solving business issues fast. What’s important, however, is that our applications help to prevent problems.
What happens when you submit the finished application to the developer? Do you know how to track data and analyze the effectiveness of your application?
With our clients, we are trying to collaborate on a long-term basis and to incorporate new functionalities into applications. However, it is up to the customers whether they want to manage the data themselves or leave management in our portfolio. Each application has a different function. If it is to be beneficial in culture, it will, for example, provide an overview of what exhibitions are organized, but the result is difficult to measure. Another example is City Monitor application, where people report problems in their city. They send photos and they can see if self-government is doing something about the issue or not. Then, there are also financial applications where the indicators are clearly measurable. The usage of applications also suggests the number of downloads, for example, HC Slovan Bratislava has more than 10,000 downloads.
Can you define, based on experience, trends that are currently hot in the world of applications?
The most recent trends include smart phone connectivity with home appliances, control of the office with use of a smart phone, attendance systems in the cell phone, skin scanning recognition systems in the healthcare industry, use of educational games in the education system, use of financial platforms in the financial sector, smart metering applications in power distribution engineering, and scanning of item inventory codes in the logistics market.
Among the interesting projects of QBSW is the already-mentioned application for Nedbalka gallery, which is also based on the scanning principle. How does it work exactly?
Every visitor gets a tablet at the entrance to the gallery. The application works on the principle of image recognition. With the smart phone, you can capture any picture in the gallery, the application will recognize it and tell you about the author, the year of painting, or the technique that was used. Such a virtual guide is an innovative form of presenting art because it combines culture and information technology. For the smallest, there is also an educational game in the application – putting together a puzzle from the pictures presented on-screen.
QBSW is primarily about smart IT guys. It is said, however, that in Slovakia there is a pitiful lack of them. How is it with you?
Yes, today it is very difficult to fill the software development positions. Demand for people in IT is high. Processes within the company are beginning to digitise, and IT development is progressing fast. In our company, we would be able to employ about 30 new people today. We have open doors for people with knowledge and skills who want to participate in new projects. In addition to interesting challenges, we can offer them a great team environment and above-average corporate benefits.
Benefits include, for example, professional training, certificate support , language courses, paid sports activities, a café or 100% paid lunch. We regularly have a breakfast bar, grill parties and teambuilding sessions together. We are trying to create a good atmosphere, because it is one of the most important priorities for us. We want to connect the virtual world with the real one, so that those who are still programming can blow off some steam or do some physical sports. We organize contests of innovative ideas that are not only financially valued, but often many also become projected into real solutions. We want our staff to come up with ideas and not to be afraid to discuss their ideas with management.
Also in the IT sphere there is a lack of women. Why are there so few IT girls?
The IT sphere has always been a predominantly male area. Today, however, more and more women are interested in information technology, studying at technical universities in Slovakia and abroad. Women are smart and successful even in the IT world and they are not afraid to prove it. Of the 140 employees in QBSW, there are 20 women, of which about half are designers, analysts, programmers and testers. In addition, we are organizing an event specifically for ladies under the title “Women in IT”, which is actually an Open Door Day for female students who want to know more about the IT area, QBSW and job opportunities.
Finally, what would you advise students or other people interested in working in the IT sphere?
In particular, I would advise them to try interviews in different companies and decide not just by the salary and the place of work. They should find out what projects the company is working on and the overall working atmosphere. That way, they can go to work every day with a smile 🙂