We talked to Alfonso Sánchez Valdeolivas of Vanadis a leading technology consultancy in the design and development of customized digital solutions!
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Alfonso Sánchez: We are fine, but these have been interesting times for my family and I, as my wife has just given birth, and pregnancy through Covid has its ups and downs. But healthwise, which nowadays is the most important, we are good.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vanadis.
Alfonso Sánchez: I am a Telecommunication Engineer with an MBA and a couple of other Masters, and in my University years, I met 2 friends, and together we decided to start up a company. This company, Vanadis, has been growing throughout the years, and we have invested in other companies.
The company offers consulting services, specializing in mobile app development and digital transformation, and we have over 40 employees right now. Our headquarters are located in Madrid (Spain), we have offices in 2 other locations in south and north Spain, and we are growing and still excited about it, ready to keep facing the constant challenges ahead, giving it all it takes!
How does Vanadis innovate?
Alfonso Sánchez: R&D is in our core nature since we are engineers and always early adopters of new technologies. We started developing iOS apps weeks after Apple opened their SDK on the original iPhone (we are talking of 2008), bearing one of the first iOS Developers licenses in our country.
We are constantly innovating our clients’ processes, trying to make them more competitive, using technology to increase their productivity and optimizing in everything we do.
We also work on diverse state of the art areas: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things, Bots, Beacons… always trying to provide new services to our customers using the latest technology trends.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Alfonso Sánchez: It definitely affected our business, our inflow of leads went down during the months of March-April-May, and that affected our annual results and growth (which had been around 30% for over 5 years, and this year it halved). Financially 2020 was a harsh year, as we were sizing our workforce for growth, but we are sure 2021 will overcompensate for that loss, as companies have realized how important technology is and they are willing to invest more and more to become more competitive.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Alfonso Sánchez: Yes, sadly, we had to let go a few of our employees, and some of them left us themselves, so there has been some movement in our workforce. Also, moving all our employees to work remotely from home was a logistical challenge in many aspects, and it has strongly affected our daily work life. We are a young company, which had a lot of fun at the office (and after hours) and that part has been lost completely, which saddens us deeply.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Alfonso Sánchez: Our customers are all over the world, so they were used to remote relationships, but the locals have been complaining a bit… Tools, too many to name, we have dozens of telecommunications tools.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Alfonso Sánchez: Yes, our Government released low interest loans with 2 years grace period, which have been very handy to overcome the loss of business during 2020. We are hoping they will continue to help SMEs like ourselves, as we are the core of the Spanish economy.
Your final thoughts?
Alfonso Sánchez: Thank you counting on us for this Covid article, as an example of how the global pandemic has affected Spanish businesses. We are looking forward to a better future soon, and from Vanadis, we are doing our part by helping hundreds of companies improve and grow!
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