25 years with you

25 years with you – frank talk about SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES
from Deputy General Director Sergey Kravchenko

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At the beginning of March, our company celebrated its anniversary – 25 years of work in the IT solutions market. Over these years,SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES have grown from a small team of like-minded people to a large innovative company that creates effective products for business automation.

Sergey Kravchenko, Deputy General Director of SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES, will tell you what the company’s success story entails.

How it all started and how the company developed

In the year of our 25th anniversary, it is impossible not to dwell on the milestones of history that we have passed. . And this is quite a big and fascinating journey. I joined SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES in 2010. I started in financial management, and already then I began to get acquainted with clients, with the divisions of the company, with the products that we supplied to our clients, and with the services that we provided. I can say that at that time, one of the main products that we had, and which definitely occupies a special place in our history, was the Client-Bank.I reveal my respect to all those people who participated in the creation, development and further enhancement of this product.

Yes, many will be surprised, but in fact it was a real case of successful replication software. For quite many years we have been generating a significant chunk of income precisely due to the fact that we would sell the so-called Client-Bank “boxes”.I mean, the product was really packed in boxes: a CD-ROM, a special USB key and an instruction book were included.

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The product was great, but, unfortunately, it mostly allowed us to work with the clients with whom we had already collaborated. And it was the Belarusian market. To develop the company in foreign markets, we used other trends.

In 2010, there was a trend among Central Asian clients and banks to work with international information systems. And every self-respecting bank wanted to look at the products of foreign manufacturers of banking software, in particular the products of the companies Mysis and Temenos. That is why much from our history is connected with this area. As a company that had experience in working with international banks, in particular with the Raiffeisen Group, and specifically with Priorbank, we were valuable because we had, and still have, expertise in interacting with international banking standards. And, of course, one of the issues that needed to be addressed by the clients after they had introduced the products of Mysis or Temenos was the organization of regulatory and management reporting. It comes out that the software which supports international banking operations and is built on international standards, is not adapted to the requirements of Azerbaijani banking legislation and so on.

So, we appeared to be on trend.

We offered a good solution in terms of analytics and reporting, which enabled to shape regulatory reporting, management reporting, risk reporting and on-demand reporting. By the way, we still offer this product to our clients, but obviously, the market demand in this area has already somewhat decreased. Thus, we were able to enter the markets of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and received quite a large number of different contacts among financial banking institutions in the Central Asian market.

As you know, one trends are replaced by the other. . And having solved the issues of the minimum set of software required to function properly, as well as having handled the matters of ERP or internal accounting when submitting reports to the Central Bank, the banks focused on scaling their business. And for this, they chose solutions that, to a large extent, were aimed at two large software segments.

The first segment is remote banking. Everyone understood that this was the future. Being a company that at that time already had an excellent product and experience in building a Clientbank system, we could not stay on the sidelines. The company has developed one of the first versions of the Internet bank. Afterwards it was replaced by the second generation, and now we are already offering our clients a third-generation solution based on the most modern technologies, microservice architecture, with full use of open source technologies inside and with a low cost of ownership – which is one of the main advantages.

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Evolution of solutions for remote customer service

Another segment was the development of the area servicing one of the most profitable types of banking business – credit provision. At that time, credit rates of 30%-40% per annum were not considered mind-blowing. And for banks, it was a golden age in terms of credit provision. In our turn, we have offered a credit document management and credit pipelines solutions to the market – at the moment, these products are still successfully functioning in some Belarusian banks.

By the way, an important fact worth noting is that our clients do not give up on us. Clients cease to be our clients only because they are either sold and are merged with some other institutions, or they go bankrupt, or their banking license is taken away due to certain restrictions.

Due to the fact that we started to be enthusiastic about technological improvement and development, we had the opportunity to be even more interesting for clients abroad. And in particular, our experience in creating dedicated teams that work according to the Agile methodology, reducing the time-to-market indicator (when features are brought to end clients much faster than in the classic development cycle), led to the fact that we began to actively work with the European region.

We managed to implement a number of very large and interesting projects for Cypriot, British, and Austrian companies, gathering a large layer of expertise and competencies. Having seen how a new generation of banks might look like from the inside, we obviously could not but implement this experience in our modern UniBank product, which we have been actively offering to all our clients in Belarus and abroad for the last year and a half.

