Sirin Secret Of Success Is To Provide Comprehensive Software Solutions: Alex Nikitenko

By: Valerii Haidarzhy, 8 Feb 2024
10   min read
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Sirin Software is a software and hardware company based in Florida that has established its R&D center in Kyiv, Ukraine. The company specializes in providing advanced software solutions and has successfully delivered numerous projects for clients on a global scale, mainly in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Sirin’s software development experts have delivered more than 100 projects. They have 9+ years of experience in the software industry, with over 50 engineers who helped them achieve a prominent position in the list of top software development companies in Ukraine on GoodFirms. The GoodFirms’ team interviewed Sirin Software’s CEO and Founder, Mr. Alex Nikitenko, to gain insight into the company.

Let’s dive right into the interview.

Can you briefly tell us about Sirin Software and describe your primary responsibilities and role in the organization?
Considering my experience in the technical field, the fact that I worked on programming embedded systems, and in recent years, closely involved in sales, I have a combination of these two worlds – business and technical. I’ve integrated these skills into my current role, which leans more towards the business side. I manage our sales and marketing teams, engage in client negotiations, and develop tailored strategies for each product and client to ensure their needs are met effectively. My role also involves overseeing the technical project managers responsible for organizing technical teams and project execution. Essentially, I serve as a link between our company’s business and technology sectors. Another key aspect of my job is to provide strategic direction for the company’s future growth, which includes staying abreast of emerging technologies, connectivity, and hardware innovations. I focus on forecasting market trends and positioning our company to adapt and thrive in the coming years.

So, thanks to your technical background, you have the opportunity to deeply immerse yourself in the technological processes directly?
Yes. Lately, regarding the entire understanding of technical processes, I rarely engage in this myself. Mostly, I just delegate it to my project managers and the technical leaders of the teams. However, I still have the necessary technical skills to supervise and control the detailed indicators of project development.

What is the business model of Sirin Software? Is the main strength your internal team, or do you also engage external performers and outsourcing services?
Our service-oriented business model focuses on providing specialized services rather than marketing our products. We primarily fulfill our engineering and skill requirements with our in-house team, ensuring that we have full control over the quality and delivery of our services. While we usually handle projects internally, we transfer all intellectual property rights to our clients after project completion. On rare occasions, for highly specialized tasks such as very specific technologies or specific design and production challenges, we collaborate with trusted external experts. However, these instances are the exception rather than the norm because we have a wide range of expertise in our team.

How does Sirin Software stand out from competitors in the software and hardware development field?
Our priority is focusing on embedded systems and IoT, meaning we rarely take projects that are not directly related to this. We are strong in this industry and position ourselves purely as an embedded and IoT company. We don’t do SaaS, we don’t do mobile, or, more precisely, we don’t position ourselves as a company that does and can do everything. Because managing such a diverse array of services requires either a very large company or presents significant management challenges. Our approach allows us to provide a wide range of projects to the engineers who work with us, and thereby attract the best talent in the market because the experts know that we work with the leading technologies, we have an extensive portfolio of projects, and the specialists always have the opportunity to try themselves and expand their knowledge. As a result, professionals joining Sirin Software clearly understand their roles and the directions they will be involved in. They are guaranteed to work in a focused environment where their skills can be honed and maximized.

What inspired the creation of Sirin Software, and what were the main challenges you encountered in the early stages of the company’s operation?
My journey to founding Sirin Software began with my experiences as an engineer in several large companies. During this time, I discovered my affinity for client interaction and project management. I found myself drawn not only to the technical aspects of coding and problem-solving but also to understanding the intricacies of business needs, product-specific challenges, and devising solutions to address these pain points. This realization sparked the idea for Sirin Software – a venture where I could blend technical expertise with a deeper understanding of client needs.
Working in large corporate settings exposed me to the inefficient use of engineering resources. This insight led me to believe that a more streamlined, focused approach could yield better results. Thus, when I established my company, I was driven by the desire to implement these principles, shifting away from a purely technical workflow to one where I could have a more holistic impact on the projects.
One of the significant hurdles we faced in the early stages was securing a large, long-term project that required a substantial team. Initially, our projects were short-term, spanning only a few months. The real challenge was to attract a major client whose project would not only demand a larger team but also enable us to invest in marketing and business development. This step was similar to the challenge of finding a first job without a substantial portfolio – it was about proving our capabilities and potential to handle larger, more complex projects.

