vineri, septembrie 30, 2022

Ruben Ibgui, Fondator și CEO, R.E.I. Development Services – his success story in Romania

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Interviu cu Ruben Ibgui

 Fondator și CEO, R.E.I. Development Services

His success story in Romania

You are a German citizen residing in Munich. What are the advantages of the Romanian IT&C market for an expat entrepreneur?

Actually, I have been living in Romania for 10 years. I lived in Timisoara for 3 years and now for 7 years in Bucharest. Romania has very talented people. The advantages used to be very good quality of service, craftsmanship and dedication of industry professionals at affordable prices. Especially for expat entrepreneurs starting off their career, it has made the IT industry more accessible and affordable.

Nowadays, with all the competition in the market, prices have risen drastically, but at least the quality of service has remained high.

You founded R.E.I. Development Services in 2016. What objects did you have at that time?

My main objective was to create a company that can be productive, efficient and successful, but yet keep a relaxed and enjoyable work environment. I realized very early in my career (I risk sounding cheesy, but it’s true) that human resources are above all other aspects of a company. With the right people, the right attitude, and the right atmosphere, I believe anything is possible. The truth is that we have 24 hours a day and 8 hours are spent at work, which means 1/3 of their time is dedicated to the company and my business, therefore I feel responsible to create a place that makes them enjoy coming to work instead of waking up in the morning and already hating the day.

What are the main IT&C services offered to customers?

At REI, we provide End-2-End IT&C services for complex software and online delivery platforms, from initial platform architecture and product management to deployment, execution, System and Security Administration. Our services include, among others: Product Management, Project Management, IT Operations, 24/7 Network and Security Monitoring, Support Services (Level1, Level2, Level3), Development, Application Testing and Customer Service.

What technologies and equipment do R.E.I. Development Services in the day-to-day business?

As a cutting-edge technology company, we are obliged to run our day-to-day operations using the latest tools available: we use cloud services (Google) for mailing, internal communication, document sharing and collaboration between teams, ticketing and project management systems (Atlassian Jira, Confluence, Service Desk). The teams use Ansible to manage an IT and security infrastructure of more than 1,200 systems worldwide, located in various data centers, using private and public cloud-based technologies and integrated into a comprehensive Disaster Recovery and Replication protection scheme. All operations are monitored 24/7 by our in-house NOC and SOC departments, which use state-of-the-art network and systems monitoring tools to monitor end-to-end all our operations and applications. We operate several systems, the vast majority running on unix-based OS-es (with Nginx, PHP-fpm, Mysql and Galera Clusters, ElasticSearch, etc) and some on Windows-server based OSes. Our QA departments use a full range of automation tools (based on the Selenium framework). Our code is mostly based on PHP, including the implementation of various frameworks (Laravel, Codeignator, React, VueJs etc). We fully support the new hybrid way of working, giving employees the ability to work both from the office and from home, while all their data and voice applications are available wherever they are.

You specialize in the gambling industry. What are the specifics of companies in this sector?

#1 would certainly be a great sense of responsibility, at least if you want to do things right. Many of our products are subject to ISO certification or other regulations to ensure that everything is done to the letter.

#2 Flexibility, our field is extremely dynamic and commissions are always looking to come up with new regulations, which means that by the time we implement what they ask, we already have to start working on new requirements. This can be very frustrating, but it’s part of the industry and you must be flexible enough to handle such situations.

#3 Integrity, honouring agreements and setting realistic expectations is a very important part of our work, as well as assuring our customers that their trade secrets are safe with us and will not fall into the hands of our competitors. Working only with whitelisted markets also counts towards our moral code.

What other segments do R.E.I. Development Services? Do you also have external clients?

We are also involved in BPO, i.e. services for our clients’ customers. We offer support in EN, IT, DE, ES as well as KYC services to ensure the safe use of our customers’ products. As an outsourced service, all our customers are external.

 

What other industries/areas have the potential to grow in the sense that they will need your services? What strategy do you have to attract other customers? 

