World class IT solutions tailored to your business needs in Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Information Technology (IT) is one of the fastest-growing industries in Azerbaijan that significantly impacts business and the way the society functions. Considering the fast digitalization taking place across many industries, from health care to agriculture, to education and financial services, more and more companies need reliable solutions that will be tailored to their specific needs.
Over the past 5 years European-based IT company with headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia – Span is working with top Azerbaijani telecom customers. At the beginning of last year, Span authorized as Microsoft LSP partner for the Azerbaijan market and therefore intensified activities by expanding their team and presence on local market.
Span was established in 1993 and is the first Croatian Microsoft Certified Solution Provider.
For more than 28 years, company has been part of the Microsoft partner network and is recognized as a successful international company in the global ICT market with many successfully implemented and ongoing projects for clients from around the world. Span is industry leader in the field of design, development and maintenance of information-based systems delivered on advanced technological solutions of global IT leaders, especially Microsoft.
We talked with their International Business Development Director - Željko Galić and Territory Sales Lead, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Central Asia - Tahir Aliyev about the company and the IT market in Azerbaijan
1. Let's talk about Span’s status as a Microsoft gold partner and what advantages this status gives when choosing a company?
Željko: Being a Microsoft Gold certified Partner means Microsoft has declared that the company has committed itself to evolving Microsoft technologies for the interests of its own needs as well as those of its clients. We have been holding Microsoft Gold Partner status for over 25 years now and currently have 16 Gold and 2 Silver competencies which represent our dedication to Microsoft as a preferred technology partner, deeply embraced in our development strategy. It is important for our prospective customers to understand that we are pretty much Microsoft centric which coincides with our internal Microsoft ranking among top MS partners in the world.
It is also important to understand that in the last couple of years there is a new Microsoft partner strategy which is promoting truly dedicated and experienced partners who attained Advanced specializations which is a validation of a partner’s capability to deliver high-fidelity services in a specific solution area. Span has already attained 3 advanced specializations for:
- Microsoft Adoption and Change Management Advanced Specialization
- Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization
- Teamwork Deployment Advanced Specialization
Furthermore, we are currently working on 4 additional advanced specializations which we expect to obtain in the upcoming weeks.
Our dedication to Microsoft supported by the proven track record of many executed projects for international enterprise customers resulted also in MS awarding us LSP authorization for the Azerbaijan market, which means that we are currently partners who can deliver complex Microsoft licensing solutions to Azerbaijani enterprise customers.
2. Span in Azerbaijan. What do you think qualitatively distinguishes Span from competitors on the market?
Željko: In regards to competition, I would not really like to talk about our potential competitors because of several reasons; a) we are not focused on the competition, we are focused on our customers, b) I believe there is no such 1:1 competitor with the same portfolio mix and c) I would like to focus on Span’s unique values and expertise to explain what we expect from Azerbaijani market and what Azerbaijani market can expect from us.
In that regard, taking into consideration the specifics of the local market itself, our aim is to transfer our know-how gained on numerous worldwide projects and become long-term trusted advisors to our customers in Azerbaijan. One of our main qualities is that we have long-term relationships with all customers. Almost all those relationships started in small steps, but soon we gained the trust of our customers and our relationships expanded. This is something we would like to achieve with our Azerbaijani customers as well and I think we are on the right track since we already have a long-term relationship bringing digital transformation with our customers such as Azercell and Azerconnect, previously with Bakcell and Azerfon. To be more specific, we expect to help our customers with best in class services and solutions in the public multicloud domain with Microsoft cloud as our platform of the first choice. Our 25-year long experience in enterprise system infrastructure services, entire cybersecurity portfolio including Security Operations Center, enterprise business solutions based on top industry platforms such as Dynamics, Dynatrace and M365 and last, but not least our expertise in software asset management and designing of licensing solutions to jointly achieve digital transformation of Azerbaijan society and contribute to the prosperity of the entire country. Our full lifecycle support for all our solutions is also available to our clients worldwide from our Operations centers in Zagreb and Kyiv 24/7 365 days a year. For all products and services, we provide to our customers we have top certified experts, and customers can reach out to us whenever they have some questions or challenges in running their daily business and we will be ready to jointly work on a resolution with them. To summarize everything, we want to be trusted experts to our customers and through our expertise and experience to deliver IT solutions that power up their businesses. We promise that we will deliver all our work on time, with best-in-class people, technologies, and practices.
