The international IT service provider Optimum Partners DWC LLC headquartered in Dubai, opened its office in Armenia a few days ago. The founders of the company, being impressed by the talent of Armenian engineers, aim to expand their branch in Yerevan and enrich the local IT ecosystem.
Itel.am spoke with them about the company's success story, principles and values, as well as the activities of the Optimum Partners EVN.
The beginning and rapid success
Marco Gorin, Co-founder & CEO at Optimum Partners
Optimum Partners was founded in Dubai in 2016. Almost at the same time, we started opening our first office in Amman, Jordan, where we now have 6 offices and over 250 engineers working with us. From the beginning, our focus was to establish our brand and our reputation in the US market. We already started working with US clients in June 2016, and today we do have a very good reputation in the US.
Our portfolio of clients is very interesting and ranges from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Today we are the largest IT service provider to Forbes, and also we are among the largest service providers to Hearst, mainly on their digital media branch.
In terms of work, we are specialized in staff augmentation. Our formula is to build and manage teams that become an extension of existing teams at the client end. For example, Forbes and Hearst have their IT engineering teams in the US and we have built a variety of teams in Jordan and now also in Armenia, who become an extension and basically interface seamlessly with the teams at the client end.
Our teams provide support in the areas of front-end and back-end development, software engineering, and software testing both manual as well as testing automation, DevOps, infrastructure management and support, as well as BPO (Business process outsourcing) which includes simpler types of services like database management, content management, reporting, and analytics. Surprising Armenian potentialMarco Gorin
In February 2022, after conducting thorough research with the assistance of Taguhi Tumanyan, we came to Armenia to assess the viability of setting up a new delivery center here in Armenia. Both me and Eyad Hammoudeh were pleasantly surprised because we actually found an environment that was a lot better than we originally expected.
The scope of our visit was to get to know the environment through the meetings with academic institutions’ representatives and students, government officials, and some potential candidates for positions. By the end of our first week in Armenia, we actually started already hiring people even before setting up the company. We also initially thought it will take us 6-12 months before these engineers can start delivering directly to clients in the US but actually, they were ready just after three months of training. We are now 3-6 months ahead of our original plan. This speaks a lot about the quality, mindset, and working culture of people in Armenia. Eyad Hammoudeh, Co-Founder & COO at Optimum Partners
As an IT services provider, in the past few years, we have created our own onboarding and growing resources into different skill sets, levels, and approaches. We found that the Armenian education system and Armenian resources, in general, produce good recourses for our system.
We started in March 2022 in terms of working with potential team members here in Armenia, by teaching and growing them. We were pleasantly surprised that some of them already had skill sets and some level of experience on which we focused and invest. Marco Gorin
This rapid development of processes led to the fact that a few days ago we announced the official opening of our delivery center in Armenia, Optimum Partners EVN. Taguhi Tumanyan, the person that has been working with us right from the beginning in assessing Armenia as a viable place for us to start this operation, became more and more a colleague for us, so we eventually decided to appoint her as the director of Optimum Partners EVN.The contribution to the Armenian IT ecosystemEyad Hammoudeh
Our company’s philosophy is always to invest in the community and use the ecosystem and create seeds. If we are looking for just seniors, that means it is a more short-term project, whereas Armenia, as a delivery center, is a long-term project for us. Within a few weeks, we will already have home-grown seniors from Armenian resources and, of course, we will continue the training programs for Armenian resources by engaging our professionals from Jordan. From this scope, Optimum Partners could be a good contributor to the ecosystem of Armenia as we are actually bringing a working culture, which is based on dedication, quality, continuous learning, and ownership. Marco Gorin
What we did in Jordan is the mirror image of what we are planning to do here in Armenia. The Optimum Partners in Jordan is known for the ability to develop and evolve individual professionals from an early stage, sometimes even before they actually graduate from university.