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Due to the fact that we have such a deep expertise, we get into the pool of companies that are interesting to clients with specific requests in terms of automation. For example, this might be digitalization of relationships, or construction of a marketplace with a certain technological range, with the ability to scale or with placement in cloud solutions, with the use of Amazon technologies, etc. This allows us to feel optimistic about the future, to notice and look for the clients that will properly appreciate our 25 years of experience and our reliability, and will be able to build partnership relations with us.

There is a nice saying that the client is always right, but I often stick to a more adjusted version of this saying: a profitable client is always right, because we are all working in the companies that build businesses.

Another classic expression is that the client pays us a salary – but we need to understand that by performing certain actions, we should get a result that allows us to move forward, grow and invest in training, in new technologies, in prospects.

Plans

The future is not so set in stone. We all know that. You know, as a specialist whose base is economic education, I will quote a joke which was popular in our university:

Who is an economist? An economist is someone who has to predict what will happen in a year, and then in two years be able to competently explain why this did not happen.

Therefore, there is absolutely no sense in preparing for some potential future. We need to be prepared at the moment for the fact that we have to be fast, flexible, we have to change, we have to clearly vision ourselves, our client, and our interests.

First of all, we still count upon software. We are the company that for 25 years has been able to combine expertise, experience in solving complicated complex business tasks, and an understanding of the so-called enterprise solutions development cycle. You can see how many apps, games and pages appear daily. You can go to Product Hunt, a well-known portal that collects information flows about the creation of new products and services, and see how many different solutions are added per day. It is important to understand that 90% or even 95% of them disappear from the landscape completely after a few months.

We support our solutions for the clients for a long period of time. We are interested in building long-term relationships. And the most important thing is that for our clients we try to be not only a reliable partner, but also a responsible supplier: if a client asks us for the things that we consider not completely effective, correct, timely, then we will definitely say so. By the way, clients appreciate us for this.

There are often cases on the market when projects are received by someone who is faster, is ready to promise the shortest possible time, minimum cost and a world of opportunities. But many of the clients who have been working for several years understand that it is still necessary to choose those partners who provide long-term cooperation. That is, the focus on long-term cooperation is a priority.

An important point is smart solutions and technologies. As you can see, our entire latest product line developed in 2021-2022 is built on a completely new technology stack. We combine everything that our clients have loved and still love: low cost of ownership, scalability, security. It is not for nothing that we have an ISO 27001 certificate which is an international standard for information security – we are one of the few companies that has such a certificate in Belarus, and we generally pay a lot of attention and effort to the secure development cycle.

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Current trends

Technology is moving forward – security should follow, but not be a catch-up element. Not all of our clients understand this yet, but, believe me, banks are starting to look much deeper in security issues.

Security will become a trend in the next 3-5 years – that’s for sure.

Everyone who is reading this text has probably already faced the issue of personal data. This is also one of the security aspects that none of you has previously thought about when creating 800 accounts or giving your phone numbers right and left.

What else will be important? For many clients, it is the shaping of technological sustainability. . In our difficult time, I will not be afraid of this word, one way or another we are faced with the fact that certain restrictions are being introduced. Willingly or unwillingly, we fall under them. And so do our clients. Whether it’s working with markets, working with some proprietary tools, we already understand that it is better to have an understanding of how a particular software product works on and how you can manage this process. Because when your data is in the Jira cloud, or in the Figma cloud, or in the Amazon cloud and at any moment they can be deleted or blocked for your access – very specific risks arise. No one ever imagined that this would have to be dealt with.

Another trend, unfortunately, which cannot be overlooked and which we will have to deal with, is the decrease of expertise in all areas. Pay attention to how we began to consume information. There is much less reading of books or large manuals – and much more short tutorials, videos, excerpts, everyone is in a hurry, rushing somewhere. This means that many things are not being worked out properly and thoroughly.

Therefore, the solutions that we try to implement and the products that we create are aimed at simplicity, convenience and the fact that the product has expertise within itself, because our clients are not always ready to say how it should function.

