We talked to Yury Shamrei, CEO and founder of SumatoSoft, about software development, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Yury Shamrei: Thank you, much appreciated. My family and I are doing pretty fine in these times. Surely, everyday life has changed a lot since March 2020, however, we’re lucky to have an opportunity to isolate ourselves and work remotely. I’m sure it helped us to stay away from the crowds and active in-person gatherings and avoid COVID-19.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SumatoSoft.
Yury Shamrei: I’ve been working in the IT-sphere for more than 20 years already. I have always wanted to start my own IT business. I knew that I need experience in this sphere to do it right. I worked as a software developer for 5 years, then in several years, I switched my career and became a project manager. Having worked on many complex software projects and with many different clients from all over the world, I became proficient in all stages of the software development cycle following foreign standards‚ from business analysis and preparation of feasibility report up to project implementation.
When I understood that I know enough about how to organize effective work‚ lineup cooperation between different divisions and departments‚ put right business connections and effective communication processes, I decided that I’m ready to start my own business. It happened in 2012.
How does Sumatosoft innovate?
Yury Shamrei: I’m convinced that innovations and improvements should be key characteristics of any company working in or with the IT industry today. The world is changing very fast and the IT is changing even faster, and to be able to compete you and your team should be able to learn fast from your own experience, from the experience of the whole market, your clients, your competitors.
SumatoSoft has always been working on unique, complex, innovative software. To be able to deliver a real value to our clients and customers of our clients we should not only learn and apply the best and new technologies and practices but also adapt and even sometimes invent new approaches and processes. It happens almost in any project we are working on. That’s a creative and innovative environment we’re working in.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Yury Shamrei: One of the biggest changes the whole world faced last year is quarantine and remote work. However, SumatoSoft works with companies from different countries. 99% of our clients are from abroad. Since the very first day, we have been building a remote system of effective communication, project management, project delivery, etc. From this perspective, COVID-19 hasn’t influenced us a lot. The only change is that our team works from home now, not from the office as it was previously. Our clients haven’t noticed any big difference as we have already worked remotely.
Nevertheless, like many other IT companies, in March-June SumatoSoft negotiated a lot with the current clients as some of them were going through some period of uncertainty. Some of the clients were affected a lot by the crisis and we were looking for ways to help and continue cooperation as we all understood that IT solutions might be the ways to help to adapt the businesses to the new reality. Since autumn the situation has become more stable, the first shock passed away, many companies worked through new strategies and we continue working and growing like before.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Yury Shamrei: Surely, difficult times require difficult choices. However, if you have a professional team you can trust, you can do and overcome much more than you think. That’s the main lesson we learned.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Yury Shamrei: There are no specific tools or software we started to use due to Covid, we have always used them in our work – project management solutions (Jira, Trello, etc), messengers (Google Meet, Teams, Zoom, etc), meeting planning tools, etc have been set up long before the crisis.
Speaking of management soft skills, I think empathy and flexibility are very important today. Our clients face considerable changes in their priorities, processes, tools, etc. And we should be able to, on the one hand, adapt to these changes, and on the other hand, to share our experience and expertise not only in software development but also in building remote work effectively.
Moreover, empathy and flexibility are important not only in terms of work with clients but also in cooperation with your teammates. It’s hard to deny that life has changed and we need to support each other.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Yury Shamrei: It will be hard to name just one or two. We work internationally and we can say that all companies providing custom software development are our competitors.
Speaking of the plan and strategies to stay in the game, I wouldn’t like to reveal all details, but of course, we have rethought and rebuilt our strategies for 2021 in sales & marketing. Also, we continue working hard to make innovations possible.
Your final thoughts?
Yury Shamrei: It’s trivial but COVID-19 has changed the world. Everything and everyone. Like all great changes, this process is hard and painful. However, I do believe that every crisis is an opportunity as well, an opportunity to create and build something new and better. I’m sure scientists and doctors will beat the virus soon and we will meet the new world. How will it look like? It’s only for us to decide.
Stay safe and look for new opportunities!
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