Interview of Asen Georgiev, General Manager, HP Inc. Bulgaria for Capital Weekly, Issue 2, January 11, 2019
How has the business development for HP Inc. in Bulgaria been going and what are your expectations for the sector in the next few years?
The last few years were pretty interesting and full of challenges for the tech industry. Thanks to dynamic development of technologies we successfully became more flexible and easily adaptable, so we can provide adequate decisions for our customers that would help their business. We are developing successful innovation products and solutions, and in the last few years we released one of the best looking devices with the best performance. That helped us grow faster, and in 2017 HP Inc. acquired Samsungs’ print business. This acquisition solidified our leading position on the market, not only locally, but on an international level.
Over the past few years we proved the quality and position of HP’s Center for outsource services. Today with more than 570 employees in Sofia, we are managing fundamental processes and services for clients from the whole EMEA region.
We are all witnessing the dynamic changes in the world over the past few years. The way we work is changing as well. That’s the reason why our main challenge and priority for the company’s development is designing a products that respond to the needs of the Office of the Future – to be the most innovative in the world, and to respond to dynamic work environment and the way that young people work. Of course, we integrate them in our offices first.
You are in HP since 2006. In your opinion what made the company successful through all these years in a competitive sector like hardware?
HP is a company that believes in innovations and constant development. The change of the company and its products has been the main priority in the last 77 years. I personally believe that this tradition will continue. The vision of HP is to produce technologies that make life better for everyone, everywhere and to lead innovations and be a leader in innovations for the technology market.
Over the last year the company announced products with the best characteristics in their class such as the lightest business notebook, the thinnest laptop, the smallest AiO device and so many others. All of them are a result of our commitment to meet the needs of our customers for a fulfilling experience.
The dynamics of the market, business and user needs do not leave time for a break. This is why we are updating our portfolio constantly. This week during CES in Las Vegas HP announced the world’s first monitor with Quantum Dot technology; the world’s first AiO devices with integrated Private screen function, and also OMEN X Emperium 65 with integrated SoundBar that lifts gaming to new heights.
How did you manage to reach a team of over 500 people here? What are your impressions of the Bulgarian labor market?
At HP Inc. Bulgaria we believe in the power of ideas. We are looking for visionaries that have a desire to change the way the world works. We know that people are the most important component to success. We give young people opportunities to build the future of technologies together. We are trying to build the labor market together – collaborating with businesses in Bulgaria – as we are mentoring successful internship programs and helping young people in their career orientation via career forums and other platforms. We are giving a opportunity to everyone that wants to take a peek behind the company’s doors via various initiatives. HP is continuously striving to stimulate and provoke the entrepreneur spirit of its employees on local and international level. We believe deeply that employees which have an opportunity to reveal their entrepreneur side are more involved with our work and goals.
Our company culture is based on the continuous improvement, so it is important to us to provide our employees continuous opportunities for training and additional qualification. This way we are training them for the ever-changing industry dynamics and we are creating more opportunities to improve the level of services that we offer to our customers.
And last but not least, we believe in young people’s ideas. Every year we offer a chance for more and more young people to participate in our internship program and start their career with us. Only for the past year, we significantly increased the number of candidates that have been involved with the program. We also increased the number of participants in the program which stayed in the company after the program on permanent positions by 50%. Honestly, I can share from personal experience that HP’s internship program is not useful only to youngsters that have an opportunity to see the work environment and relationships in a big international company like HP Inc. It is also extremely useful for us, the managers of the company, because it helps us stay up to date. It gives us a lot of new ideas and valuable information, about what the customers and employees of the future, are going to be. Their needs, wishes and priorities.
What were the main challenges when recruiting such a big team?
I would summarize, that the biggest challenge was for us to realize that the modern world is here and the recruitment process is not a corporate process anymore. It transformed into daily activities, a living organism, that needs everyday care. Our teams, especially in our sector, are constantly evolving, there are new positions and new challenges every day. We are constantly striving to open more and more new positions in Bulgaria and I can boldly say that as of specialists, Bulgaria is quite the competitive location and has a huge potential.
Which are the main trends that are going to dictate the hardware sector in the next years?
