Budapest Business Journal
by Mr. Robert Smyth
Former Pepsi CFO goes solo offering business solutions
When the fizz ran out of his Budapest job as CFO of the Central European Group of soft drinks giant Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers (now PepsiAmericas), Ron Nawrocki decided to take a break from giant corporations.
Nawrocki put his energies into setting up a pint-sized management consulting and systems integration outfit, to pump "business intelligence" further into the markets of the region and beyond.
Instead of returning to Poland, where he spent six years in corporate financial management roles, speaks the language and has his own company, Nawrocki decided to stay on in Budapest to start up another firm, taking one step further what he was doing at the soft drinks giant.
Nawrocki left Pepsi in July 2000, and has spent half a year developing his inter-organizational decision-making tool, which he claims can better integrate the data flow of large companies to help make decisions that will boost profits.
He set up BI Solutions Kft in Budapest on Dec. 28, 2001, and has already invested some $150,000 into the venture, of which he is managing director. He admits he is taking a risk.
"We have to be able to convince clients that they are ready. The biggest challenge is informing the business community about business intelligence and what opportunities it brings for accelerating decision-making by executives," he said.
He added that his decision to establish the firm here was also triggered by economic conditions in Hungary being more suited to what his company has to offer.
"The economy looks fairly stable and I don't think whoever gets elected will screw things up," he said, referring to upcoming national elections in April.
The company has yet to land a contract, but Nawrocki expects the first deal will be in the bag in the next two weeks via a contact in Poland.
"I plan to use my contacts in Poland to drive business and am looking to grow the business to other neighboring markets and later further abroad," he said.
Nawrocki - who is of Polish descent but grew up in the U.S. - said his
decision to leave Pepsi was spurred by his desire to spend more time on
developing business intelligence, and was not the result of any disagreement.
He added that he intends to offer his solutions to Pepsi with the promise of increasing profits.
The fledgling company has enlisted the help of a more established partner. IT consultancy company United Transfer Rt signed a partnership agreement two weeks ago, under which it will provide sales and consulting resources for potential contracts that BI Solutions is currently negotiating.
Frans Smets, CEO of United Transfer, said Nawrocki's managerial experience gives him a certain advantage.
"He's been a CFO for a long time and is able to translate complex data structures residing in IT systems into easily usable management information for faster and better decision-making," Smets said.
BI Solutions can offer much cheaper and more user-friendly business intelligence solutions than other market players, according to Nawrocki.
"SAP [the well-known business intelligence solution] handles data extremely well, but our solution starts where SAP ends. It takes days instead of months to install and minutes and hours rather than weeks to analyze," he said.
He added that BI Solutions' rates are up to ten times lower than the price of an SAP consultation.
Nawrocki offers solutions using platforms and applications such as Cognos, Business Objects, Oracle Express, Microsoft SQL Server, MIS (a local product), Navigo and IBPS, with the short-term addition of Hyperion.
The company, which currently employs eight, is located in Nawrocki's home on Budapest's Németvölgyi út, opposite the offices of Compaq Hungary Kft.
"We tell people that we're opposite Compaq, but if this goes well, they'll be saying Compaq - or whatever the new name is - is opposite BI," he joked.