September the 14th, 2023 – The Croatian company Span is one of the oldest and most highly respected domestic IT companies in operation. Despite having already earned its glory, it has plans for further organic growth and acquisitions.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, having earned very significant international references over the past 30 years of being in business, where is Span today?
The current challenges it faces, as well as its plans for the coming period, were revealed by CEO Nikola Dujmovic. The Croatian company Span’s main man will be one of the speakers at this year’s Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj at the end of the month.
A Microsoft partner since 1996
When it comes to the question of when Span first entered the international market and what the main reason for that move was, Dujmovic said “Span started selling software back during the early 1990s, at a time when everyone was selling hardware. The first international users came in 1999. We had globally competitive knowledge that was recognised and we slowly fought for greater recognition project by project.”
Your Microsoft partnership for the Croatian and Ukrainian markets is often mentioned. How does Ukraine fit into this and what is it actually all about?
“Span has been a Microsoft partner since 1996. Today, we hold all six Microsoft Solution Partner statuses and thirteen advanced specialisations. Microsoft invited us to the Ukrainian market to help develop the legal software market because we had that experience from back in the 1990s here in Croatia. Back at that time, more than 90% of pirated software could be found in Ukraine.
This year we celebrate five years of our office’s operations in Kyiv and I’m proud of our colleagues who, despite the ongoing war, continue to work and develop business on the Ukrainian market. For 2023, we received Microsoft Partner of the Year recognition from Microsoft for both Croatia and Ukraine.”
How important is AI today in ICT business, is it changing it and in what direction?
“Yes, artificial intelligence will be important in all industries, including the ICT industry. The use of artificial intelligence will also become a competitive advantage. Now, “classic” AI is already integrated into many solutions that we use every day, from editing texts and presentations to the fast simultaneous “translation” of films or everyday speech.
Additionally, generative artificial intelligence that creates “new” content and is, let’s say, “inspired” by learned sources, brings even greater momentum and influence to technology, science and everyday life.”
The cloud and cyber security
Are you the first Croatian IT company to be listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange through an IPO after eighteen years? What were the main reasons for that and how do you assess that process today for the company’s current position?
“We want Span not to have to depend on me or the current leadership and for the company to outlive us both biologically and commercially. We also wanted to offer shares to our employees and thus involve them in the company’s success. Today, we have more than 1,900 shareholders, a significant number of whom are our employees.
Thanks to the IPO, we’ve now got enough capital to make acquisitions and grow organically at the same time. At the end of September, it will be two years since we first became present on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, and our stock is one of the most liquid and is part of the CROBEX10.”