“Branislav (“Banne”) Gjorcevski is a strategy advisor and Investor. He’s always been at the forefront of the corporate growth, innovation, and market positioning process. Collaboratively engaged in the design of company strategy, strategic partnerships, innovative revenue models, go-to-market strategy, transformational technology and leadership, his involvement has helped various companies achieve growth and success.
He co-founded IT Labs in 2005 and has assisted dozens of companies from startups to enterprises deliver innovation, strategy, and expansion. The goal of IT Labs is to offer technology transformation with cutting-edge solutions and innovation implemented in an agile, powerful and creative approach to problem-solving.
Representing IT Labs, he is also a Partner at Remagine Partners, a consortium brand of multiple high-performing transformational companies, offering transformational strategies for rapid growth, automation, and operational excellence. “
PICANTE Media: Let’s start with some questions about yourself, Banne. It is great to hear top entrepreneurs talking about themselves. Tell us the highlights of your life and career so far. Our readers would love to hear it.
Branislav (“Banne”) Gjorcevski: That is a great question. 🙂I think my biggest highlights were all results of my personal transformation, whether I was aware of those transformations at the time or not. Those transformative events take you into the next level of growth and result in a big milestone where opportunity meets the effort, or as people say, “I got lucky”. I was lucky enough to create one of the first online social networks, back in 1999, to help European artists present themselves to the world. That launched my career in online tech. I was lucky enough to start IT Labs in times when Web 2.0 was a big deal in California. I was lucky enough to work with amazing clients that have been with us for over a decade. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a team of amazing people that would do anything to help clients’ business. And so on…
PM: You have been a serial entrepreneur, starting from 2005 with IT Labs in 2006. What would be your one advice to the wannabe entrepreneurs?
BG: Be true to yourself about what your strong suits are and, more importantly, what your weak points are. Then find experts in the areas where you lack. Let customers lead the way, not your ‘intuition’. When you become a bigger company, then you can rely on ‘intuitive approaches’. Purpose first, services and product second. Always go the extra mile to help your market…customers will notice that and never leave you. Sleep as much as you need, not less, not more. Start with a healthy mind and spirit. That will give you the foundation for productivity.
PM: IT Labs have been offering a variety of services, ranging from technology design, app development, and consultancy services. In what ways do you think you can partner with betting and gaming companies and improve their performance?
BG: There is always room for performance improvements. Our job is to surround ourselves with great talent, internally and externally, that can solve a problem at a moment’s notice. What that means, in reality, is that every time a potential new client calls, we need to be able to quickly identify the points of improvement and immediately get on the road to a solution. On the other hand, our job to our existing clients is to be the first to notice potential performance improvements before it becomes a problem. That is a monitoring and risk mitigation value that we provide in order to support our clients’ growth and have an action plan way in advance. CFOs love us 🙂
As far as the gaming and betting industry is concerned, our biggest focus aside from catering to compliance and privacy is performance and scalability. We want to be a step ahead of the audience growth and have an infrastructure that is optimized for that growth, both from a performance and cost standpoint. Another aspect is customer experience and A/B testing. Finding the right mix of functionality, ease of use, and user journey that result in the highest stickiness factor, user loyalty and, finally, per-user-revenue. Again, CFOs love us 🙂
We always place ourselves in a fiduciary role. The services and the value that we provide will follow.
PM: Could you describe an example of a large-scale transformation that IT Labs have planned and effected in a client company?
BG: Yes. For a recent engagement, we had to design a next-gen platform for a SaaS company that caters to millions of users daily. The challenge was to design a highly scalable and flexible system that is able to perform in an auto-provisioning environment and migrate chunks of users incrementally. This new platform has to conform to a lot of compliance. The biggest challenge was to manage expectations of the client’s leadership team and their high risk around implementing the new infrastructure, not the infrastructure or the implementation itself. Sometimes change management is a much bigger task than technology, and assisting the leadership team through that process is of real value.
PM: How do you see the changing gaming and betting industry scenes in the USA? What are the threats and opportunities that you foresee in the future?
BG: Technology is getting commoditized, forcing creative approaches to become important more than ever. Purpose-driven and niche-driven business models seem to be taking the leadership role. The momentum is gained by providing a solution to an existing problem or niche market group/audience/direction. Having the USA market slowly but surely opening for online gaming and regulating that segment, gives great opportunities for bringing digital transformation and an omnichannel approach. It is great challenge for the companies to combine already well-working software for managing land base operations with new product from software providers for online gaming and all of that to be packed in a way to enable the continuance of the game from land-based to online and vice versa; and on top of that full compliance with the regulation and data protection policies. That is where I see the industry needs support and professional guidance for achieving continues growth.
PM: IT Labs seem to invest heavily in educating people and nurturing leaders. A section of IT Labs’ About Us page reads thus: “Molding Next World-Class Talent [no exaggeration]” How important the strategy has been for IT Labs’ growth?
BG: It’s the most important. We used to collectively spend more daily brainpower focusing on reaching more potential clients; but as we grew, it became clear that we needed to spend more time and energy on perfecting the process of creation and growth of talent. There is a global talent shortage that has been addressed already. We have a very strong and strict succession plan that takes a beginner to a high-quality level junior over a period of 6 months to a year, under very strict mentorship by a senior (12+ years of experience). I think we solved that problem. But that opened up our next challenge…individuals don’t produce deliverables and innovation, a team does. The next level of our focus is generating high-performing teams. Our mission is to provide high-performing, process-driven teams to organizations around the world for high-productivity and innovation.
PM: Automation is tipped to be the buzzword of the near future. What do you think about the role of automation in software/app development and content creation? How relevant will be people — the real, working people — in the future in these domains?
BG: Automation is my middle name 🙂 You can automate everything that has a pattern. However, anything that is difficult or should not be templatized will require a human touch. In every market, each company is unique and provides a different kind of value; therefore, there always will be a need for something custom made….or a human being. Some jobs will be automated but some will be created. I’ve witnessed quite a bit of automation with the rise of robotics, and the person that used to be doing that job is now monitoring that robot. And that is how it goes. Content, creative work, people-interaction, people-management, and technology management will always require a high level of a human role.
PM: Finally, do you have any big announcements to make about the company or possibly about a new venture that you are founding? Go on and break the news here!
BG: Ha! You got me there 🙂 Yes, we are considering expansion into new territories in 2020 and that is gaining momentum. Initial expansion is planned for London and NY. We’ll keep you posted!