Never before in history has the world of business been so connected by technology. The surge in mobility from smart phones and tablets to cloud-based systems and SAAS has created unparalleled opportunities to grow our businesses beyond borders. It also creates new challenges to deal with issues involving in-house information technology that can end up costing small businesses a fortune each year to resolve. Our guest on this edition of Deal Talk discusses how small businesses today can cut these costs substantially by outsourcing their IT to highly advanced firms that specialize in handling it. Join us for an interesting conversation with the CEO of Ronas IT, Mr. Roman Surikov.
A good IT company will try to solve your problem without creating any new IT solution. They first of all try to find something on the market already available.
- Roman Surikov
Jeff: Welcome to Deal Talk brought to you by Morgan & Westfield, I'm Jeff Allen. If you're an business owner, entrepreneur, or investor this is the place to be. Our mission is to educate and inform you through real conversations with real small business experts including fellow small business owners like you to help you build a highly successful business you can one day sell at a price that truly reflects your commitment and accomplishments.
It wasn't long ago that the primary technical concern of most businesses was making sure that their telecom systems were up and running. It's not even often that we hear that word telecom anymore. It seems impossible to believe but true that now here in the 21st century we're talking about other things, and really what we're talking about today is IT, right? It used to be when your phone system was down of course, your phones went down, your fax machines went down, it often brought business to a screeching halt. Today, everyone being more concerned with their IT systems because if something goes wrong in your network or online, whether the program is local or at the corporate server it can drastically impact your company's productivity. We've all been there and done that and seen results of that happening, so what do you do? Do you hire your own permanent IT person or do you work with someone outside your company to help you?
My guest expert today has some important points you may find useful both now and in the future. His name is Roman Surikov and he's the CEO of Ronas IT in Omsk, Russia. Roman Surikov, welcome to Deal Talk, it's nice to have you.
Roman: Hello Jeff.
Jeff: Roman, let's start by taking just a moment to learn a little bit more about you and your company. Would you take maybe 30 or 60 seconds to talk a little about yourself and how Ronas came about and who you help, what you do?
Roman: Yeah. In general we are a software development company. We already eight years on the market. We're mostly focused on the software development for the mobile and for the web. Also, we provide services like system administration designed for our customers remotely. And most of our customers are located abroad, in the United States, United Kingdom, and other countries. Something about it.
Jeff: Roman, what would you say makes up maybe the largest percentage of your company's business at Ronas? What do most companies come to you looking for help with?
Roman: Most businesses related to web development and now mobile development is growing too, maybe 50/50 right now.
Most businesses related to web development and now mobile development is growing too, maybe 50/50 right now.
Jeff: And the mobile development is really catching fire. We've seen this outbreak. We knew it was coming and everybody has written about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. And now even Google has their own very specific requirements as to what will make your website friendly. And a lot of companies now are requiring that they get up to speed on this because they’re going to get left behind. How important is it from your perspective, Roman, that a company now focus more on having mobile-ready systems in place for their web marketing for example? Just how critical is it in terms of being able to keep your company ahead of the competition by making sure that you can be seen on mobile devices?
Roman: What I can say about this, we're developing a lot of things for real estate. And so what we can see right now is about 40 percent of the users come from the mobile devices. And if your site or your listing which is providing real estate objects there is not mobile friendly, users just come to us and then go away and never get back. And so you're just lose money. And I think yes this is important and more and more of our customers are focused on this right now and trying to reach the mobile version of the websites and developments.
Jeff: And so right there you used the two really evil words and those words were “go away”. Your customers or your prospects will go away. They'll go to someone else and you're absolutely correct. We've seen evidence of that many times over across many of the businesses that we talked to or that we're familiar with or that we learned about. We've read about these stories where a company thinks that they have a mobile-ready website, one that's optimized for mobile. And it may have been optimized for mobile two or three years ago but now since things are changing and now these responsive websites are starting to gain in popularity what worked two or three years ago now all of a sudden you're at a disadvantage aren't you if you're relying on technology and the information you got maybe from your tech expert two or three years ago when he built your website. That stuff just doesn't work very well anymore, does it?
Roman: Yes, true. Especially if you develop something around flash technology which not supported at all. And so I think it will go away during the next five years so, or even earlier. Also, there is no way to have your website develop three years ago and stop on this. You should sometimes from time to time go into you, how it looks right now, should you add something extra. Because for example design trends change very fast as you see. It's very fast changing, and maybe once a year or once every two years you need to update it according to current trends.
if your site or your listing which is providing real estate objects there is not mobile friendly, users just come to us and then go away and never get back
Jeff: Right, exactly. And I noticed too on your own company's website, you use what I kind of regard as the latest trend or the latest technology. It's a very wide open kind of architecture or design on your website at ronasit.com. People can kind of see what it is that you're talking about. It's very appealing. And it's quite clear that when you turn on your tablet, you use your tablet or you use an Android device, or even an iPhone that your website comes through loud and clear. It looks the same, it has the same uniform kind of appeal it, and it's obviously up to speed, and it should be for a company that performs all of the IT services including web design work that you do.