Which sectors does Sirin Software primarily serve, and how does it tailor its services for these industries?
Regarding industries in general, our main clients are in consumer electronics, semiconductors, and telecom, as well as emerging smart technologies in areas like smart cities, smart buildings, and industrial automation. While these are our core markets, we also cater to diverse industries, particularly with the rising demand for artificial intelligence solutions primarily focusing on embedded vision projects.
We proactively adapt to the evolving market needs. Our strategy involves staying ahead of industry trends and investing in research to anticipate future requirements. By developing our expertise through internal projects, we ensure that we are prepared to meet the demands of new sectors as they arise. This forward-thinking approach allows us to effectively respond to emerging opportunities and offer expert solutions and services to various industries.

What percentage of your clients return? How does Sirin Software maintain long-term relationships with its clients?
Our approach with most clients involves a comprehensive journey from the initial concept stage to the final product support in the market. This includes working on everything from prototype development to preparation for mass production.
Sometimes, we step in at a later stage, for instance, when a client has a basic prototype that needs refining and preparing for mass production. Our commitment is to be with our clients at every step, regardless of the project phase at which we begin our collaboration.
As for the exact percentage of returning clients, it depends on various projects and their directions. Our focus is mostly on long-term projects, often working with the same clients for over a year and sometimes even more than seven years. It’s crucial to note that these clients usually undertake multiple projects with us. Once we complete a project, they often approach us for another one, which indicates their return and trust in our services. They choose to stay with us instead of moving to other companies or competitors. Physically, it may be the same company, but the products we developed for them can be very different.
We carefully track the development of our clients based on the information they publish about themselves in the public domain and see if there are cases where our clients choose another company besides ours for the implementation of their next project. And I can’t recall a single case where we saw that our client turned to another company, in which we have expertise, to implement the next project.

Which Sirin Software services are in the highest demand and frequently requested by clients?
Our most in-demand service is embedded software development, which encompasses various aspects. This includes creating userspace applications or kernel modules for Linux systems, firmware for devices, and development for microcontrollers. Essentially, all these services fall into the broader category of firmware development.

Do clients approach you to modify existing devices to meet their specific needs?
Indeed, that’s a common scenario. Often, clients come to us with just a concept, needing a tangible hardware component or a fully fleshed-out project. In such cases, we handle the entire development process, from the PCB to the firmware and drivers. More frequently, however, clients bring us hardware they have already developed, either fully or partially, and seek our expertise in either writing the appropriate software or further developing the PCB and its software. The majority of our requests involve clients needing software written for pre-existing hardware.

How do you evaluate the level of client satisfaction at Sirin Software? What measures does the company take to meet the needs and requirements of clients?
Both during the project and after its completion, we conduct quality control of our services, and based on the results we have, the level of satisfaction of our clients is 95+ points out of 100. We constantly evaluate the quality of services we provide throughout the entire path of cooperation.

Can you describe how Sirin Software handles client requests and resolves issues?
Our project managers are chiefly responsible for this. Their main task is to bridge the gap between the technical language of our specialists and the client’s needs. Often, technical experts may propose ideal solutions that don’t align perfectly with the client’s immediate requirements, which might, for example, prioritize speed over perfection.

What typical payment structure does Sirin Software use for client billing?
We tailor an individual work plan for each client, considering factors like team structure, personnel, specific roles, and the project’s various phases. Based on this, we estimate the overall budget and project duration, agreeing on these with the client before proceeding. Usually, our projects are too functionally extensive to account for all the nuances that can affect the project’s cost and especially new client needs that may arise during the project’s implementation. Like in the example of building construction, it’s impossible to predict the price of everything down to each nail, but of course, it’s possible to predict key points, their implementation deadlines, and a preliminary cost, and to forecast that we will not exceed certain specific limits in any area. Payment is made in stages, usually tied to a month of the team’s work.

