Connections Consult, revenues up 24% in 2021

Bucharest, 2nd May 2022 – Connections Consult (CC), a group of digital transformation companies listed on the main market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, reported consolidated revenues of 45.32 million lei in 2021 and a gross profit of 3.46 million lei, an increase by 25% compared to 2020.

During the reporting period, the Connections Group recorded a 24% increase in revenue compared to the previous year, amid new projects under the software and RPA service lines, as well as the increase in the volume of software consulting and outsourcing services offered together with Outsourcing Support Services SRL and Brusch Services SRL. Gross profit increased by 25% compared to 2020, and, at the same time, there was a change in the composition of the main contributors to the group’s revenue structure. Thus, the line of services that represents software development reached a share of contribution in revenues of 22%, and hyper-automation services (RPA) represented, in 2021, 6 per cent of total revenues.

At the same time, Connections Consult exceeded the financial estimation for 2021, mentioned in the memorandum of private placement and in the September 2021 technical listing memorandum, in terms of revenues (21% increase compared to the estimated figures) and gross profit (9 per cent increase compared to the estimated figures).

As a result, the Connections Group maintained its commitment to its investors and continued to invest resources in developing potential service lines to maximize the value of the group’s net assets. At the time of publication of the 2021 Annual Financial Report, Connections already reached another important goal in the strategy presented to investors at the time of the private placement: the creation of the US subsidiary, Connections Consult LLC. Considering the division of shares (10:1 ratio) and the budget of revenues and expenses above the initial estimates from July 2021 (at the date of the private placement), the Group is optimistic about the year 2022.
In a highly volatile international and local market context, with many uncertainties and difficulties to manage: the war in Ukraine, inflation, the potential food crisis, the energy crisis and the supply chain crisis, therefore, in a complex landscape, the Connections Group maintains its energy, perseverance and positive estimations for 2022.

The financial information presented in the annual financial report is in line with Connections’ business development strategy, which is a proof that the Group has the ability and takes the commitment to increase the value of its assets.
The year 2021 meant for the company Connections Consult SA the strengthening of the financial position in the Balance Sheet. The company recorded an increase in the value of easily convertible assets in cash, as shown in the comparative balance sheet 2020 versus 2021. The increase in current assets is mainly generated by two important factors: capital inflow as a result of listing on the AeRO market and a careful management of working capital.
At the end of 2021, the issuer registered a balance of Current Assets in the amount of 19,775,687 lei, of which 7,9 million lei was represented by cash.

According to the budget for 2022, Connections SA aims to achieve a consolidated turnover of 59 million lei and an EBITDA of 5,64 million lei. This estimation includes the results generated by all group companies, including Brusch Services – a company acquired by the Group in 2021.
Annual Report 2021 – PDF

Best Practices for Introducing RPA to Employees

Studies have shown that ineffective organizational change management is the leading cause of RPA failure*. Introducing this revolutionary technology to employees through efficient change management can mean the difference between Robotic Process Automation success and failure. 

*According to the Global IA Report by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), 44% of businesses reported that a lack of effective change management was the number one reason why their RPA implementation efforts failed.

Implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in your business is so much more than just a technology project to streamline business processes and increase efficiency. It is an initiative that affects everyone in your company, and as such, it is crucial to focus on the “people side” of implementation just as much, if not more, than you would on the software developments. This mindset shift from a focus on technology to a focus on people will allow you to prepare your employees to embrace the implementation process and make the most of the new technology available to them.

Organizational change management is the process of communicating upcoming changes to team members in an effort to ensure that they are well equipped with the knowledge, understanding, and skillsets required to successfully work with the new software. 

Follow these change management best practices to introduce RPA to your employees in order to ensure that your RPA implementation is successful.

Prepare an introductory demonstration

There is a common misconception that automation technology, like RPA, will replace human employees, and make their jobs redundant. This is, of course, completely untrue. As revolutionary as RPA software is, there is only so much that these robots can actually do. The reality is that the software will only automate those elements of the job that are repetitive, mundane, time-consuming, and rather quite dull. Educate your people straight from the start, show them exactly what the software can do and how it can, and will, benefit them.

