In an interview with Telecom Review, Bartosz Demczuk, head of Comarch Middle East, talked about the company's IT solutions, the difficulties of the telecom market in the Middle East and the challenges facing telecom companies in that region.
Can you start by describing how your career trajectory led you to Comarch?
I've got a Master of Science in Economics (specialization in International Relations), and have been working at Comarch since 2007. Before joining Comarch, I worked at Ahold as project manager building the first EDI platform in Central Europe as well as on other strategic projects. With a retail background and business experience, after six years, I decided to join Comarch, where I became a solution manager responsible for EDI solutions for corporate customers. In 2007, I decided to move to the Loyalty & Airlines Systems group in Comarch, where I took the position of senior manager and was responsible for building comprehensive loyalty solutions for customers from the banking, retail, telco and petroleum industries. In 2013, I became business unit director responsible for Comarch operations in the Middle East.
Comarch provides advanced IT products and solutions which increase business efficiency and optimize costs for companies in different industries. As is generally known, this is a very challenging and competitive market. How does Comarch deal with it?
With more 20 years in the business and thousands of completed projects, Comarch is a very experienced company. The key to our success lies in being at the forefront of innovation and listening to customer needs. As an IT solutions provider we often exceed our customers' expectations with solutions that are ahead of market trends. Often, we already have a product to support an innovative business venture even before companies start to look for it. No less important is listening to the clients, their expectations, opinions and suggestions. Thanks to this we are able not only to adapt our solutions to the needs of a particular company, but also to improve our products continuously, making sure that they respond to customer requirements. Our strong client focus is something we are well-known for in the industry.
This flexible approach has allowed us to cooperate with the largest companies in different industries. Among Comarch's telecom clients are Vodafone, T-Mobile, KPN and Telefónica. With subsidiaries and associates in almost 50 countries, we are leading projects for companies all over the world. Among our recent deployments, we are especially proud of those in Latin America, for which Comarch received two prestigious awards from Frost & Sullivan and Informa, for OSS transformations in the region.
Comarch has a wide portfolio of IT solutions dedicated to telecommunications companies. Which of them arouses the greatest interest of the companies in the Middle East?
Due to the specific characteristic of the market in the region, the telecommunication providers highly value innovation and are willing to invest in the latest technologies based on IoT and M2M. With mobile penetration at the level of about 95%, many areas in the Middle East have undeniably reached saturation in this respect. At the same time, the market is relatively small and filled by global corporations.
In order to distinguish themselves from their competitors, telecommunication service providers have to use the most up to date technological solutions that will not only improve delivery or service management, but also extend their offer. In other words, they are looking for different ways to exploit the full potential of their infrastructure.
Are there any other particular challenges that telecom companies in the Middle East are facing? Is there anything unique about their challenges and priorities?
Yes, I would say that the telecommunication market in the Middle East is extremely challenging for several reasons. On one hand, mobile penetration is among the highest in the world, and on the other, the competition is really strong. This is why the standards of customer service are rising sharply and companies compete strongly with each other. It is also worth mentioning that the population in the region is very young. People under 28 years of age make up more than 50% of society. They use new technologies fluently and have high expectations, making this a very demanding target group.
Telecommunications companies are constantly competing to get business by striving for excellence in customer service. Therefore, they are willing to use suitable IT solutions to help them face this challenge. For Comarch, this translates into huge potential for cooperation.
Can you tell us some of the major difficulties you have overcome while entering the telecom market in the Middle East?
We entered the Middle Eastern market in 2004. In the beginning, as a new IT solutions provider in the region, we needed to work hard in order to gain the trust of Middle Eastern telecom operators. Having an office in Dubai enabled us to be responsive to the needs of local companies and to build relations with the clients. Today, Comarch is a recognized and trusted brand in the region.
Why are telecom operators in the region choosing Comarch as a provider of IT solutions?
In my opinion, telecom companies in the Middle East appreciate Comarch for its thorough support from the very start of a project to the end. Comarch has more than 20 years of experience in cooperation with companies all over the world which enables us not only to be a solutions provider but also to play the role of consulting partner, supporting our clients in the most efficient implementation of the whole OSS/BSS platform. This is the thing of which we are really proud.