Entrepreneur and journalist Pavel Zingan is one of AGORA’s contributors and offers us an interview with the director of the SPAN representative in Moldova, Serghei Smigaliov. The two discussed the field of IT services and cloud solutions on the Moldovan market.
Serghei, I suggest we start by presenting your professional background. I know that you have been managing Microsoft’s representation in Moldova for over a decade, am I right?
That is right. I managed Microsoft’s representation in Moldova for 13 years, from 2006 to 2019, when I left the corporation.
What happened after 2019?
After leaving Microsoft, I allowed myself to take a break to evaluate my options and decide where to continue to invest my time and experience. That’s how I got to SPAN.
But SPAN has only recently launched in Moldova. Do I understand that the break lasted two years…?
Our responsibility for decisions increases as we move forward in life. I wanted my next professional choice to represent a logical progress or evolution of my previous professional activity.
You had to make a difficult decision. What could be above Microsoft? Only the sky and the clouds
It’s a good play on words, considering that SPAN provides new “cloud solutions”. By the way, Microsoft and SPAN are strategic partners globally. When SPAN decided to enter the Moldovan market, Microsoft recommended me to lead their representation.
Tell us more about SPAN. It is a new company in our market.
SPAN was founded in 1993 and has grown from a systems integrator based in Croatia to a global IT consulting group serving over 1,200 clients, with nine offices on six continents and a wide range of cloud, security services. and assistance. The company develops various solutions for the digital environment, from consulting and implementation in the cloud to security and support services. In addition, SPAN hosts over 550 IT solution architects, consultants, support specialists, business analysts and researchers. SPAN services and solutions are currently used by the largest and most successful global companies, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nando’s.
It is important to note that SPAN is a trusted Microsoft partner globally, with over 18 Microsoft skills, 16 gold and two silver. Microsoft and SPAN have built a strategic partnership to deliver transformative IT solutions for companies around the world. Moreover, SPAN is the first and only company in Croatia with eight advanced Microsoft specializations. Microsoft’s advanced specializations reflect the company’s high skill and success in implementing projects. At present, SPAN is a provider of Microsoft licensing solutions for the EU, EFTA, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. SPAN masterfully manages to bring together professionals,
How did you manage to adapt to the highly regulated environment of a large international company after a two-year hiatus?
You can’t even imagine how open and flexible an international company can be these days.
By the way, an equally flexible approach has been taken by Microsoft. At the beginning of our collaboration, they told me: “You can work anywhere you want, either in Thailand or even on the moon. As long as you manage to achieve your goals – we don’t care where you come from. ” SPAN, in turn, has an even more flexible form of organization. Since I haven’t started the recruitment process yet, I can easily do without a permanent physical office.
So, can we say that a new important player has entered the IT market in the Republic of Moldova?
I would say otherwise: SPAN is not only a new player, but also a different one. We intend to bring a new level of IT services that are not currently available to local businesses.
In addition, we will continue to serve our customers around the world with the help of the Moldovan office. Immediately after the publication of the first press release about the opening of the SPAN office in Moldova, I received a lot of CVs and offers from potential clients. Even though I haven’t started the recruitment process yet, I notice a great interest in the company.
But is there a significant demand for cloud solutions in Moldova?
You know, when I started running Microsoft’s office in Moldova, a lot of people were asking me who I was going to sell legal software to in a 100% pirated software market. Most thought it was a utopian idea. Despite our skepticism, our legal software business has been well received by the market. It has evolved dynamically, exceeding our highest expectations.
Regarding cloud solutions / services, we can confidently say that many customers in Moldova proactively purchase and use cloud services (many are already customers of SPAN). For example, every time someone in the world says, “McChiken and Cola, please” – this information is stored and processed in the SPAN-managed cloud. And McDonald’s in Chisinau is no exception!
You seem to be determined to expand SPAN services in our marketplace …
Categorical. I believe that very soon companies in the market will understand that all the costs of purchasing and maintaining their own servers far outweigh the costs of hiring a company that specializes in providing these services without any deviations.
SPAN manages the cloud structures of many regional and international companies that have come to the same conclusion. But we provide services not only to large enterprises and public sector structures, but also to medium-sized enterprises. That’s why I’m happy to receive as many resumes as possible, as we expect to create a fairly large local team.
And the last question: when do you start?
I’ve already started. We are in the process of negotiating with the first customers and we take part in open auctions. Now that the winter holidays are over, we are ready to resume activity and achieve our goals.
In January, our Director of International Business Development at SPAN – Mr. Željko Galić – will visit Moldova and I would suggest that you interview him as well. I suppose it will be interesting to get some first-hand information, as well as to discuss in detail the plans for Moldova and the potential of our IT market, as seen from the perspective of Croatia and the EU.