Encourage input

Engage with employees to come up with ideas of where automation can be used in the organization. Not only will this encourage innovation and buy-in, but it will highlight whether your people have a good understanding of where and how RPA software can be used.

Get management buy-in, and communicate every step of the way

Support and buy-in from senior management should flow down through to employees, and a thorough understanding of the software and the implementation process will allow management to educate and keep employees updated so that they know exactly what to expect at every stage of the project.

Train and upskill

Ensure that your RPA implementation partner offers training to upskill employees, and be sure to reward participation. 

Celebrate successes, and acknowledge setbacks

Businesses that benefit most from RPA implementation will consider their people’s needs as well as those of the company. Rather than trying to sell employees on theoretical advantages of Robotic Process Automation, communicate how the technology will directly benefit them by making their jobs less routine and freeing them up for higher-value work. Actively involve them in the implementation process and reward their interest and buy-in. This will win them over and help to ensure that your RPA implementation is successful.

 

Are you ready to implement RPA to transform your business? Make sure to partner with the right experts to ensure that your attempts do not fail. With over 15 years of industry experience, Connections are here to help. FIND OUT MORE.

4 Common Business Processes You Can Automate with RPA

If you think that “Digital Transformation” is just a trendy buzzword, it is probably safe to assume that your business is lagging behind. In today’s competitive digital age, if you are not implementing the latest technology to increase efficiency, streamline business processes, and improve the customer experience, your company will lack the competitive edge necessary to stand out from the crowd.

 

A key component of digital transformation is the implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate those repetitive, tedious, time-consuming activities that require little creativity or deep thinking from employees. 

In order for digital transformation with RPA to be successful, your business needs to identify the right processes to automate. These should ideally be a series of interrelated activities and tasks, performed in a specific order, following a set of rules and a fixed structure. Their implementation serves a particular purpose and is intended to produce a specific outcome.

To give an indication of the types of activities that can benefit from RPA implementation, we take a look at four (of the many) common business processes that can easily be automated with RPA.

1. Speed up Procure to Pay

Many businesses need to have a Procure to Pay (or P2P) process in place in order to purchase goods and services from suppliers. This process typically includes requesting quotes, creation of purchase orders, goods receipts, and invoice creation, and all of this before payment can even take place. As time-consuming and tedious as this process can be, this cycle needs to run efficiently and systematically if the business is to continuously manage its cash flow, build goodwill with suppliers, develop profitable relationships and generate revenue.

RPA software technology is ideally suited to automate the P2P process, reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency. Adopting this technology not only frees up the procurement team to focus more of its efforts on high-value-added activities, but also enables the accounts payable department to be more productive and cost-effective. 

2. Dealing with Sensitive Data

Working with sensitive data associated with payroll, benefits, and business travel is another time-consuming exercise that requires high levels of concentration and accuracy as well as confidentiality. 

RPA robots can input this data, check for accuracy, and process payments in less time than a human, with better accuracy and without the risk of errors. As this sensitive data is no longer being seen by multiple employees, the chance of leaked information means higher confidentiality and improved compliance.

3. Interacting with Multiple Systems

Businesses often have multiple systems that deal with the same data but for different purposes. Transferring and cross-checking data between different platforms, such as ERP and CRM systems, is tedious, time-consuming, and often costly, as it takes additional manpower.

Software robots easily integrate with any system, platform, or application, allowing for the complete automation of data collection to processing, transfer, compliance verification, updating, and archiving. Processes that once took an employee hours to complete now takes minutes, significantly cutting costs and increasing productivity and efficiency.

4. Invoicing Made Easy

Companies that interact with multiple customers or partners often have to deal with invoices in a variety of different formats, such as paper, email, Excel, PDF, etc. Manually transferring this critical data into one harmonized system or database for processing is both time-consuming and dull, and is prone to human error. 

Not only can a well-programmed RPA robot automatically process invoices received in any format, but it can also verify the data, enter it into the appropriate database, and even correct errors. What’s more, the robot can automatically generate invoices at greater speeds meaning faster turn-around times, reduced call-handling times, and a significant improvement in customer experience.