3. Are there any differences between the Azerbaijani IT market and others?
Željko: Each market has its specifics and the Azerbaijani market is no exception, but at same time it is also not much different than others We have been present in Azerbaijan with more / less intensity since 2017. and we learned that like in most markets trust between customer and partner is the most important criteria for success. We also learned that reliability and availability are crucial ingredients of a successful long-term relationship. I was quite impressed with how Azerbaijan has rapidly moved forward in the application of advanced and modern IT solutions in the last 5 years that I am visiting the country and most of these solutions I see in digitizing of public services which not many countries in the world achieved. What we find appealing in Azerbaijan is openness to partners and partnering with different countries which opens the opportunities for rapid growth of economy and society. This also resembles well with four global IT trends: 1. Migration to cloud which will enable more efficient and agile spending in IT systems; 2. Data integration is also much simpler in cloud where data from many different systems can be easily integrated and securely analyze - in many markets there is growth in awareness of cloud benefits in terms of security and functionalities. The third trend is related to digitally transforming the business, that is, you can say that in the present time every business is a digital business and available digital tools enable us to be more efficient, productive and agile, thus more competitive. The fourth global trend is related to the short return of investment in IT projects (ROI). Traditionally return of investment in IT projects was long, projects were large and lasted several months if not years and by the time they finished, technology was already obsolete or new releases were available. With cloud and disruptive technologies, project cycles are shorter, investments are easier to plan and ROI is better.
We see all potentials in Azerbaijan to follow these trends and to create an advanced digital economy and society which will bring a lot of benefits to all stakeholders and citizens.
4. Any success stories that you already can share with us?
Tahir: Since our presence on the Azerbaijan market we successfully cooperated with many customers: Azerconnect, BP, Azersun Holding, Expressbank, Azericard, PASHA Life Insurance, AMADA, Socar Midstream and etc. Together, we have delivered successful projects in Azerbaijan mostly in areas of Cloud and Security. I would like to talk in details about 2 Security cases in Azerbaijan that we are especially proud of;
The client had the task of choosing the right product to monitor user behavior within the company and identify abnormal activities on computers. The customer had already used a simple solution, but it did not solve the problem. We conducted a pilot and showed the solution - Insider Threat detection solution from Proofpoint Observe IT.
After that, they were able to set up a full scan of user behavior and control possible unwanted activity, increasing the level of internal security.
Another client of ours used a classic antivirus and it was necessary for them to add an additional solution for information security control. They initially looked at EDR solutions, and even tried several solutions on the market.
We were able to offer a new vendor for the Azerbaijani market - SentinelOne. This allowed them to get rid of the classic antivirus and completely switch to the EDR / XDR solution from SentinelOne, which not only increased the level of internal security, but also significantly improved monitoring of possible viral activity.
To summarize the above, it is worth noting that Span designs, develops and implements information systems based on advanced technical solutions. Regardless of the scope and complexity of the work, each case and client is approached individually and with a special attitude. The wide range of both end to end and tailored solutions provided in areas such as Microsoft Azure, M365, Cyber Security, Information Security, SAP on Azure, Dynatrace, SentinelOne, Proofpoint ObserveIT, Veeam, HPE, Cisco, Fortinet and AWS help in addressing the needs of customers in a comprehensive manner focusing on all phases of customer journey. With Continuous Service Improvement being at the core of Span’s operational model, company strives to be the best at what it does and delivers services in a timely, competent and consistent manner in line with customers’ expectations and based on best practices in IT Service Management. This approach has brought Span to develop highly innovative solutions using cutting edge technology in different technical fields and industries that most importantly - make client companies perform better and achieve their business goals.
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