At the moment, we are witnessing the digital industrial revolution, which will change the rules of the business and HP Inc is contributing to this revolution. We are one of the first companies, that offered a 3D printing for parts of different polymers and from 2018, we are already proposing innovative 3D technology for metal printing. The possibilities in this industry are enormous – the new platforms for 3D printing of HP are increasing the speed, quality and efficiency, and gives our customers the opportunity to transform the way they are projecting, manufacturing and presenting new solutions in the digital era.
The global changes that are happening right now, are transforming the technology market not only in the world, but in Bulgaria as well. More and more people are moving towards the big towns, while forming the so called megacities. The urbanization is not only changing the population but also the consumer’s habits. The way people are shopping, the places that they are shopping from, how they are buying and consuming is changing. According to studies, by the same time of 2030, one third of the world population will be at the age of 65 years or more. This imposes innovations in the healthcare, digitalization and robotics sectors. In the same time the line between the professional and personal life in getting thinner. Everything is connected – from the technology and the people to the industry and the society – in one common digital ecosystem. The constant race for change and innovations is transforming in a fundamental way the world economics and industry and also the daily routine of the people. Everything that HP does is a consequence of these trends and changes in a world scale, while striving to change the life of the people.
Tell us one hard decision you had to make in your own career. How did you handle it?
I perceive the difficulties as challenges and already as part of the business routine. Every day we are facing hard challenges, which require hard decisions and reacting in a uncommon environment, but this is part of the dynamic setting of the highly competitive market. I also think that the challenges are your best teacher, because everything you and your team overcome is a vital part of what helped us become, what we are today. Exactly these challenges are what keeps us going forward.
If you can go back in time, would you change anything in your career?
The way I went through, gave me valuable experience. Different situations I ended up with in my career path – every one of them made me learn to look for solutions, sometimes traditional, sometimes not so much, but the most importantly it that, they taught me how to help people develop themselves. The most important qualities are developing, on the base of my participation in different projects and the gaining of personal experience in new arenas, which are gradually building the leader skills.
In your opinion, does one manager needs a business education, to be good at his job?
I truly believe in the constant development, learning and expanding the horizon of the specialization. I personally have technical education, which I am using to build upon different areas. This gives the opportunity to look from a different and innovative prospective, on the business processes and cases and to become much more successful and adequate. We are living in a dynamic world and I think that every manager must always keep educating and learning new things.
How do you reach work-life balance?
With the years I have learned that this balance is vital, to reach successes in your personal and working plans. Without this valuable balance, a person can easily loose his focus on objectives – in our business and personal life.
What kind of devices are you using professionally in your free time?
In our current time, our personal and professional life are merging. The modern phone and thin laptop gives me the opportunity to be mobile, always informed and productive.
Do you have a favorite business reading – media or books?
“Capital”, Bloomberg, The Economist, The Verge, Wired – the knowledge and the ability to track the business and technological world helps my job. I am learning from the successful stories of the famous people in the business and technological world, and not only. The interlacing of the life experience into professional aims and the way towards the successful results is an interesting phenomenon for analysis.
Do you have a hobby?
I like to break away from my daily routine and work setting, to give myself a short break, which I can use to restart my consciousness, to look at my aims and aspirations from a fresh and clear sight. That’s why I love the mountain and the wild nature and I am trying to spend my time with my family in the mountains. But I always stay connected.
Asen Georgiev is the General Manager of HP Inc.Bulgaria. He joined the Hewlett-Packard Bulgaria in 2006 and has experience in different managing and sales related positions in the company. Before being promoted to General manager, he was a Sales director of the “Personal System and Print Solutions department of Hewlett-Packard Bulgaria. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer systems and technologies from the Technical University of Sofia and a Master’s degree in Marketing from the University of national and world economy.
HP Inc. is an American multinational company based in Paolo Alto, California. It is a PC, print, supplies, and 3D print solutions provider. The group was formed at the end of 2015, after the original Hewlett-Packard company was divided in two – HP Inc. (focused on hardware and services) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (Business IT solutions and services). HP Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In Bulgaria the company functions as “HP Inc. Bulgaria. Its revenues became 41 milion lv. in 2017, and it has more than 570 employees.