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Interview with Artem Sapuga, COO - Dunice

Artem Sapuga Interview on TopDevelopers.co

Artem Sapuga  linkedin

COO, Dunice
Give us a quick overview on Dunice. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?

We are based in the very heart of the southern IT cluster - in the city of Taganrog. During the last 8 years, since its foundation in 2012, our company has passed a long, sometimes difficult though always interesting path of gradual development.

My journey with Dunice began in 2015. I’ve been working in another IT field, not related to web development, though I’ve been convinced by professionalism of people, their dedication and a clear plan for the development of the company.

Now we are one of the largest IT companies in the city with a staff of 150+ people, working in a spacious modern office on 3 floors with its own closed parking. And, of course, we are not standing still - we continue expansion.

What is your role in the management and development of Dunice? 

My tasks include increasing operational efficiency of separate departments and the company as a whole. I am engaged in the optimization of management structures within development departments, as well as crisis management at the level of individual projects and departments.

Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry

We showcase a stable growth, successful scalability and increase our revenue.

The business model and structure we’ve built through the past years works without any interruptions which is for me, as for any manager at Dunice, is the main achievement along with an increase of A-category clients projects in our portfolio, major players in the domestic or overseas market.

How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?

We try to develop an individual approach for each client, keeping a balance between customer focus and common sense. Before giving any assessments, we conduct a thorough step-by-step analysis of the client's requirements, substantively study all aspects and area of his business, and work on writing the technical specification together. After that we estimate and approve all work stages.

In development, we follow classic Agile methods, varying their selection depending on the needs and subject area of a particular project. This allows us to ensure timely completion of tasks, code delivery and, as a result, fulfillment of our obligations to our partners.

How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development?

For large projects, we recommend using micro-service architecture. The choice of a specific technology or platform depends on the tasks that the project must solve, planned target audience and load, the features of the product's release, the timing, and so on. We discuss all these aspects with the client and choose the most optimal solution.

Which would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression, Native or hybrid apps? How do you define the factors that influenced you to make this choice?

At the initial stage, we most often choose and advise choosing hybrid development. This significantly reduces the time and cost of the first delivery (MVP). After the first release, we can check the audience's response, and choose a right direction for further development. For example, when using React-Native, we can write (rewrite) individual resource-dependent application modules in native languages. As a result, it looks like some analogue of micro-service architecture, but in the plane of mobile applications.

How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?

The issue of budget and pricing is rather complex and requires a separate discussion. Pricing is influenced by a huge number of factors. Generally speaking, we have a price corridor, where the lower limit cuts off requests that are unprofitable for us. The lower boundary and the corridor are determined on the basis of many indicators, from the company's budget, turnover, scope, and complexity of work in an individual case, to the analysis of indicators of various freelance sites and pricing policies in the relevant IT sectors in the world, the CIS and Russia in particular.

How helpful are the mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business?

One example of our recent project will be sufficient to explain how.

We have implemented a hybrid mobile fitness app for one of our partners in the United States. Prior to that, they only used the desktop version for their business.
After uploading the app to the store, the customer base increased by almost 20,000 new users in the first 2 weeks and continues to grow.

What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?

In addition to such trivial things as meeting deadlines and budget, it is very important to delve into what the client is doing and the subject area of his business. You cannot be successful without understanding the processes that surround your business, without understanding how it all works. You need to immerse yourself in this, ideally communicate in person on client’s territory. Many do not do this, chasing short-term profits, which in the long term will necessarily lead to problems and costs for both parties. Paying maximum attention to this already at the pre-sale stage, you will not only save yourself from many pitfalls in the future, but also show the client that you are one team, that his success is your success as well. That you are not just another contractor chasing profits, but a partner really interested in projects success. 

This is extremely important for any lead, it creates the right environment for partnership and customer satisfaction, which is what we all strive for.

How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?

We are quite sensitive to this issue in our company, because the IT world is changing and developing rapidly. We set realistic goals, highlight real problems, and form specific expectations that require innovation to be addressed and achieved. From year to year, our company maintains an appropriate level of investment in the technological development of the company and employees in order to meet the conditions of the market and competition. This includes the use of cloud platforms and computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and other advanced technologies.

We invest in the development of our employees, instilling in them a culture of learning and innovation; we conduct various workshops, organize participation in relevant workshops and provide opportunities for exchange of experience. We also try to attract talented people from outside who are able to bring something new and give impetus to the development of a new direction.

What are your thoughts about AR, VR and Internet of Things (IoT)?

These are promising technologies (directions) that are actively gaining popularity in many areas of life. And of course, this popularity will grow exponentially from year to year. All this is already gradually being introduced into our life and will soon become its integral part. You can already see the application of these technologies in various fields, for example, in game simulators, full immersion simulators, smart home systems, clothing, and cars. Some applications are already actively using AR, providing, for example, smart navigation services to the user or showing animated tags in stores, bars and other places. This is cool, and the applications for these technologies will multiply. It is foolish to deny this, and we at Dunice are paying close attention to this right now.

What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?

It's hard to make a clear forecast here, cross-platform and native approaches are two camps that now calmly coexist. Each of these approaches has its pros and cons, but if you look at the big picture, I am more inclined to believe that the future of mobile technologies lies in cross-platform frameworks and applications. React Native, Flutter, Kotlin Multiplatform - all are quite young, but already very powerful technologies that continue to gain popularity rapidly - all this gives reason to look in this direction.

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