Forbes Romania invited important representatives from the local business environment to talk about the lessons learned/experienced in 2022 and the challenges of 2023 in the #lecțiipentru2023 editorial project.
Gabriel Chiva, Managing Partner Optima Group
What is the word that best characterizes the year 2022? Argue.
For Optima Group, 2022 was under the sign of growth. This is the word that defines our evolution. It is definitely our best year. It may seem atypical that, in a year that was marked by uncertainty on many levels, we have an upward evolution of business, but this is proof that software development and technology services respond to current issues and change the paradigm in all fields. Topics such as time and cost efficiency and sustainability are on the agenda of all large organizations, and our solutions make such an impact in a context where change in a smart way is the watchword.
On both lines of business - the development of own software solutions and stocktaking and asset inventory services - the trend is increasing. We started an important research project with the Babeș-Bolyai Faculty, in the area of Machine Learning/AI - a software platform for predicting the evolution of some business indicators in commercial processes. Also, in the area of asset management software products and services, the period is very active, we are constantly growing and working with large and very large organizations from all fields of activity, such as utilities, retail (supermarkets/hypermarkets, bricolage, fashion, beauty), banks, telecom, FMCG, public sector, etc. Moreover, we cover about 80% of this market of digital asset inventory and stocktaking solutions through stand-alone solutions.
We will register a turnover more than 1.5 times higher than in 2021. Also, we have already signed contracts for 2023 worth 3 million EUR for several months.
What were your concerns about the business you are running in 2022? What are the results of the company's/group's activity compared to the estimates at the beginning of the year?
We looked carefully at global economic and political development, the impact that all of this could have on our people, customers and business, and followed various working scenarios. Although the results of Optima Group are above expectations, we are still concerned about the potential economic crisis and the changes taking place on the labor market. I will refer to the latter and would mention that an important concern is to be able to support, from the perspective of the human factor, the projects undertaken. It is not a concern per se, but rather a priority once the business volume increases, especially that we are operating in the main business and technology poles - Bucharest and Cluj and that, for some projects, we also need 500 collaborators (for inventory projects with national coverage).
How did the war in Ukraine influence the activity of your company?
We felt no direct influences. Of course there were concerns with a war in the immediate vicinity - both from the perspective of the impact on our team and from the perspective of Optima Group clients, global organizations which investment decisions are made on different considerations and scenarios, and a stable climate comes before.
Which are the strong and weak points of the business environment in Romania?
I think it is worth highlighting that we have an accelerated or faster economic growth than other countries. The geographical position in the region also matters, but also our ability to adapt and adjust immediately. In the field in which we operate, of technology, I would also mention the talent of people, even if they are insufficient for the current need on the market.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges globally, but for your industry/field in the year 2023?
We are looking closely at signals from other territories, like the United States, where the idea of an economic crisis is taking shape. The challenges we had this year as well – the energy crisis, inflation, supply chain disruptions and other post-pandemic effects, war and the paradigm shift in labor culture – will remain and we will have to learn to manage them. For the IT field, the competition in attracting and retaining talent is intensifying from year to year and will remain the most important challenge and priority for OPTIMA, equally.