Let's stop right here for just a moment because I'd like you to talk a little bit more, Roman, about the broad range of services that your company provides. I know that you've got a number of things that you do and some people might think, "This is just kind of a commercial for Roman Surikov's company." But let's go ahead and talk about that because I want to give people an idea about the types of companies that are available today out there: the services that they offer are very broad and wide ranging, and your company is no different. Let's talk about what you offer.
Jeff: I think that you made a very important point. And for those listeners who may be tuned in, and the terminology that you used went just over everybody's head. People don't know anything about SQL or Java which is actually kind of an older type of script or language which has been around for some time and continues to be updated on a regular basis. Regardless of the names and regardless of the nomenclature used here on this program, I think the point that Roman made is very important in that his company, and there are other companies like his by the way, it's just a matter of finding out which works best for you, that your company Roman is very flexible and it has the people on board to be able to provide service for just about any task that people throw out to you. Any need that anyone has for designing and developing, whether it be some kind of web-based service or an app perhaps, or something like that that works, programming in any kind of language. You can do it for any language, any device so that it is up to date and needs essentially those Web 3.0 standards, is that right?
Roman: Yes, is it right, and also you're just talking and I remember that also we provide dedicated teams to our customers. If our customer run, and the same companies like our do this, each customer would like to run some startup, it needs full-time workers, but not really to hire, own, train, build the team etc, manage. We just provide dedicated developers to his team, on long term basis.
Jeff: Okay. You're in Russia. I think the time difference there is probably about maybe about 13, 14 hours, something like that. From where I'm located on the West Coast of United States, in Southern California here, but I think it's important to note that you talked about the cost advantages to business owners for outsourcing their IT needs. But even though you're on the other side of the world, you're still able to provide them with service even when it's the middle of the night back there, is that right? If someone has a need here in the middle of the business day in New York City for example, are they still able to reach somebody who works with for example your company, and get their needs met, and address their concerns.
Roman: Yes. It's mostly about system administration work. We have a system administrator which is 24 hours available, just on call. And also the time difference is a benefit for web development or for any development. Because when you get up you see results.
Jeff: I never thought of it that way but you're absolutely right. And it makes perfect sense. So while you're asleep the work is being done. And really good points to make there, Roman, can you think of any other reasons or advantages that might stand out to you in working with a company outside of your borders. We've talked about cost already, what are maybe some other benefits that you can think of that would appeal to a small business owner to use a company like yours instead of bringing somebody on board?
Roman: It's cost and also the IT guys are very focused on IT. And so they're interested to work in IT companies. If you ask him to work in real estate, the strong IT guys during sometime left this company and go to some foreign IT companies. It's very difficult to hold the good IT developers in not IT company. Most of small businesses no need full time IT. They need it part time. And so it's just, again, to the cost. You'll just double, triple pay for this guy who you need five hours a week. And most of our outsourcing, it's important because IT companies have more experience. They develop a lot of projects for example for real estate or for financial sector. And when you come for example from the financial sector we already have experience in this field. We have already solve the problems in this field. We already get some solutions for this field. And if you have someone from the market, it possibly this person have experience in real estate but not for example in the financial market or something like this. We're just accumulating big knowledge base here Internet, restore the history of how projects or risk or issues or solutions and so on. And when you hire the outsourcing company you get this knowledge and borrow it. And you get it in time which you need, in terms which you need, and for the duration which you need.
We're just accumulating big knowledge base here Internet, restore the history of how projects or risk or issues or solutions and so on. And when you hire the outsourcing company you get this knowledge and borrow it. And you get it in time which you need, in terms which you need, and for the duration which you need.
Jeff: There you go. Basically, the business owner along with the IT provider on the other end, the service provider, are able to work out all of the parameters. So whatever it is that you need for however long you need it, that is the help for solving a crisis, whether it be a small crisis or helping you develop a new website, something that simple, or help you improve your network infrastructure. This is something that can be provided for you and it's things are kind of worked basically on terms that are agreeable to both sides. But really as you kind of pointed out I think very, very well, Roman, oftentimes and most often for small business owners, having a full time IT person or even someone who is on staff who comes in and works at the office is just not necessary for most small business needs. We're talking about outsourcing your IT needs and why it’s advantageous to your small business. I'm Jeff Allen and I'll be back with my guest, IT expert and CEO of Russia-based Ronas, Mr. Roman Surikov when Deal Talk returns in a moment.
