16:28 | 21.03.23 | Interviews | exclusive 31283

Tony Safoian: We have to fill the talent gap

Armenians state bodies and Google Cloud partner SADA combine the efforts to introduce Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals services and tools for developing education system digitalization and equal opportunities for education in the entire territory of Armenia.

iTel.am spoke with Tony Safoian, CEO and President of SADA Systems.

SADA is a market leader in professional services and an award-winning solutions provider of Google Cloud. With offices in North America, India, Armenia, and UK/Ireland providing sales and customer support teams, SADA is positioned to meet customers where they are in their digital transformation journey. SADA is a 5x Google Cloud Partner of the Year award winner with 10 Google Cloud Specializations and a proven track record of offering customers best-in-class service.

What do you believe the cloud opportunity is in Armenia, and how is SADA uniquely positioned to support customers in the region?

There is just so much digital transformation and digitization of the local economy that is still ahead of us and that needs to happen in Armenia. Fortunately over the last 2 years we’ve built a team of consultants, engineers and specialists that have learned from all the customers they’ve been serving all around the world. The engineers in the Armenian office have worked on these projects. So I hope that we can engage with the local market and local companies to bring those very advanced capabilities to help accelerate their own digital journey using cloud technology.  

SADA is focused on cloud security solutions. What services do you offer? How can you help companies working in a remote or hybrid regime?

Number of cyber attacks has gone up over 40% in the last couple of years, 80% of organizations believe that they are under constant threat of cyber reach. We spent the last two years developing very advanced capabilities that are easy for customers to start with and consume.

Tony Safoian Tony Safoian
photo © SADA

The security confidence assessment was one of our new offerings where we are able to review the entire security threat for customers and help them to fulfill their gaps. Thankfully Google itself and some of our other partners adjacent to the Google Cloud ecosystem have tremendous threat detection and prevention capabilities, but they have to be implemented correctly and that is where we are specialized in. Whether the work force is remote or hybrid, security is the most important thing that CEOs and technology leaders care about.  

SADA has offices in the US, the UK/Ireland, Canada, India, and Armenia. What are the specific tasks that the Armenian experts are dealing with?

We believe in creating a global delivery capability that is absolutely equal in quality everywhere that our engineers are. So we have specialists here that are in Data and Data Engineering, Security specialists, Infrastructure modernization specialists, the same caliber that we have anywhere in the world. And that is a big goal of ours as we serve multinational customers.

Tony Safoian Tony Safoian
photo © SADA

We want to pick the best talent to serve them in the right markets and for our customers to feel exactly the same in a way that they almost can't tell where the engineers are from, because the quality is consistent. We will continue to build our capability. We recently put a new person in charge of our delivery organization here - Adam Evans, who is one of our service's leaders in the UK. He is going to expand and diversify the services delivery and talent in Armenia. I think he will bring better experience for the people here.         

What gaps do you think there are in the Armenian tech ecosystem?

I think it is a vibrant and ambitious ecosystem. It has a combination of massive multinational companies that are here with a bunch of startups with big ambitions. The biggest gap is the talent gap - how we elevate the talent, how we build more talent capacity. That has to include bringing on more generations of engineers that are choosing this path from University, and also helping people to move to Yerevan to work in technology, even from places like India. We have to do all of those things to fill the talent gap. It is not just an Armenian issue, it is a global issue. We just have to continue to create a great working environment.

What qualifications and values are mandatory for the specialists who want to work for SADA Armenia?

We definitely believe that attitude, aptitude, and culture are probably the most important things. That skills can be taught. Obviously we want to be a place where people are ambitious, and want to study hard, work hard, get certified in various tech solutions.

Not all Google services are currently available in Armenia. How will SADA work with Google Cloud to support customers in the region?

Google Cloud is happy to report that all the services are now authorized in Armenia: GCP, Google Workspace etc. We want to work beyond that.

Nune Grigoryan talks to Tony Safoian Nune Grigoryan talks to Tony Safoian
photo © SADA

SADA is fortunate to have excellent working relationships with Armenians inside Google who understand some of the additional opportunities we have identified for the country. Together, we believe we have the experience and perseverance to navigate the complexities of bringing some of the historically challenged offers from Google to Armenia, to ensure the country has the same first-class technology as the U.S. That is my dream.

Nune Grigoryan talked to Tony Safoian