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The pandemic has not slowed TARA Interactive’s plans. On the contrary, time has shown that business in the software market is doing well regardless of context.
For the local software industry, the pandemic was undoubtedly one of the engines of development, with an explosion in the demand for digitization from those who had a weak online presence and who found themselves unable to continue. business in the new reality.
“We include those who have discovered the need for an online presence, either through a corporate presentation site or by expanding offline stores with the online version, an action that would not have been considered mandatory until then,” Vlad Lepădatu, managing partner at TARA Interactive, a software development company in which digitalization applications have had a cumulative increase of about 400% over the period since the beginning of the pandemic, nuances the context.
With an investment budget of half a million euros in 2022, TARA Interactive has rethought its strategy in line with industry movements and aims to increase its presence in the international software market, especially by expanding its customer portfolio in the United States. of America and Western Europe. This whole new context should ensure that it has “at least a doubling” of its turnover by the end of this year.
“Beyond the major impact of the health crisis, political risks and associated fiscal unpredictability or recent inflationary pressures, the local software industry is consolidating its key role in economic development and turning Romania into a regional hub, after one of the most rapid growth rates, if not the fastest in the last ten years, of over 250% “, says Diana Florescu, economic analyst KeysFin, provider of business information solutions, in a recent study on this topic.
Last year, the Romanian software industry was estimated at about 9.2 billion euros, almost one billion more than in 2020. In the year of the pandemic, almost 27,000 software companies were active in Romania, with 9% more than in 2019 and by 104% over the total of 2010. It should also be noted that the share of turnover generated by local software companies increased from 32% in 2010 to over 57% in 2020, in view of the faster software component.
“We work in a field that is not yet sufficiently understood by much of the world. The software market is atypical, both in Romania and worldwide. It brings many process changes in a business through the automations developed, making it necessary to adapt to the new workflows, eliminating redundant activities “, points out Vlad Lepădatu.
About TARA Interactive, he says that in 2020 and 2021, it has had a good evolution in the projects carried out in several fields. Being a software house, we are “industry-agnostic”, we do not focus on something specific. (…) Overall, this year we want to better cover the segments of fintech, e-commerce, process automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and big data information processing “, adds Lepădatu.
For 2022, the company has considered investments of 500,000 euros, most of which will finance the marketing, sales and HR departments. Currently, about 70% of turnover is generated by projects abroad, many in Western Europe. Although the Romanian market is doing well in terms of human resources to develop top technologies, according to Vlad Lepădatu, it has five or ten years to recover compared to countries such as the United Kingdom and the USA, in terms of innovation and the adoption of digitalization in companies. .
“Given the communication without language barriers with customers – Romanian engineers have above-average knowledge of English -, very good IT infrastructure and demand in Western markets, we have easily created collaborations in these regions,” says Lepădatu. And from its plans for international expansion, the first country to be targeted is America and, in parallel, the United Kingdom.
For 2022, a doubling of the turnover was budgeted, compared to the value of almost one million euros reported last year. The estimate is based on both external expansion and the accelerated development of certain sectors such as online retail, which is expected to reach a market value of seven billion euros this year, from 6.2 billion euros in 2021. , as shown in a GPeC report. “Romanian e-commerce is constantly growing. Starting from the value of 6.2 billion euros in 2021 and making a simple calculation means that Romanians have spent, on average, almost 17 million euros every day of last year for online shopping – up from 15 million euro, the daily average recorded in 2020 “, shows Andrei Radu, CEO and founder of GPeC.
TARA Interactive will focus this year on better coverage of the traditional e-commerce, fintech, logistics and retail industries, with a focus on the areas of process automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. “We expect an even more accelerated advance of the industry in 2022, amid greater investment, as a result of the entry of European funds into the market.
We estimate increasing investment in the area of Big Data and AI, especially in the segment of large companies, whose need has evolved from software solutions that store data (ERP, CRM solutions) to a need to understand that data and share it. he interprets in a correct way in order to be able to make good decisions in real time “, continues Vlad Lepădatu. According to him, another peculiarity that contributes to the evolution of the local software industry is the very well developed IT infrastructure, which facilitates the connection and development on servers in other countries, aspects that facilitate the access of Romanian software engineers to complex, international projects.
As for the challenges of 2021, the migration of the IT workforce and the instability of medium-term employees have put pressure on this industry. To the extent that complex IT projects are implemented over the years, IT employees consider it “normal” to change jobs every six months. “However, this lack of synchronization, combined with the dynamism of the industry and the workforce, makes the evolution of the local software industry difficult to predict,” says Lepădatu.
TARA Interactive was founded in 1991 with an initial investment of $ 1,000 and two departments: software development and commerce. At the time, the local software market was almost non-existent – computers were just beginning to appear in companies, and people were reluctant to use them.
With the development of local Internet networks, Tara Interactive began building web pages for companies that were innovative enough to expand their online presence.
Then, in the early 2000s, he began developing software that was used in the process of purchasing and marketing products. “In the first years we based our activity on custom product developments, at the request of customers, most of them being on the side of databases and their management interfaces. We also had projects in graphics and design, including 2D and 3D animations that, at that time, were almost unknown in Romania “, Lepădatu remembers. If during the years 2009-2017 it operated in an extremely narrow niche at that time, namely real-time trading software products and bank debt collection products, after these years, the company diversified its services with a single purpose. : to be able to cover any need for digital transformation of customers.
This article appeared in issue 134 of . magazine
PHOTO: Laszlo Raduly