 

Are you excited to kick-start your business automation journey, but not sure where to start? CLICK HERE to access our free tool to discover whether your business processes are RPA-ready, and get ready to take the first step towards true digital transformation.

 

How to Ensure Business Success in 2022 and Beyond

 

The global pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses across the globe, but along with chaos and uncertainty, it brought a number of valuable lessons too. 

In the last few years numerous organizations, and in particular, SMEs, were forced to shut their doors, and if your business is one of the fortunate few who managed to survive, take a moment of well-deserved commendation. Although it seems that things are finally starting to look up, this is not a time for complacency. Indeed, if there is one key learning that COVID-19 has taught us it is that business owners need to take proactive measures to prepare for anything. Implementing new processes is crucial to building resilience in order to see to it that your business continues to survive, and thrive, during a period of constant change and instability. 

We investigate some of the critical processes that business owners should consider implementing in order to ensure their business’ success in 2022 and beyond.

Utilize data and analytics to make smart business decisions

It is no secret that we find ourselves in a data-driven world, and organizations that are not actively collecting and investigating valuable data are certain to be left behind. 

As a business owner, you want to be sure that every important action taken is backed by solid evidence and not hypothetical assumptions. Gathering crucial data on every aspect of your business, including customer behavior, is only the first step towards making informed decisions. Performing detailed analysis on the raw figures is where the real value lies. 

Recognizing patterns and identifying trends will enable you to identify strategic opportunities, solve challenges, and make necessary adjustments to propel your business forwards.  

Encourage customer feedback

A recent survey conducted by Shep Hyken showed that a staggering 96% of customers will switch brands or companies after experiencing poor customer service. Besides gauging whether your customers are experiencing a positive interaction with your brand, requesting feedback serves to show them that you care about them, and allows you to pinpoint areas for improvement. 

Although many business owners may take the stance that “no news is good news”, not providing your customers an opportunity to share their feedback may be limiting the opportunity for establishing relationships and cementing loyalty to your brand. Customers want to feel that their opinion matters and actively requesting their valuable input helps to make them feel heard and valued. 

In the same breath, it does not mean much requesting information from customers and not using the learnings to improve. As mentioned in our previous point, feedback data should be collected and then analyzed, and relevant suggestions need to be implemented in order to ensure that customers do not ditch you for competitors.

Improve internal communications

Effective internal communication is a core component of achieving business objectives and goals. When communication breaks down, collaboration suffers.

Ensuring that employees and departments are effectively communicating not only facilitates teamwork, helps to avoid miscommunication and confusion, and increases productivity, but it also helps to develop a positive corporate culture and improve employee morale, and encourages insightful feedback and ideas for improvement.

As with the above point, it is not only customers who need to feel heard in order to feel valued. Besides showing employees that they are an indispensable part of the team, promoting a culture of open communication can also provide business owners with valuable insights into ways to improve. Employees may be able to spot areas that could be made more efficient or processes that could be streamlined, and by making sure that they feel comfortable and encouraged to offer their feedback and voice their opinions, your business can only benefit.

Look after your number one asset – your employees

With record numbers of people leaving their jobs over the last few years, retaining employees has become a valid concern for many businesses. Besides the cost implications of recruiting new talent and replacing lost staff, having a high employee turnover is bad for corporate culture, makes your business look bad, and can negatively affect productivity. 

It is therefore vital to ensure that employees feel engaged, motivated, and valued, so that want to stay and see the organization succeed. In order to keep your workforce happy consider implementing value-added incentives and benefits, career coaching and development, and remote and flexible work opportunities. Ensuring your employees’ overall well-being also includes investigating ways to improve their day-to-day tasks, freeing them up to focus on meaningful work that stimulates and challenges them.

Outsource to trustworthy professionals 

Outsourcing certain business processes to trusted professionals can not only drive performance and increase efficiency within an organization but also results in significant cost savings over time.

As a business owner, if you are attempting to do everything on your own, you may be limiting your organization for potential growth. Partnering with expert service providers provides access to teams with specialized skills in key areas, and frees up employees to focus on core business functions.

