The company QBSW celebrates its 20th anniversary. What did the world of IT look like when we began operating, and how did customer requirements change since then? We asked our CEO Martin Hrnko.
What did the world of IT look like when QBSW first began to operate on the market?
A lot has changed in the last twenty years in the world of IT. In those days, it was a big step forward when we started delivering web applications to our clients that they could use from any computer with an internet connection. These users could be anywhere in Slovakia.
What was also progressive is that these applications could look usable and at the same time, make work easier for our clients. We had to convince customers that this type of applications is meaningful and secure and that the entire application doesn’t have to be installed on one specific computer while it cannot be used on any other device.
How have customer requirements changed during your 20 years on the market?
During that time, a lot of new trends and technologies have emerged that did not exist in the past. Whether we’re talking about cloud, blockchain, practical applications of artificial intelligence, smartphones, tablets or the Internet of Things, customers need to use all of these innovations suitably.
Gone are the days when companies only made applications that recorded something, be it an accounting system, warehouse management solution and so on. Nowadays, it is no longer enough for an application to cover the operational needs of a business, it must help it directly. Be it by cost reduction, direct sales support or gaining customers. Today, with every software project, we try to figure out how this project can help the client’s business.
Sometimes, of course, new areas of business arise. In QBSW, we support them by offering technical help to various start-up projects in the field of telemedicine of creative industry.
Over the years, QBSW has survived a technology boom, financial crisis, introduction of euro and a pandemic. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?
Looking back, I can say that we have overcome several difficult times. You can count with some of them and prepare accordingly, such as the introduction of euro or SEPA. Others, such as the financial crisis or this year’s pandemic, are very hard to prepare for.
The most challenging thing so far has been the pandemic which tested our ability to work remotely as a team. As our business – software development – depends on our customers’ demand, whether from the private or public sector, we still need to retain considerable room for flexibility.
The philosophy of our success is built on fantastic people, their experience, competencies, technologies we use while implementing our projects, as well as on our partners who help us respond to both positive and negative changes in business demands.
While in the beginning, you focused mainly on the Slovak market, in recent years, you have increased the number of customers from countries such as Belgium and Finland. Do you plan to expand your business activities beyond Europe?
International expansion has long been our ambition. In addition to gaining new clients, we also see an opportunity to develop our company’s competencies, as well as the competencies of its employees by often having the chance to take part in projects realized by international teams using innovative approaches and technologies. This way, we have the opportunity to transfer this knowledge to projects we work on for our Slovak customers.
We would like to expand our portfolio to include clients from the USA. However, the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic have thwarted our ambition. We still consider personal contact with customers and partners to be an important part of software project implementation.