Interview with Ovidiu Sutac, EPAM Romania
Technology has brought a lot of opportunities and reports on global expansion opportunities for the tech industry are placing Romania among the 30 most favorable markets for US and UK tech firms, based on a wide range of factors. We sat down with Ovidiu Sutac, Director, Country Head EPAM Romania — who brings over 25 years of experience in the IT and software development field to his role — to hear about the Romanian journey of the company, the challenges, opportunities, and plans for 2022, as well as how they’re adapting their strategy to the “new normal” of business ecosystems.
EPAM is a new name in the local tech landscape. Tell us more, who is EPAM, what is your DNA?
Through its ’Engineering DNA’ and innovative strategy, consulting, and design capabilities, EPAM works in collaboration with its customers to deliver next-gen solutions that turn complex business challenges into real business outcomes. EPAM’s global teams serve customers in more than 35 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
As a recognized market leader in multiple categories among top global independent research agencies, EPAM was one of only four technology companies to appear on Forbes 25 Fastest Growing Public Tech Companies list every year of publication since 2013 and ranked as the top IT services company on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list in 2019 and 2020.
You opened your presence in Romania right at the beginning of the pandemic. Ovidiu, how did you play this card?
I joined EPAM just one day before the global lockdown. At that point, we did not have an office and we decided not to open one, as we could not use it during the emergency state in Romania. During the pandemic, we proved that our teams are efficient working remotely and our colleagues are happy to be 100% remote.
We are opening two offices, one in Bucharest and one in Iasi, to give our colleagues the flexibility to have various working experiences and to connect with others if they want to.
What is your feeling, one year away? How does the evolution of the local business environment look through your eyes or those of your customers?
The pandemic started to change a lot of things not only in Romania but globally. Starting with the way of working, teams are not necessarily co-located but distributed between different geographies. In the past, customers were always asking for team members to be in the same location, to be present in the office to get better supervision, but right now, they are happy to have their teams distributed in different countries and cities, as they know that their project will be delivered at high quality no matter what.
This change also helped EPAMers on a personal level in their life: they do not spend time commuting and are able to use this time to focus on personal or professional development.
Do you feel that the business needs have changed during the last year? What are the challenges you encounter in your projects today?
Of course, we’ve noticed some changes coming from business because the needs have changed. Depending on the industry, some of the needs became more oriented to digitalization and on-line – and here I’m mostly talking about e-commerce and retail. But other industries suffered the same trend. Clients started to ask us for more solutions that will help them interact with their own clients virtually / on-line.
The only challenge that I see is related to social life for our employees. But this is something that affects everyone in the world, globally. Due to the pandemic situation, it’s hard to gather teams around the same table and strengthen the relation between team members. Talking specifically about EPAM, we have many employees that haven’t met in person ever. But for this, we are adapting and we’re organizing different online events, using the technology that we have at hand, and from time to time still meeting up in person for some team buildings and other events dedicated to socialization.
Recruitment, in our field, has always been a sensitive point. How did you manage to choose your team, as a newcomer on the local market? How does the recruitment experience become from painful, beautiful?
Firstly, they needed to understand that, on one hand, they joined a team within a fast-growing company as EPAM. Secondly, we started to build everything from the start and we looked for open-minded, collaborative, patient, technology-oriented specialists, the ones ready to discover the company, build the foundations and create a real team at the same time. That provides great advantages to leaders who are ready to grow. Apart from that, we are looking for excellent professionals, who act with integrity, are ambitious and reliable.
We share a passion for technology and technology connects us. We use several platforms we use to connect, we share our opinions and thoughts, find common passions and when the time is right, we meet face to face and connect. Inside EPAM we have lots of activities that keep our colleagues connected and engaged and we celebrate our achievements and milestones together.
How many superstars do you have in the Romanian team? What are your plans for the team and its expansion for 2022? What opportunities does the parent company offer for the team here?
We are now more than 200 EPAMers from several cities in Romania. We are planning to continue growing the location in line with global trends and results and we expect that more superstars will be hired in Romania in the next few months.
Our colleagues have opportunities for professional growth from day one. Through our global Engineering Excellence programs, they receive training on the latest and most advanced technologies. They have access to our learning platforms, mentoring programs and a wide range of professional communities and events. And many more.
What kind of projects do you have underway locally? What industries are you targeting? Are you also involved in international projects with the local team?
Our clients showed a big interest in the Romanian team, and we are looking for more specialists to grow and we are looking especially for Data and Big Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Java Developers, Full Stack Developers, Cloud Engineers, DevOps Engineers .Net Developers, Automation Testing Engineers and many more. We are committed to finding the best opportunity for every candidate, so If they are looking for other specialties than the ones stated before, I invite them to look on our careers page or, if they have friends, who they think would be a good fit for EPAM, they can refer them to us and would get in return an attractive bonus.
Have you noticed certain global trends that have a favorite adoption in Romania as well?
Nothing new and expected in the context that we are living in. Remote work continues to be the new norm and more candidates and clients are embracing this new way of working. Also, people are more focused on getting a job that allows them to develop their professional skills and offers them training in innovative technologies and programming languages.
What do the business plans for the last Q of 2021 look like? And what is your vision for 2022?
We continue our commitment to creating a strong tech community inside EPAM Romania, bringing more and more experts that are skilled in modern technologies as well as starting different training programs, that will help them grow even further. People are the most important resource that we have, and we are always looking after them to grow professionally and help them with personal development as well.
In 2022, we will continue to grow in line with EPAM globally as we see a big demand coming from our clients and more and more are interested in setting up teams in Romania.