We talked to Igor Omelianchuk of Corsac Technologies Corporation about custom software development, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Igor Omelianchuk: We are doing ok. I am mostly working from home since spring, and we kind of got used to that; that actually helps to spend more time with the family, and my wife and two kids (my 7-year-old daughter and my 15 months old son) are happy to see me more often.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Corsac Technologies.
Igor Omelianchuk: I have been involved in the software development business for almost a decade now, and the idea to create a business appeared after I moved to Canada 4 years ago. I knew that I need to establish my life here, and the best option would be to do what I am passionate about and what I actually enjoy. It took me a year initially to get back to my usual job of leading software development projects and then another year to get back on track before I was ready to establish Corsac Technologies. I had a team that I was working with for a long time, I was confident in what we were going to do, and I knew that specializing in innovative development was something we were actually good at. By the way, Corsac is a small grey fox; you can see it on our logo. It was such a struggle to come up with a unique name, and my wife helped me with that. The team enjoyed the name, and now we have a real unique mascot, which we love.
How does Corsac Technologies innovate?
Igor Omelianchuk: The slogan that we use for Corsac Technologies Corporation is Innovation, Research, and Development. We actually do the projects which require serious research efforts and non-standard solutions. We qualify the projects that we take, and we do not really take the work, which is just a copy of something already existing on the market; we do non-templated projects. I work closely with the client and industry experts to verify our approach to the project; I participate in the client’s usual work routines to understand what and how they do. Very often, when there is an innovative idea, just a vision of how that might help customers, but that is still not yet a business solution. My job is to develop that vision together with the client, deconstruct this vision, and transform it into an actual working business and then develop a software solution to sustain that business. That is why, apart from development, we do business analysis, customer analysis, marketing research, etc. It is a very creative approach, and I really enjoy it personally. The only drawback is that it is very difficult to set the exact limits of my responsibility.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Igor Omelianchuk: We started to work remotely mostly, and that actually turned out pretty well. Apparently, there were challenges at first, but then everyone more or less got used to that. Software development is one of the businesses which you can actually do remotely in an efficient manner. I see challenges meeting new clients, and this year I actually had less face to face business meetings with new clients than I ever had before, so the challenges are more in prospecting rather than actual development work. I started to participate in more online meetups, which helps to find new prospects.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Igor Omelianchuk: Very often, in the process of project development, I have to make quick choices on what to do if things do not work out as they should. Usually, it is a stressful situation, and I need to communicate it to the client, and the decision is made by that time (so it is very tricky). My job is not only to communicate it but actually to understand what is better and act on it before I get formal approval. The main lesson here would be to act with regard to the benefit of the project, which usually pays off. If you mean did I have to make difficult choices with regards to Covid pandemic, I had to give up meeting with clients face to face and had to cancel all the business and personal trips that I planned for 2020, there should have been a lot of them. That is very challenging not being able to meet people face to face in business; it seriously reduces your opportunities.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Igor Omelianchuk: From a business perspective, I would say my main strategy is to first acknowledge the problem and face it, and then try to find the solution to the problem that creates the stress. It is not to justify if you did everything right, or if it was an accident; it is not to find who was responsible for the problem; it is actually to take all possible and effective actions to solve the problem. When I have a clear understanding of what the essence of the problem is and what is the way to solve it, it actually helps to reduce the stress. I do not like blaming the situation or other people; it makes me feel helpless.
Also, when one needs to deal with very prolonged stress (when it takes a lot of time to solve it, weeks, months, etc.), there is good practical advice to tell yourself that you can cope with it today whatever it takes, and see what happens tomorrow. That way, you do not overwhelm yourself to go through another week or month; you focus only on today’s part and not burden yourself with the part that needs to be solved tomorrow. This is very practical advice, and I believe it was given by Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and a stoic philosopher, in his “Meditations.”
When I want to clear my mind from work and do something completely different, I have my hobby, which is painting miniatures. It is important to have goals in various activities. You do not always succeed in everything, so knowing that you are doing well in something makes you feel better and reduces stress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Igor Omelianchuk: Our competitors are other software development companies that are creating custom software. It is an extremely big market, and staying in the game usually means having a very clear marketing message that distinguishes you from your competitors in your industry niche and stays on top of modern technologies. I could probably name hundreds and hundreds of other companies since our competitor can be any company in the world struggling to get the same project as we do. I need to monitor our clients’ and competitors’ activities all the time to make sure I know what is going on in the business world. And I need to test new sales approaches all the time. Literally, I change something in how we sell our services every couple of months.
Your final thoughts?
Igor Omelianchuk: This year has been and is still a struggle for everyone, but at the same time, it opens some opportunities which we did not see in the past and forces us to re-evaluate how we do things. I did spend much more time with my family than usual; my 7 years old daughter did not go to school for over half a year (she studied remotely), and I initially thought that it would be very difficult, but it turned out pretty well, and I think I get along with her much better now. At Corsac, we worked a lot to develop proper processes for remote work when we were on lockdown several months in a row. It created new hiring opportunities for us and also brings value to our engineers since now working from home is not an issue at all; I would say even more that we managed to pull some of the projects in late spring only because we were working from home and were very flexible with working hours. I hope next year the situation will improve and the world will get back on track. I am actually looking forward to a new serious technological breakthrough in the next 5 years. We will face many changes related to new AR/VR development. AI will change how we approach development overall, so we are investing in it, and I am also really looking forward to the development of the aerospace industry with Mars Mission soon. I want to expand into the aerospace industry, and I am sure it will be huge.