Eyad Hammoudeh, Taguhi Tumanyan and Marco Gorin
For example, they can participate in internships for up to 6 months with us and during those internships, they are mentored, tested, and given real-life assignments and projects. At the end of the internship, we are selecting the cream of the group for our company. But of course, the market also benefits from that because during that process we are producing more valuable and capable engineers that can support not only us but also other companies in the market. Cooperation with academic institutions and individuals Eyad Hammoudeh
In June 2022 we went to the National Polytechnic University of Armenia and interacted with more than 50 students in terms of understanding their career desires, skill sets, and communication levels. We spend around 4-5 hours there and at the end of the meeting, it revealed that 50% of the audience was willing to join Optimum Partners. Taguhi Tumanyan, director at Optimum Partners EVN
We had similar meetings at Yerevan State University, American University of Armenia, and the European University of Armenia. We also have an employee from the French University of Armenia. Marco Gorin
Now that we are going to have a fully-fledged company in Armenia, our plan is to evolve and deepen our relations with educational institutions and eventually set up comprehensive cooperation that may appear in a variety of ways. For example, in Jordan, we are currently having a dialogue with a local university where we could eventually have the first Optimum Partners tech lab.
Apart from working closely with academic institutions, we are also very open to taking on board individuals who come from different walks of life. For example, one of our team members in Yerevan is a former teacher of physics. At some point, he decided to change his trajectory. He was capable of passing all of the tests that we set and now he is a very valuable team member for us. Another of our employees comes from a background in linguistics. I want to emphasize that we are not only focused on recruiting talents from academic institutions, but we are also very interested in coming across people who may not know everything about technology, but who have the right mindset and whose previous training or work experience can truly enrich the work environment. The values and advantagesEyad Hammoudeh
When we select somebody to be part of our family, we are mainly looking for a few things: analytical skills, communication, persistence and accountability. And then we can work with those specialists to reach a stage of growing their skill sets, improving their communication, teaching to lead projects, grow into leadership and management.
We have two internal principles and the first is that we rate seniority by achievement, not by the number of years. The second principle implies to building first and then managing. We are not just parachuting into a project to manage, but we build the ecosystem, the resources, the culture, the philosophy, and only then start managing the projects. Working this way makes everybody keep moving forward.Marco Gorin
First of all, we offer our team members the ability to involve in interesting and exciting projects. Over the years we have gained a lot of trust from our clients so that they allow us to operate at the very core of their platforms. For example, if you go on Forbes.com, everything you see there - websites, microsites, mobile apps, and more, we are actually involved in it. We are now at the point where our team leads become leads for Forbes as they are being handed out entire projects. This is a tremendous opportunity for young talented people in Armenia to eventually reach that level where they will be involved in really exciting core-level engineering work for really exciting clients.
The other advantage is that we provide more and more international work environment. Our workers in Yerevan are cooperating on a daily basis with colleagues both in Jordan as well as with colleagues and clients in the United States. This gives an opportunity not only to experience the technical side but also the cultural side of the things. Making yourself familiar with differences in cultures is a part of enriching yourself as an individual and ultimately accumulating more and more value for yourself.
We are also guided by the principle of continuous learning. For us, there is no level where you can afford not to learn anymore.
In Jordan, our resources have also the opportunity to welcome visitors from the client side, as well as actually go and spend some time at the client's office in the US. This may also become a reality for our workers in Armenia in the nearest future.
Besides the US, we also work with clients from Canada and Asia, and we are also engaging more and more clients from Europe and the Middle East. Our client base continues to grow and our people will be able to benefit from that.Taguhi Tumanyan
It is very important to have a convenient environment in the sense that everyone is feeling comfortable asking questions.
Each and every team member is always ready to help others. There is no silly question as it is encouraged by the company to be proactive and ask questions. We know that Armenians can be a bit shy, so this relaxed environment in our office plays a significant role to help the team members to grow. What does the future hold?Marco Gorin
Ultimately we want to continue growing our range of IT services and team augmentation. According to our vision, Optimum Partners should ultimately set up a variety of business units globally, each focused on a specific set of services, but also integrated and supporting each other.
To be more specific, we are planning to set up a digital design agency that will be focusing primarily on UX and UI. This will integrate beautifully with the existing business directions such as the front-end and back-end development, testing and DevOps.
We are also working towards establishing partnerships with renowned vendors like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and creating yet another business unit that will focus on the provision of services and support related to those specific technologies. As we progress, we will be in a better position to evaluate what else can we do in Armenia and for Armenian Resources.
We are open to people interested in working with us. Once they get in touch with us our process is as follows: they will take an entry test and will be measured on their communication, analytical, and existing IT skills. If they pass the test they will go through an interview, and then if they pass the interview, we will actually be in a position to make them an offer. So the process is quite simple and straightforward. Interested applicants can contact «Optimum Partners» via firstname.lastname@example.org address.Gayane YenokyanPhotos by Emin Aristakesyan