Implement automation technology 

Finally, automating repetitive, time-consuming business processes is a necessity to increase speed and efficiency, reduce human error, and to ensure that employees are not wasting valuable time and energy on mundane robotic tasks.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses intelligent software technology, or ‘bots’, to automatically complete rule-based and trigger-driven digital tasks that once required human action. Implementing RPA software can transform and streamline an organization’s workflow, resulting in increased cost-saving, a boost in ROI, improved customer experience, greater flexibility and scalability, enhanced compliance, improved productivity, and an increase in employee satisfaction. 

To the above point, partnering with a team of knowledgeable experts to implement automation software, such as RPA, will ensure that the transition is seamless, and will propel your business forward towards success.

Utilizing data and detailed analytics to derive meaningful information to drive smart business decisions, listening to valuable customer feedback, ensuring employee satisfaction, outsourcing certain business processes, and implementing automation technology are all ways in which business owners can improve processes, increase efficiency, and ensure that their organization is prepared and future-ready. 

 

Click here to find out more about how Connections can help you to transform your business for success in 2022 and beyond.

 

Implementing RPA in Your Business: How to Guarantee Success

It is a no-brainer that implementing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a surefire way to save your business time and money. It is, however, an investment into the success of your company and certain steps should be taken to ensure the best possible outcome.

Do you know how much time and effort your employees are wasting on dull, repetitive computer-based tasks that require little to no cognition? The answer would probably shock you. This is where the magic that is RPA comes in. These digital tasks can be completed with ease by RPA software technology with increased speed and accuracy, freeing up your workforce to focus on the important stuff.

Are you ready to implement Intelligent Integrated Automation into your business? Kudos! You’ve made the right decision. To help you along your journey we’re looking at some important factors to make sure that the transition is as smooth and successful as possible. 

Have Realistic Expectations

There is no doubt that RPA is transformational technology, but it is necessary to be aware of its capabilities and its limitations. If implemented correctly your business can anticipate a reduction in the cost of existing manual operations, an increase in productivity, and the recovery of up to 100% of your investment within 6 – 9 months after implementation. Plus all of this can be achieved without the need to change any of your existing systems. Do keep in mind, however, that you can’t achieve 100% automation in your business.  RPA technology automates clearly defined rules-based trigger-driven business processes but it will not be able to automate those digital tasks that fall outside of their programming parameters.

Similarly the automation software, or “bots”, are able to perform a massive number of computer-based tasks at higher speeds and with greater efficiency, but they aren’t able to adapt when something unexpected, like an application update, happens. It is for this reason that you need to ensure that you have an exceptional team of experts implementing your RPA software. They will be able to anticipate and prepare for many of these process exceptions and will ensure that the software will achieve the desired results. Plus, they will offer the necessary training, support, and maintenance to ensure that your automated processes are as efficient as possible.

Get Your People Onboard

It won’t come as a surprise that employee resistance is a significant reason why RPA attempts flop. One of the biggest misconceptions that human operational workers have is that RPA software will replace them, and with that belief, it is completely understandable that they may be against the implementation of the software. Staff should be educated on how RPA can benefit them directly by eliminating mundane drudge work and freeing up their time and energy for more value-added tasks. 

Another big misconception is that learning to interact with the RPA software will be difficult and this could lead to employees being resistant to change. The reality is that RPA “bots” are super easy to use. The process is as intuitive as using drag-and-drop to move files around and hitting record, play, and stop buttons. Once your workforce realizes how easy the software is to interact with, and how much it will benefit them on a daily basis, their buy-in will be as good as guaranteed.

Partner with the Best Support Team

The benefits of implementing RPA software in your business cannot be understated. From reducing costs and increasing revenue, decreasing errors and increasing productivity, improving customer service and customer experience, to enhancing employee satisfaction and engagement. The reality is, however, that in order to ensure that investing in this digital transformation in your business is successful, it needs to be implemented properly. The software may be easy to use and interact with but the complexities of implementations should not be underestimated. 

 

You will want to partner with an RPA implementer who has a proven track record for success, a provider who will not only perform process analysis and optimization and deliver exceptional RPA implementation but who will also provide the required training and Center-of-Excellence set-up support, as well as the maintenance and support for the automated processes.

 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Connections RPA Implementation Expert and find out how we can help you to transform your business.