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Jeff: Welcome back to Deal Talk, I'm Jeff Allen with Roman Surikov, CEO of Ronas, a global provider of IT services based in Omsk, Russia talking about the growing need for IT-related services and why you should consider outsourcing your company's IT-related needs. Roman, we talked about the advantages of IT outsourcing. Now I know as the CEO of your own IT company in Russia, you probably might have some feedback for us on why there might be a disadvantage or two to using an outsource IT service provider. It may not necessarily be something that you might want to talk about because we talked about the advantages. But can you think of any reasons why maybe someone would not want to use an IT outsource company for their projects?
Roman: Main reason to not use outsourcing on your project if you're going to run some startup and you already have some vision and some long-term vision. And this is startup of some software service project or something like this because this is long-term project and for this project you need dedicated team. And if you don't want to have risk, all the time there is risk that the outsourcing company can leave for some reason, or a freelancer can leave for some reason. And you would like to have all the knowledge about the project under control. In this case you shouldn't go to the outsourcing because all the time you'll be worry about someone left, etc. In case this is your main business, if this is your main service it's better to have staff in your office or as a minimum have a core team in your office, in your local office, local etc. But if this is not your current business, you're selling a property or something like this it's better to outsource.
Jeff: Okay. So basically just to kind of recap and summarize what you said, Roman, correct me if I'm wrong. If you are a small business owner who works in an IT-related capacity with a company that develops, and I think you mentioned software as a service as an example, those kinds of businesses that are essentially in an IT industry field where you're developing software, and programs, and projects particularly those that require a high level of security with proprietary language, and coding, and things where you'll need a full-time staff on board. That would really be a situation where you would not want to consider using an outsource company to work with you on your issues. And chances are if you've got people like that already under your roof working for you, you're able to deal with all of your own challenges in-house anyway, so I appreciate that. Is it better, Roman, to hire freelancers or an IT company for your outsource IT needs. Let me set it up this way. There is a very popular outsourcing network out there called Upwork and they are attracting a lot of attention from freelancers and companies who need the services of those freelancers all over the world. It's amazing how large this is. It's very successful. And the freelancers there are topnotch. There are also some companies that provide services there as well. But give me your perspective, Roman. Working with freelancers versus a company to meet your IT requirements or IT service needs. What's your opinion? What's best?
Roman: It depends on the goal and the depends on the problems that you would like to solve. If you need some banner design, or some small job, some WordPress site. The duration of this development maybe for a week, a few weeks, or up to a month, I think it would be more simple to use freelancer services. Because he will be in most cases more dedicated. But in case you have some complex projects which need more than one developer, or develop your design, it's a great developer, someone else, it's better to use IT outsourcing company in most cases, especially if you don't have any IT knowledge, or management knowledge and so on. Because you spend a lot of your own money and time to build a team from these guys. And you get all risks in case someone leaves, or ill, or just disappear. And normal, responsible company all the time provide you replacement, manage staff, and they already have team players in single office which worked previously on different projects already together. And everyone knows what to expect from other team members, how they work, the velocity of these team members and so on. In case a team of freelancers it will be just not cost effective.
responsible company all the time provide you replacement, manage staff, and they already have team players in single office which worked previously on different projects already together. And everyone knows what to expect from other team members, how they work, the velocity of these team members and so on. In case a team of freelancers it will be just not cost effective.
Jeff: I'm not particularly savvy. Maybe I've got a company of 50-100 people. I'm growing but my knowledge base is limited where IT is concerned. How do I know how to choose the right company to meet my objectives and my needs. Remember, my knowledge is very basic. I know how to sit down and use my workstation. I know how the printer is connected, and I know how to get to my email and work with my company and project management, various programs, and stuff we have internally. But I just don't know how to fix anything and I'm not sure who to call. So how do I know how to choose the right outsourcing company? What am I looking for? What kind of questions am I supposed to ask?
Roman: You know it's similar to any other services like selecting a good restaurant. Just so you'll look at feedbacks, or previous customers on some platforms like Upwork. But no need to rely on feedbacks because it could be different types of the projects and different types of the customers, not like you. And the best way to check, deliver some small task to the already selected companies or freelancers for a week or maybe for a few days and see result. If you're happy with the results just move forward. But you can't rely on your own feedback on something like this. Because in most cases totally different projects and one customer would like to have day by day communication. Another one would like to have weekly updates. Another one would like to have results by morning, and another one in a month. And you don't know who was the previous customer of these guys and so to feed your needs you need to check this. And there is no way.
