It is only worth doing what is considered to be impossible
The waves of the economic crisis have also influenced the field of information technology (IT). However, today it seems that in this field, it is possible not only to survive but also to introduce innovation and promote investment.
We are talking about such tendencies with Idrakas Dadašovas, the chairman of the group of companies Penki Kontinentai.
The year 2011 was quite changeable. At the beginning of the year, more optimistic moods later changed into the suspicion of a new wave of the crisis. How did Lithuanian IT business do last year?
Although Lithuania is among the leading countries in information technology and telecommunications in Europe and can boast of state-of-the-art infrastructure and many highly qualified specialists, in 2011, the IT market of the country faced the consequences of the world economic crisis. The profits of Lithuanian and foreign IT companies decreased. The number of private sector projects also decreased, but it was outbalanced by the increased demand for IT solutions in the public sector. With the risk management methodology, it is more beneficial to consider more precise short-term prognoses, and it will be confirmed by the high-quality change of the company structure.
May it be stated that 2011 was a clear recovery of the IT market from the world level crisis?
Probably not. According to the analysts, the growth of the IT market in Western Europe in 2011 was 3 percent, in Japan – 0.5 percent, in China – 21 percent, and in Russia – 17 percent. More precise data bout the dynamics of the IT market in 2011 will only be clearer at the beginning of 2012. However, due to the expected second wave of recession, the IT market’s growth in 2011 might be zero and amount to less than 1 percent. In the event of a negative scenario, the IT market will recover very slowly in 2012.
Have these tendencies also affected the group of companies Penki Kontinentai?
The group of companies, Penki Kontinentai, with the specialization of program products, solutions for IT and telecommunication sectors, creation and introduction of banking and payment systems, and outsourcing, have not suffered big problems due to the crisis consolidated its position in Eastern European and Asian markets. This was determined by the fact that the activity of the group of companies is very versatile. We presented new attractive offers both to natural and legal persons, maintained the services’ prices and their high quality. Moreover, we increased the speed and throughput of the fiber-optic network Skynet and invested in the network’s modernization. This is why the group of companies, Penki Kontinentai, managed to keep its position.
Therefore, we can be proud that having employed our own resources – banking technologies, our created payment and loyalty systems, fiber-optic network Skynet, internet, television, news portal penki.lt, online store, etc. – we satisfied all the needs of the customers to the full.
When creating programmable resource management products, we have always followed the analysis of patterns and the assessment of different types of risk. Most important in deciding are risk management, control of meeting the standards, and the analysis of patterns. This determines flexible and prompt response and maintains the stability of activity indicators of the group of companies Penki Kontinentai.
In Lithuania, short-term and long-term development visions have always been discussed. However, few of them have become implementable strategies. Maybe the IT field and e-services are the most suitable niche for our country?
One-fifth of residents of Lithuania shop online, and the number of online stores is constantly growing. On the other hand, various surveys indicate that 70 percent of respondents believe that their companies or organizations do not give enough attention to increase their employees’ internet literacy. The surveys also showed that e-signature (for personal and business purposes) is used by 32 percent of the respondents. It is a good indicator taking into account the geography of respondents. According to our Digital Certification Centre data, which has been operating for six years and is the first company of such type in Lithuania, this indicator will constantly grow, and the e-signature will become a daily routine of the rapidly growing population of the planet.
58 percent of the respondents believe that the Government and local authorities should subsidize internet access to the least socially secure groups. It is especially relevant when speaking of the most vulnerable group of internet users – the children. To protect against undesirable content on the internet, private and public organizations’ activities have to be coordinated. Thus, the forces have to be joint for respective actions, including education and training.
Today, the internet concept involves much more than the usual concept of www. Could you describe the possibilities of the contemporary internet?
The main function of the internet is storage, transmission, and receiving information. World leaders such as Google, Apple, Microsoft are constantly competing, creating an environment of healthy competition. The internet is more and more used in the entertainment business. First, it is the way to transmit the media contents (sound, image, etc.). Many goods are available on the internet, including IT products. The internet is used in smartphones, tablets, etc. The tendency is that most internet services, from software e-market to household security control by smartphones, are oriented towards the end-user. Moreover, so-called cloud technologies that have recently become popular are among the most efficient ways to optimize companies’ activities, including virtual ones.
The research shows that Lithuania residents, and especially Vilnius, can use the fastest internet connection today. What is the projection of the development of these technologies in 2012? Maybe the group of companies Penki Kontinentai can reveal even further plans?
The Net Index data indicates that Vilnius is leading among the cities of the world having the fastest internet. We can be proud of that. The average speed of internet data transmission in Vilnius exceeds 36 Mb/s. The second and third on this list are China’s cities – Hong Kong and Kowloon – and Kaunas is the fourth.
It is symbolic that starting from January, Skynet’s customers will be able to use the 1 Gb/s speed internet. Fiber-optic technologies allow us to ensure such speed. Our company started introducing these technologies in 1998 with the help of the equipment of the world leader Cisco Systems.
Speaking of our nearest plans, Penkių Kontinentų Komunikacijų Centras, UAB, having a strong leading position in Lithuania, intends to invest in developing a fiber-optic network, interactive IPTV, and other services. New generation equipment Cisco 2960S has already been introduced in the Skynet network, which will help ensure data transmission in the range of 550 Mb/s – 1 Gb/s. And this is not a limit. Using the fiber-optic network Penki TV channel, the company broadcasts its programs. Moreover, besides the internet and television, the company offers IP telephony and household monitoring services.
What is your forecast for business in 2012?
There are several variants of the development of the sector. Considering the decrease of the demand for services, increase of the number of insolvent customers, freezing of the IT projects, and reduction of employees in the IT sector, the decrease of the IT market by several percent is likely in 2012 in comparison to 2011. Concerning the status of communications, information storages, the infrastructure of information security measures, the level of development of related sectors (electronic industry), the pace of growth of information technology will settle.
Another option is that the demand for personal and tablet computers, smartphones, their users, and related services will increase in 2012. This will determine the introduction of new information technology in business, government, social and economic fields.
Finally, the words of Oscar Wilde, which should always be remembered, are in line: “If something is worth doing, it is what is considered to be impossible.”