AROBS Transilvania Software

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Team Spirit Turned AROBS into a Force.


The interview presented on this page was taken in June 2013, for an anniversary article.

Voicu Oprean: „The real entrepreneur must reinvent himself and create new markets!

Journalist: The founder of AROBS shares with us a few of the secrets that transformed the Cluj based company in a leading business, respected and envied by competitors.

Voicu Oprean is more than a manager. The members of his team consider Voicu a real leader, who has the power to bring people together, to constantly seek new opportunities and convert them into lucrative enterprises. First, Voicu Oprean can be defined as a team player, with a knack for mobilizing and encouraging his colleagues. For this reason, AROBS adopted an organizational culture built around values such as creativity, independent thinking, efficiency, and risk taking when it comes to starting projects that can change the perspectives over the market.

2004 – promotion to the top league

Journalist: When did AROBS make it into the „top league” of IT companies?

Voicu Oprean: Our first real hit was launched in 2004, a solution for sales force automation. Back then the explosion of mobile phone services and tablets din not start and we relied on simple, rudimentary terminals like Palm or Treo.

Journalist: We speak of solutions for entrepreneurs. How have they been received by the Romanian market? Have people understood the meaning of entrepreneur?

Voicu Oprean: The entrepreneur can reinvent himself, create new markets, bring new business. Back then many believed that entrepreneur means just the entrepreneur from the civil engineering sector. A lot of creativity and effort enabled us to establish a strong position in the market.

Journalist: Why is Cluj so attractive for companies in the IT sector?

Voicu Oprean: Cluj is and has bean a peak in IT for a long time. If I were to make a comparison, it currently is what Timişoara was 10 years ago for big, multinational companies. One can find great potential and plenty of hard working specialists in this geographical area.

Journalist: You reached an international dimension, with offices in Budapest and Chișinău. What strategy are you applying to handle this expansion?

Voicu Oprean: The main strategy, applied at all levels in the company, is to strengthen the team. We have two managing directors who coordinate the most important activities of the company. They are Valentin Mudura and Aurelian Deaconu, two professionals with excellent reputation and proven skills, who increased the value of our team significantly.

More than work

Journalist: But the AROBS team means more than work … 

Voicu Oprean. Yes, we support sports activities within the team, for example. We have a football team which takes part in championships for nonprofessionals. We offer financial support to our employees to go to gyms, they have a budget they can use for fitnees or any other sports activity, either individually or in groups. Unfortunately, the space crisis we constantly face prevented us from setting aside an area for table tennis in the company.

Journalist: In spite of the crisis, AROBS has four offices in Cluj, where you took over even the former Nokia office from Mărăşti. Do you need additional space? Have you considered renting the entire building?

Voicu Oprean: This is what we hope. We will most likely build another office for us, exactly as we dream it: a sort of Google in miniature. By the way, I do not know if you are aware of us having a bar with bartender in the company, in the Minerilor office, which we use to impress the specialists invited for interviews. „Wow, these guys have their own pub in the company”, commented one of the candidates after the interview.

Team spirit

Journalist: One of the major problems is finding good IT specialists. How do you convince a software engineer to join the AROBS team?

Voicu Oprean: The process is long, you must be really persuasive, present to the candidate the opportunities offered by AROBS both professionally and personally. This is why we invest a lot in courses that are not offered in the Romanian educational system. From a technical point of view, the education is being done at the highest level possible; we are fantastic as individuals and work great in isolation, a reality that has been acknowledged by many of our customers. We organize courses and training programs to address mainly team work abilities. This gap is the result of several features of the state educational system, which encourages since primary school competition and development as individuals and not as parts of a team. The public display of the results in Romanian schools heightens this competition, which I consider excessive. I am making this statement to switch to the question regarding education, which is a never ending process. Approximately 10 years ago I enrolled in a so-called MBA program at the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj, known as Transilvania Business when this happened. In 2007 I did a 14 month executive MBA at the University in Vienna, program which was sponsored by Petrom and BCR, and recently I joined an Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School, where everything is done in teams. The fact that both the educational system in Viena, most likely a clone of the American school, and the one at Harvard emphasize team work surprised me a great deal. We were split in teams at the beginning of each term and we were literally pulling one another, as the groups were heterogeneous, with each member excelling in an area that was important for the success of the project. 

Journalist: How do you instill this team spirit at AROBS?

Voicu Oprean: We do many activities together, which I would rather call programs, that help us get close to one another, work together better; these are not the so-called drinking bouts, popular in some IT companies. We do go to a bar or restaurant on special occasions, but only after work and fully aware that excesses must be avoided. There is also competition at AROBS, frustration of some employees regarding some managerial decisions, which we try to alleviate through a policy of transparency and openness. My door is always open to the employees and I am very direct and honest with everyone in the company.

Quote: „We organize courses and training programs to address mainly team work abilities. This gap is the result of several features of the state educational system, which encourages since primary school competition and development as individuals and not as parts of a team. The public display of the results in Romanian schools heightens this competition, which I consider excessive.” 

– Voicu Oprean, manager AROBS.