Exclusive Interview with Max Zorian – CEO, QArea
by Anna Khrupa on Sep 1, 2021
This post was originally published on https://topappfirms.co
In this exclusive interview, He shared his experiences in IT and several more things. Let’s check his success story and thoughts.
1. Tell Us about yourself how you start your career in IT Sector?
We began working when many of us were still in university. We quickly found what we were good at (web development) and began looking for clients who needed websites for their business.
Soon, through word of mouth and some basic marketing, our company began to grow — taking on more challenging projects and expanding our team. Now, here we are today, 20 years later with projects for clients like HuffPost, Skype, and Dashlane in our portfolio.
2. Tell us in brief about your company and the leadership.
I’m the company’s co-founder and acting CEO. Over the years we’ve built a team of qualified developers, QA engineers, and project managers who have gained experience and become department heads.
And then, of course, we have enlisted some of the best industry professionals (both local and remote) to be our chiefs of marketing, operations, and business development.
3. What is your outlook for 2021?
It was quite grim. Our company was quick to respond to the global pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of our team, continued work on our clients’ projects, and maintaining good relationships with our client base. We managed to keep most of our team onboard, choosing instead to cut on overhead costs like renting office space.
We were expecting to continue working in this compressed ‘crisis mode’ for at least two years, but have managed to bounce back closer to Q4. We’ve even seen some growth in client requests over the first half of 2021, so now our outlook is optimistic (cautiously optimistic).
4. How do you assess the role of research agencies like TopappFirms in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?
Research agencies are crucial to the health of the IT market. Competition is booming, new companies are popping up every day, and having one place to find information on the top 5 contenders for your projects is an indispensable tool and resource.
Not every business owner can rely on their friends or LinkedIn network for recommendations about service providers, so these agencies are the closest thing available to an objective review.
5. Any particular technology or industry you would be targeting? How do you plan to prepare your workforce for the upcoming technology upgrade?
Obviously, the eCommerce industry is growing after the year we’ve just had. Businesses without an online presence are focused on creating one.
Meanwhile, businesses that already have online shop fronts are focused on creating a boutique online shopping experience while their brick and mortar locations are, essentially, “on hold”.
There’s a lot more focus on eShop design, on editorial sections of eCommerce websites, and a lot more pressure on companies’ CRM and ERP systems.
We happen to be working with both sides of this eCommerce coin — the consumer-facing websites and the internal tools and instruments. A lot of our teams are busy with eCommerce or eCommerce-adjacent projects.
6. What all services do you think you would add to your offerings in 2021?
AR/VR and 3D visualization tools seem to be promising areas for us. Many clients have shown interest in these technologies, and we have some projects in our portfolio that serve as a solid foundation for these kinds of tools and instruments.
Once again, there is a big overlap in 3D visualization and eCommerce, and we’re hoping to be the go-to service provider for these kinds of projects.
7. What challenges do you see in the outsourcing industry and how much you’re prepared to face those challenges?
As I mentioned before, the competition is growing every day. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of small (and big) companies fighting for the attention of a finite number of clients and projects.
Being open and clear in our messaging helps us get the attention of our ideal clients while showing consistently top-notch work on our projects helps us with word-of-mouth recommendations.
Plus, having ample experience and a large portfolio in one of the fastest-growing industries certainly helps.
8. How helpful are the Web and mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business?
Most of our business is geared towards building apps for our clients — a classic outsourcing model. But we take that work very seriously, and we want every aspect of our work to be transparent, which is why we have several tools we built in-house to facilitate that transparency.
DueFocus and DueCode are two tools that help clients get a bird’s-eye view of going on behind the scenes with their project.
DueFocus shows them how their team is spending their time and what tasks they are working on at the moment, while DueCode analyzes their project’s codebase to report on how clear, concise, and clean their code is.
In the end, both of these tools contribute to more consistent and transparent communication and strengthen the trust between our qualified engineers and the stakeholders on the client’s side.
9. What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
I can’t speak for all clients, but I know that a big reason many of our clients stay with us is the trust we’ve built.
We have clients we have been working with for nearly a decade, and whenever we conduct client surveys we consistently see that our clients trust us to do our job well and be proactive in both communication and development. They know that we will put the success of their business first.
10. Tell me about your successful project?
Definitions of success vary, but here are several projects that our team is most proud of.
The first is our work with HuffPost. During a period of rapid growth for the media platform, they needed a robust back-end that would support the millions of visitors to their website. Our team stood up to the challenge and helped build key components of their platform used today.
Another project we worked on, Last Mile Health, was highlighted by Bill Gates in his blog as a key tool for community healthcare workers in Liberia.
We are proud of every project we work on, whether it reaches an audience of millions or adds value to the life and business of even a single individual.
11. How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for Web development?
At QArea, every engineer is a long-term thinker, so we focus on platforms that will ensure the flexibility, scalability, and reliability of our client’s websites and web applications.
To that end, we usually look at the business needs that need to be met and the key objectives that our clients have set for themselves.
Our main objective is to find a platform that will have the perfect balance between letting our clients start getting a return on their investment as soon as possible and prevent them from making a crucial pivot in the future. We don’t want to “lock them in” to any single platform forever.
We want them to be able to rely on the web app we’ve built for as long as they need to, but then be able to shift to a better or different platform when their business needs change outgrow the platform that we’ve built for them.
And, once again, this kind of approach builds trust. Our clients know that our goal is whatever is best for their business, not what’s going to keep them working with us forever, because we’ve “locked them in”. Staying with us becomes a choice they want to make instead of a consequence they’re required to operate with.
12. What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2021 after COVID 19?
Like any business, we’re always setting the expectations high. It’s exciting to work on projects long-term or push yourself to get a big project done quickly and well. That being said, we’re also not against working with smaller projects and helping startups with their quality assurance or product design.
13. Please describe the operational structure of your company- from the moment a client walks to the product deployment.
The real work starts before they even walk in (or call in). As soon as they get in touch, we start looking at their business, their market, and their niche in that market. At that point, we begin to understand the needs and objectives they might have.
We then collect requirements for their project, suggest several options for their projects (platforms, languages, architectures, etc.), and narrow down the list of key objectives.
14. After that, we follow the standard software development lifecycle. We communicate weekly (or as frequently as the client prefers) and deliver the project on time and within the budget we set.
There is nothing extraordinary in our process, but it is solid. It’s tried and tested by 20+ years of operation. It’s CMMI appraised.
We know what we can accomplish, and we’re confident that we will. Clients value that.
After service is a necessary part of development. How do you provide customer support to your client?
There is usually a maintenance period that we negotiate with every client. There’s a Service Level Agreement and a dedicated client success manager.
What truly sets us apart (and, again, this comes down to our processes), is how thorough we document our development. This prevents “vendor lock”. If the client wants their project to be maintained by someone in-house, that person will have all the information and tools necessary to do this.
Again, we want our clients to choose to continue working with us, and this kind of approach to project documentation and maintenance is what sets us apart.
15. Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Two native applications will always contribute to a better user experience than one hybrid application, but the user experience isn’t always the number one goal, is it?
It all depends on the business needs and the project’s objectives. We’ve had projects that were geared to a single type of device because that’s what the client needed.
The general rule of thumb is: if the budget allows for it — build two native applications; otherwise — choose between the largest possible audience (Hybrid) or focus on doing one thing perfectly (native iOS).
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