 

Connections Consult debuts on the AeRO market

Tomorrow, September 22, at 10:00 a.m., the Connections Consult team will ring the bell of the Bucharest Stock Exchange on the occasion of the start of trading in the company’s shares on the AeRO market. Both the private placement and the listing were made with the support of TradeVille. The event will be broadcast LIVE on the social media channels of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn).

ABOUT CONNECTIONS CONSULT

Connections Consult is a leader in the digital transformation market in Romania, with over 300 employees, offices in Bulgaria and Serbia and sales representatives in Germany and Saudi Arabia. The company specializes in Intelligent Automation, IT Infrastructure Support, Digital Business Process Management and Software Development On Demand, and its clients are global companies and Romanian mid-sized companies in industries such as Banking, FMCG, Oil & Gas, Telecom and Retail. As of July 2018, Connections has partnered with UiPath, the Enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform with the fastest adoption worldwide, with whom it has already successfully implemented robotic automation processes in key industries. Connections Consult is also constantly investing in the development of software products for industries as diverse as audit and consulting, green energy, and specialist accounting and HR software Connections ended 2020 with a turnover of €7 million.

How oil and gas companies can benefit through outsourcing software development.

Oil and gas companies around the world are increasingly looking to do more with their software teams, without increasing their costs, while maintaining overall efficiency. Dedicated team based outsourcing, to Romania in particular, enables companies to do just this.

One of the most important facets of expanding a software team is the process of onboarding new developers. A major pain point of HR professionals is the sheer amount of time and money that goes into this process for each new hire- from job ads, to interviews, to getting developers up to speed. We look to eliminate this with our outsourcing model, based around pre-selection and fast onboarding. By pre-selecting available developers to add to our talent pool, we maintain a large database of ready-to-go talent that our clients can pick from at a moment’s notice- whether they are just starting to work with us, or they need to add a new specialist to an existing team, fast. We also look to streamline the onboarding process by way of emphasizing open communication and offering strong support in HR and local project/team management.

As we’ve written previously, working with Romanian developers can be an excellent way to save on personnel costs while ensuring high quality workmanship. As the market rates for software developers in Romania are lower than elsewhere in the world, and the local cost of doing business is quite reasonable in comparison with other countries- it’s no surprise that outsourcing to Romania can be a major bargain for firms based in certain countries. Saying this, as Romania boasts a large, ever-expanding tech industry, it’s not at all difficult to find the exact sort developer that you’re looking for, however specialized or experience-warranting your requirements might be.

Between getting expert developers for bargain prices, and getting who you need, when you need them, without the added legwork that comes with conducting hiring rounds internally- it could be said that software development outsourcing to Romania presents a unique set of advantages to companies in the oil and gas industry. Whether you’re looking to efficiently expand your software team, decrease costs associated with software development to increase overall profit margins, or some mix of the two- outsourcing to Romania might be the way to go.

Tips for Building an In-House Outsourced Team

When contemplating their growth strategy, many companies feel that they need to make a choice between growing their in-house team or leveraging a separate external provider. In other words, some people feel that outsourced and in-house are mutually exclusive. They’re not anymore.

Based on what we offer our clients, it’s now possible to build an outsourced team that’s so in-sync with your internal team, that it’s essentially a part of it. Here’s a few tips for how you can do it:

● Make a blueprint for your dream team before you start building it. Let’s say you need to hire 6 agents specialized in X- that part is fairly easy. What you also need to do is figure out how your outsourced team can complement your internal team, and how you see your outsourced team interacting with your internal team. We can help you with this.

● Once you know what you’re looking for, and what you’d like to accomplish, figure out the characteristics and skill profiles of the types of people you’d like to work with. We can present you with a wide array of pre-screened available candidates to you so that you can pick the perfect fit for each role.

● Devise a working schedule that provides for some time overlap between your internal team and your outsourced team, so that one team can pick up where the other left off each day, and both sides are fully in-sync.

● Visit your outsourced team, or have them visit you- especially in the beginning. Not only can in-person meetings bring everyone on the same page, they can be great for breaking down the distances and gaps that can often occur with outsourcing.

● Harmonize the direction and management of both your internal and outsourced teams. If both teams are working together and are otherwise interconnected, it’s important that both teams are managed together and follow largely the same direction.