And never look to the price. I'll explain. Don't try to get the cheapest possible developer. For example for a clerk this is a usual thing. Customers comes and select the cheapest developer available. You never select a doctor this way, right? Why do you select a developer this way? I don't see any reason. But half of the projects in our company, we're already doing the projects after cheapest developers available.
Jeff: Half of them, is that correct?
Roman: Yes, half of the projects. And this is usually case ... So some customer comes, for example to Upwork, check the profiles and see this team from Philippines or India asks $3 per hour and they have great feedback. And another team from Eastern Europe have $20 per hour, and they get the cheapest one. And then they spend about half of the budget or even more and understand they're getting not what they want, and get back to another company and ask, okay, solve this issue. And it's already more difficult to solve it on this stage.
But you can't rely on your own feedback on something like this. Because in most cases totally different projects and one customer would like to have day by day communication. Another one would like to have weekly updates. Another one would like to have results by morning, and another one in a month. And you don't know who was the previous customer of these guys and so to feed your needs you need to check this. And there is no way.
Jeff: So what can actually happen is you could end up taking the cheapest quote that you are provided, you agree to work with that individual or that company, and you actually end up spending more at the end of the day because they can’t get the problem solved the first time the right way. And then they continue to add up the hours to try to fix the issue and make sure that the problem is dealt with, and do the job right, and they still can't get it right. And you've paid a lot of money for someone who told you they could do something for less when in fact they couldn't handle the problem. And I think it's interesting, you're talking about half the work that you're doing right now you've gotten because the companies that you're working with ended up going with the cheaper company the first time who couldn't get it right. And so now you have to come in and fix those problems and do it the right way for these people so that they're satisfied.
Roman, I was wondering. I'm just getting your opinion on this. Is it possible that by outsourcing to the right IT company, a company that you can trust, and I think you've mentioned a moment ago, you give a company a small project, see how they work, give them something to be satisfied that they're the company that's right for you and then you have a relationship with them. But by outsourcing with the right company don't you think that it's possible that you could actually be adding value to your own company because you are able to work with a reputable company who can provide you with outstanding service that can solve your issues, that is available at all times, and that is responsive to your needs. Without having someone on your permanent team in your business to help you with this, can you not actually add value to your own company by doing this because you're saving money and working with a reliable company that always comes through and always helps?
Roman: Yeah, sure. As I mentioned, the best thing here is flexibility. It's that value. Think about this like the different software services, like for example Google provides. If you need email you go to Gmail and pay five bucks per month and use it. You never build old mail server. And the same for outsourcing, if you don't need to build your own team you just need to outsource it. And in most cases this is reasonable in terms of expertise, in terms of price and other cases.
Jeff: Very, very interesting, IT it's an international language. It doesn't really matter where your help comes from or where they are, or where you are for that matter. If you find someone who is able to be there for you. They know what it is that you need done and they're able to work with you, provide you with the flexibility, and at a price that you can afford, that you can agree on then you're doing a tremendous service to your own company and the future value of your business as well. Roman, if any of our business owner or listeners would like to get in touch with you to learn more about what you do and what they need to know about outsourcing IT hub, when the time comes, should they need it, either now, in the near future, or in the distant future, how can they reach you?
Roman: You can simply go to our website. You will see there Skype, email, etc. Just send your request and we will answer. Also, just one notice here, good IT company trying to solve your issue, not writing any quote, because development, this is very complex thing, a good IT company will try to solve your problem without creating any new IT solution. They first of all try to find something on the market already available. Maybe we know something which can solve your issue without any development and invest in development. And good IT company will tell you, “Don't spend your money on development, get this tool and solve your problem.”
if you don't need to build your own team you just need to outsource it. And in most cases this is reasonable in terms of expertise, in terms of price and other cases.
Jeff: Very good. Certainly one that's reputable and I get the sense that Ronas IT might be a company that people could feel comfortable about doing business with. Roman Surikov, I want to thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate it. I know that it's late where you are there in Russia and you're probably going to get ready for your next business day soon so I'm going to let you go. Once again, thank you so much. I appreciate your being with us on Deal Talk today.
Roman: Thank you for the invitation Jeff.
Jeff: Roman Surikov, CEO of Ronas at ronasit.com. Once again, that website, ronasit.com.
Deal Talk is presented by Morgan & Westfield, a nationwide leader in business sales and appraisals. If you'd like more information about buying or selling a business call Morgan & Westfield at 888-693-7834 or visit morganandwestfield.com. And make it a point to check in with us again soon for valuable information and insight from our growing list of small business experts on Deal Talk. Until we meet again, my name is Jeff Allen, I'll talk to you soon.