Does Sirin Software have a basic budget threshold for accepting new projects? If so, what is this minimum budget, or what was your smallest project budget?
One of the short-term projects was completed for $10,000.

Could you outline the range of project budgets Sirin Software has worked with in the past year?
Over the past year, our project budgets have varied widely, ranging from as low as $10,000 to several million dollars. While it’s challenging to provide a final figure for projects spanning multiple years, this has been the typical budget range for those initiated within a single year.

How do you see the future of Sirin Software in ten years? Considering future technological changes and market shifts, how do you plan to adapt and evolve?
As always, we will keep up with all the latest technologies appearing in the market, for example, processors released by the major market players and solutions that can be built on these technologies in the future. We will always be trendy and will have expertise with SDKs of these processors, released and to be released for embedded system developers, such as RISC-V and ARM, which will allow us to continue creating specialized solutions for our clients. And I see the company’s future as a certified design partner of major manufacturers of these solutions. I understand that being an official developer – a trusted partner of companies that release such chips or solutions – is one of the highest achievements. Currently, we are proud to work with leaders such as Infineon, SiFive, and Microsoft.

Considering the growing threat of cyber attacks, what strategies and measures does Sirin Software employ to ensure the security and integrity of your products and services?
Our approach to security involves utilizing services from reputable and trusted companies. We actively use cloud services for storing source codes and managing documentation, capitalizing on their robust security mechanisms. We always adhere to best practices and strict policies in using these tools to ensure the highest level of security and integrity. Important project files are securely backed up, not stored locally, to provide enhanced protection against data breaches and cyber threats.

What impact do cloud computing and IoT solutions have on various industries, and what role does Sirin Software play in facilitating this transformation?
It’s hard to imagine businesses that don’t integrate these solutions into their own projects, and our task is to help and offer the best, ideally the best and cheapest solutions, most optimal for our clients’ needs. Sometimes, it can be a combination of several different services, it can also be a combination of some ready-made service with some custom solution that we specially developed for our client.

How important do you consider the implementation of AI in modern business processes, and can you provide examples of how Sirin Software integrates AI into its solutions for clients?
We are already implementing AI in our solutions, such as AI-powered software extensions or high-speed intrusion detection systems, which can be found on our website portfolio page. Plus, we have clients whose product value is precisely artificial intelligence and its development. In our internal work, we actively use AI neural networks, such as Chat GPT, for analytics, marketing, and even code documentation. From an engineering task perspective, it’s computer vision, where we are currently conducting our internal projects. We see this direction moving towards decision-making on the side of embedded devices. We are implementing our own research thanks to the fact that we currently have sufficient capacity for such research.
As the CEO of Sirin Software, what is your approach to leadership and building a positive company culture, and how do these aspects contribute to the company’s success?
I adhere to an approach called ‘leadership by example.’ For instance, if I notice engineers struggling with choosing a strategy, I get directly involved, applying my engineering background to guide them. I often share insights based on my own experiences, highlighting why specific methods are more effective than others, especially drawing from past challenges where different approaches didn’t yield the desired results.
I strongly emphasize communication, which is vital not just in client interactions but within our internal teams as well. Effective communication is important because technical teams often focus on solving tasks without realizing the client or project manager might prioritize different aspects, like understanding the project’s current stage. Timely intervention and providing status updates can be more critical than waiting for a complete solution. This focus on clear, continuous communication is fundamental in today’s business environment and essential for efficient workflow and process development.

Are there any recent innovative projects or products developed or currently being developed by Sirin Software? Can you share details about these projects?
We have many projects that we can call innovative. But I can highlight our contribution to the RISC-V ecosystem through the development of software SDKs for one of the leading RISC-V processor developers. Very few companies have the same experience and expertise as ours in this direction. More and more companies are discovering this processor architecture for themselves, and we believe it has a bright future. We are glad that we were able to contribute to the development of SDKs for one of the RISC-V solution vendors.

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