We talked to Szélyes Levente of SOFTECH | Codespring about software development, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Szélyes Levente: Like most of the people from our community and in the world, we tried to adjust our schedules and daily routines to online schooling and work-from-home practices. We can say we are among the lucky ones to live in the Cluj-Napoca area, in the Transylvania region from Romania, where the internet connectivity is one of the best in Europe.
Due to the proximity of the city to large protected natural areas, such as Făget forest, Turzii Gorges, Tureni Gorges, and the short distance to the Western Carpathians, we could manage to spend outdoor time with our family. In summer, travelling across the country was possible, so we enjoyed quality time in our home towns close to Hargita Mountains.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SOFTECH | Codespring.
Szélyes Levente: I started my career as a software engineer, working for companies in the energy, industrial automation, and professional video solutions industry. At some moment, I was also a researcher at the Technical University of Munich within the Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering Department.
I founded SOFTECH, the software development company back in 1998, in Romania, when the IT market here was barely beginning. A decade later, we launched Codespring as a dedicated outsourcing unit, and it is now the company’s key brand.
My team is proud to have contributed to several award-winning projects in the software development field, and in 2020, the company was ranked among Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies by Financial Times. Naturally, the covid19 pandemic of 2020 affected us all – our company, our partners, and customers, but we tried to handle the situation by adjusting the way we work and being receptive to our customers.
How does SOFTECH | Codespring innovate?
Szélyes Levente: Given the fact that we are working in the global software development industry and that our customers are large technology or product innovators in their industries, the innovative elements of our work go hand in hand with the solutions we are committed to solving.
Innovation essentially means introducing something new: a new idea, a new method, or a device. We are constantly analyzing and producing new ideas to solve existing problems in the contextual constraints during the software development lifecycle for our customers. It is often not the wealth of ideas but the knowledge to select those ideas that will deliver by the end of the cycle a flagship innovative software solution or product. Here I can say that together with our strategic partners, we have built software recognized as the product of the year in their fields of application.
As for the software development and process itself, we take it as a must to include innovative practices in the field. Continuous Integration, continuous development, DevOps, and all the latest methodologies are innovative in the way the software development process is being managed and customized by each organization. Some practices are around for several years, and they may not be disruptive, but they are definitely constantly and organically renewed and refreshed.
Aside from the innovative work and processes, our company is also constantly involved in fostering research and innovation actions in the region by actively participating in the community’s projects such as public-private partnerships, the local innovation park’s foundation, and the center of excellence.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Szélyes Levente: Well, the pandemic of covid19 was definitely unexpected, and we have felt its impact through our customers. Some were forced to take coercive measures in relation to the software development projects: budget cut-offs, pausing of development, department dissolutions. Nevertheless, we tried to stay on course and work along with customers and partners to diminish the business’s financial impact.
On the other hand, by the end of the year, new projects have arrived from customers who decided to re-adjust to the current sanitary and physical distancing context. 2021 looks different than expected 12 months ago, but a strong point of us living in the Romanian and Eastern European context is that we are used to handling uncertainty and ambiguity.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Szélyes Levente: Against the negative financial outlook of the year, we took all decisions to favor our colleagues. We helped each member of the team to cope with the sudden work from home strategy. We have pursued their well being and customized the approach as we could. Online trainings, online meetings, and online team-building were the new routine of 2020.
This strategy pays off because we are now ready to enter 2021 with a team that is aware of the context and has the will to deliver quality work in order to maintain our market position and core business.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Szélyes Levente: Probably, it was not the case for me, nor for the colleagues from the same generation. In Romania, we have lived through many uncertain and unstable contexts – political, economic, and social. Since the covid19 pandemic is literally a global phenomenon, probably Eastern Europeans and people from the Balkans are the ones that easily cope mentally with the given situation.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Szélyes Levente: Since we are competing in the global custom software development market as a service provider, from Romania to the rest of the world, the competition is extremely high and heterogeneous. But, the massive advantage of this type of global market is that there is room for everyone.
Our company SOFTECH | Codespring has its own distinctive qualities and competencies, but before a customer reaches out to us, we join forces with our local community to attract them to Romania and Cluj-Napoca as a software development destination. From this perspective, our local direct competitors are also our market partners. At the end of the day, staying in the game is up to the type and volume of the project each company can handle with their existing team. We are currently ranked among the top Cluj local software development companies, and we intend to organically grow further.
Your final thoughts?
Szélyes Levente: We hope that the pandemic situation will end in the nearest future so that we can bring our team together again. In the office, we can truly enjoy socializing with our community and developing our company’s culture.
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