BCCH Business News
Intelligent business answers
By Tamás S. Kiss
"Aaah, there's nothing like the pleasure of finding intelligent solutions for business," Ronald M. Nawrocki, Managing Director of the Budapest-based intelligence software technologies company BI Solutions Kft, would say each morning in the shower humming the tune of a Beatles lyric: "I'd like to be..., in an octopus' garden in the shade..."
BI Solutions was launched this year and has a flagship product called the BI OctoPus, a technology enabling executives to make prompt decisions from a systematic but quick study on companies.
The product takes data from existing transaction systems, processes and transforms these into knowledge and intelligence that can be used to increase the effectiveness, profitability and success of a company.
"From the information on a company I can tell you which market, which sales rep, which product, which customer to focus on and I'm not smarter than anybody else who uses this technology," he said, emphasizing the scheme of his octopus.
"I only focus on what I can do well," said Nawrocki.
He explained that the BI OctoPus was based on 15 P's (Profitability, Products, Business Partners, Plants, Production, Promotions, Place of Sale, Physical Distribution, Part of the World, Purchasing, Producers, Priorities, Productivity, Projects, Personnel, Pollution, Perfection, Periods of Time) that exist in nearly all enterprises no matter how big or small, even non-profit organizations.
"The bottom line (for non-profits) may be zero, but still growth is important no matter whether you're a large multinational like Pepsi, a newspaper company or a charitable service," he said.
In the age of information, he added, these are the dimensions of every single business.
Nawrocki said that as time is money his company focuses on what he calls the three "Es", executive efficiency and effectiveness.
He added that using BI Solutions' technology is very fast and saves time for executives to spend more with their family instead of getting burned into weekends of reading reports.
Nawrocki said, "I can accomplish with this technology in four hours what once took me three months in a CFO position."
"My preferred style of working and preparing reviews of a company is at home out on the balcony with a cigar and a cup of coffee," he said. "That's how I like to relax and see the Buda Hills."
He explained that the US-based discount retailer Wal-Mart is one of the most aggressive users of this technology and while the market is complaining of a recession in the consumer market the retailer giant's profits are increasing about 16% each year.
"How can they do it, Simply because they know what's going on (in the market)," he said.
He explained that in Hungary people say that Auchan and Tesco are doing well, but added that what people don't realize is that Wal-Mart actually destroyed these kinds of companies within the US.
Nawrocki feels that it is not enough to just introduce a product it is very important that users can actually take it and get a first-hand experience.
"One thing we did learn in mid 2002 is that there is a huge difference between seeing and putting a hand into a case in trying to fix a business by using this technology," he said.
"It's like walking past a new Mercedes, saying: 'that looks interesting and I'm sure it's good because I've heard that Mercedes is good,' but to get to drive the car is a very different experience," he said.
"Once executives test drive a BI OctoPus they will know what I mean," he said, explaining that anyone could be trained in 15 minutes on how to use the technology.
"However, I'm not too sure that it sounds as sexy as test driving a Mercedes," he added.
Nawrocki explained that in June this year, executives at a workshop seminar hosted by BCCH, were able to test drive the octopus.
"We told them, here is a company, its profitability has flattened out. Try to fix it and you have an hour to do it," he said.
"All the participants had to do was take a look at the computer and obtain the information. It's all there in the technology designed for PC use."
Nawrocki said that adopting something new (i.e. BI Solutions' technology) on the Hungarian market has not happened as quickly as he had expected.
"Frankly, I would say today I am, after 11 months, in about the position where I had expected to be in my plan after four to six months," he said.
"Things take two to three times longer (to accomplish here), and my expectations are not unrealistic as I speak from six-and-a-half years of business experience in Poland," he said.
He believes that Hungarians are extra skeptical about using BI Solutions' technology and most likely because it sounds too good and too inexpensive to be true.
There is something about Hungarians specifically, which blocks them from readily adapting new ideas and technologies, believes Nawrocki.
"Perhaps if their brother-in-law (working at a multinational company) used it then maybe they would also try it," he said, going back to the roots of Hungarian culture and communication.
"It goes back to my analogy of the spread-sheet. If I had told you (as an executive) in 1982 that I've got a technology, you can buy for $700, that will increase your financial analysts' productivity by 400%, then you would have said: "Oh, but my guys are pretty good," he said.
He added that nobody then would have believed him that 20 years later they wouldn't be able to run a business without spread-sheets.
"Just like the spread-sheet changed the world, this technology will also change the way C.E.Os (Chief Executive Officer), C.F.Os (Chief Financial Officer) and C.R.Os (Chief Revenue Officer) run their businesses," he said.
Nawrocki explained that companies like Pepsi spend millions of dollars on systems from which they do not get the benefits in four or five years what we get in three or four months.
"Everything I have done since the beginning of my career (spanning the past 28 years) would have been dramatically different, had this technology existed then," he explained.
He added, "I know my clients, needs. My client is me in my past life."
BI Solutions Kft Managing Director Ronald M. Nawrocki (46) was born in Buffalo, New York and completed his undergraduate and MBA studies at Cornell University. His parents were Polish and German emigrants who, after the Second World War, moved to the U.K. and then to the U.S.
He started his career at photo-copier giant Xerox Inc, where he worked for eight years in management consulting. He then joined a paper company in Philadelphia where he spent 2 years. Then he changed careers and went into mergers and acquisitions (M&A) at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon). In 1990 he and his boss decided to set up their own company called Business Development Services (BDS) where he worked for five years.
He was recruited via a headhunting company to take the position of C.F.O. at E.Wedel, a 145-year-old State run company that had gone into a joint venture with PepsiCo. He sold his share of the business in 1994 and moved with his family to Poland. In 1997 he joined Hortex, a company that had been running up a loss for 10 years. In his first year he helped turn the company around to make a profit. He also formed three new companies, and started setting up an NGO association for the development of intellectual capital, but that fell through due to too much bureaucracy in the Government. After six and a half years in Poland he went back to his own business and in 2000 he received an offer from Pepsi-Cola in Budapest asking him to team up as Regional C.F.O. of Beverages. He left Pepsi-Cola in mid 2001 after implementing a BI system, and in six months he set up BI Solutions, which was registered on December 27, 2001.