Clients understand that they should receive the appropriate end service. Whether it’s remote banking, intrabank transactions, or simple accounting of clients and transactions.

What else can be noted? I’m sure many of you have read information that significant cuts in IT are occurring nowadays in the world. Either this or that vendor cut in numbers thousands of people, and everyone is waiting for IT to wane.But just notice how many solutions and technologies are surrounding us now. You order food, pay for services with a mobile phone, your vital indicators are monitored by smart gadgets worn on your hand (it may be even a ring), you keep schedule and shopping lists in your smartphone, you store your photos and process them as well as in your smartphone – therefore, the request for IT specialists will not vanish.

Another thing is that now we can see a correction that took place after the rapid and active growth during the pandemic, when a multiple increase in the number of most of the technological giants had occurred, but just pay attention to the goal they pursue by implementing these changes. Their main goal is to remain scalable, flexible and able to respond quickly to the needs of the clients.

I am sure that each of us understands perfectly well: there is no potential for new banks here. At a fundamental level, everything that we create in the form of banking software, theoretically, on the contrary should lead to decreasing the number of banks. Now the level of automation is so vast, that I would not be mistaken if I say that many of you go to the bank less than several times per year. Perhaps, someone does not go there at all, preferring not to appear in the bank, while still receiving a full range of all banking services and bonuses. In this case, there is practically no potential for the emergence of another one, three, five, ten banks.

Projects

Generally speaking, all the projects we do are very standard. We take technologies, our expertise, the ability to create a finished product and, together with the client, we get the final result.

We cannot but mention the complex, however, actively developing project of the Commercial Bank Kyrgyzstan mobile banking, which overpassed the mark of 3,000,000 downloads last year, and has more than 500,000 active clients in the Kyrgyz market – that is a huge achievement. We expended much effort to make these figures a reality, and to transform the bank’s business from an absolutely standard commercial bank into MBANK. It is noteworthy that recently the bank has carried out a rebranding and changed its name to the name of its mobile application. Can you imagine that? This happened because the citizens and the clients recognize the bank by its mobile application, but not by its outdoor sign. For MBANK, mobile banking as “mobile first” is already beginning to approach the concept of mobile only. They have amazingly ambitious plans for growth, also in terms of the client base, but this will be impossible to realize without our technologies and expertise, which is noted, among other things, by the bank’s management.

The second case is related to our very large client – FxPro. The case of creating the Neobank, where we almost entirely provided the front part, which allowed us to serve the clients, we also integrated a huge number of services inside, and, in general, the IT development of this project ran forward much faster than the ability to organize this business. It turned out that implementing the Neobank is not such an easy task, and it is much more difficult from a business point of view rather than from IT.

And, perhaps, the third project which I cannot but mention, is a very interesting case of our client – Watches World – in terms of the watches marketplace. Sure enough, we have worked with various assets, we have also worked with collateral, with penalties, we have solutions for automating foreclosures. But we have never thought of or considered an investment platform that is centered around buying and selling watches. Yes, watches can be traded in the same way as stocks, bonds, gold and silver bars, and someone is doing this and trying to make money on it. Indeed, our cooperation with Watches World was not seamless, especially since the guys had been and remain a StartUp company with their own internal problems, issues of growth, scaling. But from the point of view of technologies and with regard to the result that we came up with, it was a very interesting project that generated certain challenges for us, and we had coped with them successfully.

What helps to remain successful and in demand throughout these years

You know, 25 years is already the moment when, essentially, you finish a major training cycle. Basically, at this age, students graduate from the university, get their master’s degree and move on, so to speak, to an active working career.

We are also moving on to a very active working career in the sense that we will offer all the experience and expertise that we have accumulated, put together, and shaped in the form of products and new technological streams to our clients who are interested in digitalizing their business. We will continue to provide our clients with the set of tools required to implement the cutting-edge ideas in the field of digital financial services.

Contact us

Minsk, 3 Akademika Kuprevicha street
Minsk, 1/1 Akademika Kuprevicha street
Brest, 6-1 Shevchenko boulevard

Legal and postal address:
"SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES" JLLC
220084, Republic of Belarus, Minsk,
1/1 Akademika Kuprevicha str., room 441

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