Products such as our own sportsbook and trading platform, innovative jackpot engines and blockchain exploration. As it now looks, blockchain and smart contracts built on it are offering amazing opportunities for our industry.

The software industry in Romania will continue to grow in 2021 by about 10%, reaching a new all-time high of over 9.2 billion euros. How do you rate the competition in this industry, where almost 27,000 companies operate?

It’s a very tough market in terms of recruitment and retention, especially since some foreign companies, e.g. from the US, have started recruiting under WFH conditions, with huge salary offers that have changed the software engineers and technology professionals. Therefore, it became necessary to look at the countries around Romania as well. On top of that, I don’t consider many companies in Bucharest my competition, as I am in a niche and I have very established clients who know they are getting the best services that money can buy.

According to a recent study conducted by Roland Berger at the request of the Employers’ Association of the Software and Services Industry (ANIS), there is a significant shortage of specialists in this industry, of about 10,000 people per year. What means do you use for new recruitments?

We believe that internal recruitment is the most effective. Having a dedicated recruitment team and growing it organically, according to the demand for resources, is vital to closing the required positions. The method we apply is mainly headhunting and scouting, but of course the salary package and benefits must be attractive enough for specialists to consider your offer and even come for an interview. Having nice office space helps too 🙂

Relying on recruitment firms in Romania is impossible, and the costs are relatively high for the services provided. I would suggest that even the big names in the Romanian recruitment industry entice companies to pay a certain percentage up front, but never intend to close the position and put in the work required to succeed. At least this is my experience in 6 years of working with several different ones, spending thousands of euros and always closing the position in house before they even send a valid candidate.

How will the digitalization process change the attitude of entrepreneurs and the activity of the companies they run?

It’s hard to answer this question because I already live in a world where almost everything is digitized, and the attitude of an entrepreneur, in my opinion, depends more on his/her/their morals, knowledge, experience and constant self-improvement.

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically and rapidly changed consumer behaviour, and some of these new habits will remain even after the period of reduced mobility imposed by the current context. Among the most significant changes in behaviour are online shopping and cashless transactions (favouring the continued rapid expansion of digital banking). How do IT&C companies benefit from these opportunities?

This really depends on the field you are in. In Fintech, a lot has changed, a lot of innovation has been made possible by more funding in this sector and by tech leaders seeing more opportunities as their predictions for the future of these markets have been confirmed by recent events.

Other industry sectors are not affected at all by the above. For those of us in the Casino industry, new consumer behaviour has brought a lot of new regulations from the commissions to protect players, which has nothing to do with online shopping or digital banking.

 

How do you find the balance between personal and professional life? What things bring joy into your life other than your career?

As an entrepreneur, it’s very hard to separate the two, as we trade our 9-5 jobs for 24/7 jobs. Most people don’t understand the responsibilities of opening one or more businesses. From regulations, permits, financing, cash flow, human resources and many, many more.
Unfortunately, these things know no timetable or schedule, and you must always be available to make sure things work. However, it is very important to find time for wellness, and it can be any kind of wellness. I define wellness by doing things that bring you joy, which can be time spent with friends and family, travel and exploring new things, as well as sports and hobbies. I love the mountains and the sea, climbing and surfing make me forget everything around me. So make time for wellness, otherwise you’ll have to make time for illness.

Who is REI and why it’s so special?

We offer our clients a perfect balance between quality and cost for our services and products, being professional consultants and strategic partners for their business. We offer our clients the latest state-of-the-art technologies in the gaming industry, implemented in accordance with best practices, standards and legal compliance. REI is people-oriented and wants to offer its employees a modern and diverse workspace, offering a work environment that focuses on well-being, career development, flexibility and support to increase employee performance, a strong employer brand in the local market. We develop a productive, stable and efficient operating climate based on sound processes and procedures with a focus on our organizational culture defined by learning, growth, adaptability, performance and respect.

Our brand is more than just a logo, it is a strong culture and mindset.

We value Inclusion and Diversity, Guidance and Mentorship, Integrity, Evolution, Loyalty, Transparency, Competitiveness.

 

 

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