If you follow the right steps, it’s quite easy to have an outsourced team that acts as an in-house team (despite costing much less). Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to know more.

3 Reasons You Should Outsource IT to Romania. Wherever you’re located

IT outsourcing has many benefits, and outsourcing to Romania presents some unique advantages over some of the more common markets out there- wherever you happen to be located. Saying this, a lot of these advantages come down to where you’re based, and what you’re looking to achieve.

Here’s 3 unique reasons to outsource to Romania with us, for companies in 3 unique regions:

Canada
● The costs of doing business in Romania are much lower than in Canada, and by outsourcing to a company like ours, we’re able to pass these cost savings onto you- without the need for you to sacrifice on quality.
● Romania is fairly close to Canada, both geographically and culturally. If you were to fly out of Bucharest in the morning, you could be in either Toronto or Montreal by the afternoon local time. Also, Romania is part of the EU, and has a similar cultural background to Canada. As such, there’s not a whole lot of difference between outsourcing to Romania, or outsourcing to Ireland- only cost.
● Not only are we close, we’re also local. We’ve got someone in Montreal, and we’re thinking about setting up a Canadian subsidiary over the next few months.

East & Southeast Asia
● By having part of your team based in Romania, you can make your business more international, as well as gain access to the largest combined market on earth, the European Union.
● Adding to the first point, through working with an international team, you’ll gain access to different concepts and ideas that can help you move forward and gain competitive advantages.
● Despite these advantages, hiring resources in Romania is often less expensive than hiring in-house, whether you’re in Seoul, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur.

Australia & New Zealand
● You can do more with each day. As of May, Sydney and Melbourne are both 7 hours ahead of Bucharest. This means that your IT team can essentially operate in two shifts, and have an hour of overlap. This means more productivity for you, and more uptime- without any crazy schedules.
● In a similar sense to what we’ve mentioned about Canada, there aren’t many cultural differences between either Romania, Australia, or New Zealand. Also, in comparison to many other IT outsourcing markets- English proficiency isn’t an issue.
● As we’ve mentioned above, whether you’re in Asia, Australia, or elsewhere- it’s a huge advantage to be able to have on-the-ground access to different foreign markets, and the EU happens to be the largest single market in the world today. By working with us in Romania, we can help you gain access to all of Europe.

New to IT Outsourcing? 5 Key Benefits to Consider

If you haven’t outsourced before, you might still be unaware of some of the main benefits that come with IT outsourcing. Here’s 5 for you to consider:

Cost Reduction
One of the most appreciated benefits of outsourcing is cost reduction. By leveraging outsourced teams, you’re able to take advantage of many of the lower costs associated with doing business in a particular foreign country- from labour to office costs. The end result is that you can do far more, while spending less doing it.

On Demand Specialists
By working with an established IT outsourcing company, you’re able to leverage their HR and recruiting prowess as much as the specialists that you’re ultimately hiring. This means that not only will you have some of the brightest and best talent at your fingertips, but that you’ll be able to add whoever you need to your team, whenever you need them.

Greater Productivity
Outsourcing IT is an excellent way to increase productivity across your organization while adding to your bottom line. Considering that outsourced IT teams are often more cost efficient compared to in-house teams (allowing you to have bigger teams for less), and considering that IT is crucial to most organizations’ productivity- outsourcing can be a game-changer for the organizations that leverage it.

Less Downtime
A major benefit that comes with IT outsourcing is that your outsourcing partner will likely be located in a different timezone than you, with the result being less overall downtime. As an example, let’s say your in-house team based in Montreal works from 10 AM to 6 PM local time, and your outsourced team in Serbia works from 8 AM to 4 PM their time. Since Serbia is 6 hours ahead of Montreal- your combined team will be active between 2 AM and 6 PM Montreal time on any given day. This reduces your downtime by 50%- from 16 hours per day to just 8.

New Ideas
Considering that IT outsourcing companies are often more or less consultancies that happen to work with organizations across many different industries and geographies, they are often hip to the latest trends and technologies in IT. With this knowledge and experience comes new ideas that could help take your organization’s IT outcomes to the next level.