Exclusive Interview with Bartosz Pieślak – Co-founder, itCraft
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?
My name is Bartek and I’m a co-founder and board member of itCraft - a company we founded with my friend Karol almost 11 years ago. We have known each other for years as we meet in high school, went to the university together and then we’ve been working as project managers, tech leaders and programmers at one company.
Our goal was to create a software house that would offer innovative services to clients from around the globe. With our hard work and determination, we conquered all obstacles and from a small 2-people company, we became an employer that hires 100+ people. I can definitely say we’ve achieved our initial goals.
2. Tell us in brief about your company and the leadership.
itCraft is a software house specializing in digital products like mobile apps, web apps and internal systems for enterprises and startups. Our clients come from almost every continent and they see value in outsourcing their IT needs to us.
As for leadership, besides Karol and I, we have a CTO, Rafał, who has been working with us for ten years. He is responsible for our technological growth. Besides, we have team leaders and project managers that have their own duties.
Our company’s structure is highly effective and agile, so we are always flexible and open to individual adjustments.
3. What is your outlook for 2021?
Approximately a year ago, in March 2020, we weren’t sure how businesses would evolve because of the pandemic. Some projects had to be postponed or even canceled. IT industry, like every other, was also concerned about COVID-19’s impact.
Soon, we found out that business will find an opportunity in every possible situation. Many offered services decided to switch from offline to online. Many needs we didn’t have before are now our reality and that will continue in 2021. One of the examples is all kinds of teleconsultations.
As for itCraft, each year we redefine our strategic goals. In the upcoming months, we plan to focus on enterprise solutions for big companies in product design, web and mobile areas. In 2021, we will also grow our machine learning and Flutter cross-platform teams.
4. How do you assess the role of research agencies like TopAppFirms in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?
We can really notice the importance of such agencies in the over-crowded, information-rich online environment. IT companies communicate in various ways, which means the clients often experience difficulties comparing several potential vendors.
Portals like TopappFirms help them understand how much development can cost, what companies offer, what type of clients they collaborate with and what kind of products they develop.
I would also like to mention that it is easier to trust a company existing on the market for a long time and has many positive reviews. Websites like Topappfirms offer benefits for clients and software houses alike.
5. Any particular technology or industry you would be targeting? How do you plan to prepare your workforce for the upcoming technology upgrade?
I personally think that cross-sectional, solution-type experience is much more crucial than just industry-type experience. Many industries create solutions that were not known before and are adopted by other sectors - like Uber or marketplace apps.
We specialize in digital products based on teleconsultations, real-time communication, booking, loyalty, tracking and mentioned Uber-like and marketplace apps.
As for the technological upgrade, we notice the growing demand for machine learning algorithms in the mentioned above solutions. That’s why we are investing in related competencies - because we see enormous potential in that area.
6. What services do you think you would add to your offerings in 2021?
We rather want to enhance the competencies we already have. Right now, we are focusing on product design, web development and machine learning. I believe that it is better to be an expert in several areas than knowing something about everything but not being able to implement it into digital products.
7. What are the challenges you see in the outsourcing industry and how much you’re prepared to face those challenges?
The globalization of the markets is noticeable - the clients see no problem in hiring an offshore IT vendor. To reassure seamless communication and collaboration, we have to be aware of cultural similarities and differences.
Thanks to our experience in that field, we can easily work with teams from various localizations and be effective in the process.
8. How helpful are the web and mobile apps developed by your team for enhancing your clients’ business?
We can divide our clients into two groups depending on their business goals. A big client that is well-known on the market cares about having the best possible app and a long-term relationship with their IT partner.
A year ago, one of our flagship clients won an award for the best B2B mobile app. That was an honour for the company but also for our team.
The second group includes quickly growing businesses like startups and scaleups. Their main goal is to build digital products that will attract new sources of revenue or investments. We can proudly say that several of our projects from 2020 got funding for over €10M.
9. What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
What matters the most for us is the positive end result of every project. To achieve that, we need well-defined goals and requirements. This way, we sell what we can deliver and the client exactly knows what they are buying. Also, we eliminate all potential risks with our refined, repeatable process. Specialization in particular types of projects can also be beneficial.
10. Tell us about your successful project?
As I mentioned before, our clients get noticed both during digital industry competitions and by potential investors. This way, they can expand their positions within a particular industry and achieve their business goals. It is satisfying to be a part of each success of our clients.
11. How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for web development?
There is no good answer to that question because it all depends on several factors. I believe that to pick the right technology, you need a well-designed process first. Then we have to understand business requirements, user needs and the competition.
That’s why we approach each project individually and we always begin with product design. After we identify the project scope, we can recommend a suitable tech stack. Each project is different, so our proposal is always based on a deep understanding of our client’s needs.
12. What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2021 after COVID-19?
For starters, we offer a collaboration model based on dedicated teams and not a fixed price. From our experience, this way we can offer enough amount of flexibility and responsiveness that also doesn’t burn out resources.
The projects we manage usually last at least three months and the longest ones - a few years. We have many different teams with different sets of skills. The examples of price estimations and teams we offer can be found on our website.
13. Please describe the operational structure of your company - from the moment a client walks in, to the product deployment.
We always begin our collaborations with UX/UI workshops where the product owner can meet the team, discuss project details and prepare the scope. That’s also when first mockups are created - our designers can draw them on a piece of paper or create them in dedicated software to show the initial concept of the product.
Wireframing is an essential part of our design process. Preparing several prototypes helps us to test and verify the idea. The client can decide which features should stay and which ones should go. Afterwards, it’s time for proper UX/UI design and then we move to the development stage.
Throughout the whole process, our quality assurance team is responsible for all kinds of tests for early detection and elimination of bugs and defects. When the product is done, we help with release and offer maintenance or further growth of the project.
14. After service is a necessary part of development. How do you provide customer support to your client?
Maintenance is a natural part of the software development lifecycle. We prepare a separate contract that defines what kind of support we can offer, default reaction times, problem-solving practices and further development rates.
Our clients can get a dedicated helpdesk under mutually agreed conditions. itCraft experts fix all issues but also can consult ideas and plans for the future growth of the digital product.
15. Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
We are experts in both native and cross-platform solutions, so I don’t think I can give just one straight answer to that. The recommendations will be different depending on the project requirements.
Suppose the client wants to use hardware-specific features or has a technologically advanced project in mind. In that case, they will get a different tech stack suggestion than one that wants to build and validate an app prototype quickly.
Answering that question would be possible only if we know the scope of the project and business goals. That’s why determining them is a part of our product design stage.
However, we observe the growth of cross-platform frameworks that get more and more flawless, so there will definitely be an increase in usage.