We talked to Ilia Krustev of A Data Pro about their specialty in content, data and business intelligence services, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ilia Krustev: As a family, we support each other, especially in those circumstances when family life, health, work, and education continue to be affected by life in lockdown. We try to redirect family conversations away from the pandemic, thus buffering the stress and developing and adapting to all changes. I think family relations are now more important than ever, having valuable time together and engaging positively with each other.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined A Data Pro?
Ilia Krustev: I have been working in A Data Pro for 20 years now and what I value most is the opportunity to change and, therefore, the opportunity to work in an industry where the only constant thing is exactly the change. I believe that the knowledge-intensive industry will be the pillar of the future global economy and even the economy now. To be part of that is one of the most important things for me that keeps me engaged and involved in this type of business.
How does A Data Pro innovate?
Ilia Krustev: Even in a pandemic situation, we have not stopped our R&D operations; on the contrary – we continue to develop. At the moment, we have recouped investments in new products and services. The company’s goal was to diversify customers. If you are fast and adaptable enough, you can enter new markets and attract new customers in a situation where some of your competitors are slower or more extreme and inconsistent in the measures they take because of the pandemic.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ilia Krustev: A Data Pro as a company demonstrates preparedness and a quick response to the pandemic’s fast-changing circumstances. We organised100% remote working literally for a couple of weeks. This may not seem essential at first glance, but the basis of our business is to ensure business continuity of service, and this was of great importance for our clients. It was also important for us as an employer to guarantee our people’s health and safety to keep them informed and thus help them deal with stress and anxiety. Constant and open communication is probably the most valuable instrument to keep the employees focused and engaged.
Of course, we do have some financial challenges – payments delayed by some clients, affected the cash flow, and lead to some cost optimizations, but I should say this made us actually more effective; we didn’t face layoffs or other drastic measures.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ilia Krustev: Accepting that this situation is stressful and beyond your control is the first step to choosing how we respond to all this. Acknowledging your own thoughts and feelings can help you make better decisions. Focusing on how you can learn, develop, and adapt makes you capable of supporting others too.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Ilia Krustev: Relationships are more important now more than ever and how we speak to ourselves and others plays a really big part in dealing with stress and anxiety, both professionally and personally. Even in а situation of remote working, we turn to technology to stay connected, to be together. The management should encourage transparent communication and open dialog with the employees to inform them in order to keep them engaged.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ilia Krustev: We are our greatest competitors. To what extent we are willing to adapt, being flexible and innovative will determine our role on the market of information services for our partners and customers.