E-GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIKE SELLING BOXES OR PAPERS
Plamen Mateev, Manager of Progress Centre for Automatic Construction and Design, to the BANKER weeklyThe Progress Centre for Automatic Construction and Design was established by the Bulgarian government in 1982 in order to execute modern information systems projects under the UN Development Program. Since 1991 the company has been an official partner of Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, and Autodesk. There are 60 experts with university and high school degrees on pay-roll at Progress. Mr. Mateev, you celebrated the 22nd anniversary of your company. Would you tell us in retrospect what you have achieved during this long period of time?- We started very ambitiously - with an investment that was considered an exclusive one in 1982. The money, USD2MN, was provided under a UN project and there was already an idea that an organisation would be established to develop, install, and adapt modern information technologies in the Bulgarian industrial sector. What happened for twenty two years was a kind of maturing. Because no matter how big the investments and the ambitions, reality changes and we all have to adapt to it. Along with the great expectations and the strong investment we had to cope with really sharp changes, to orient toward a market principle that fortunately did not differ much from the project one, and to prove that we are able to survive. What are your plans from now on?- They go in one single direction - to establish and strengthen the Bulgarian spirit as a leading factor in the development of information technologies on the Balkans. We hope we'll be supported by both colleagues from other companies and the partners we already have.The Progress Centre for Automatic Construction and Design was among the main participants in the establishment of the Balkans electronic government. Are you going to continue its popularisation?- The e-government is a very serious topic. I myself think that the solution of this complicated task depends on lots of companies as well as on the society as a whole. This is not like selling boxes or papers, it means providing a complete service. Starting with the demand of a concrete consumer and ending with the implementation of his request. I appeal towards using what has already been achieved, not replacing, denying, or destroying it. Everyone has his strong areas, everyone has his own achievements, now we have to combine these things and use them.You are cooperating with some of the biggest hardware and software providers in the world. Are you able to keep up with their pace?- Performance is important for us, because if we fail to perform well, it is us who will pay for it. But our assessments are good and our long-term collaboration with Dell and Microsoft is proving it.Which are your biggest clients in Bulgaria?- I think that after such a long period of time there are very few companies that have not been our clients. We are presented in every sector of the economy. For example, we have serious success in the state administration. Our services are enjoyed by global producers such as Nestle, Honeywell, Procter Gamble, etc. In fact, I should confess that the first Dell computer installed in the country was in PriceWaterhouseCoopers.Are your 2003 financial results known?- Altogether, we are among the companies that report a turnover varying from USD10MN to USD15MN. These figures refer to us only. If we add the turnovers reported by the 13 other companies which are our partners, then we'll probably fluctuate between USD25MN and USD30MN. This is the total amount reported by all those who work for Dell and Microsoft.