UFG: THE TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE BEYOND THE TIME
High technologies sector has always been in the UFG focus as a key area for investment. Openness and perceptiveness to new ideas and innovations comprise a principal feature of the UFG corporate culture. Our company is always in a constant search of new progressive technologies in order to provide, first of all, national scientists, engineers and producers, and thus to enable them to reach the uptime technology level and produce their own internationally competitive goods and services, or even ones, that have no analogues, ones, that outrun the time. Moreover, UFG involves a huge number of experts, groups, companies, that operate in different sectors of Ukrainian economy, providing its services and helping its clients reach the highest international standards and experience the real top level by getting into “the same bout” with the leading companies, with a purpose to gain experience, accumulate energy and resources for own growth and development.
Ukrainian Financial Group has always contributed to the development and strengthening of our state, overcoming of economic crises, increase of the productivity and quality of goods and services, helping them to gain firm positions on international market. A strategic priority here is to join the “club of the best modern technologies”, that will give an opportunity to reach the living and labour standards of the developed countries.
These approaches are especially noticeable in the activity of Computer Group UKRAINA, founded by UFG Ukrainian-American joint venture, official distributor of products and technologies of Compaq Computer, Computer Vision and Sun Microsystems in Ukraine.
FROM SPACE TO THE GREAT OCEANS
Interview with Mr. O. GHRITSOV - the director general of Ukrainian-American joint venture, Computer Group UKRAINA.
- Alexander Nikolaevych, many still remember a brilliant start of your company. I have looked through the papers and magazines of 1993-1994 and found lots of publications about the participation of Computer Group UKRAINA (CGU) in the first two Ukrainian exhibitions - “Information and connection”. And in every case, your ideas and propositions caused a sensation and were regarded as something incredible and unbelievable. The technologies and equipment by SUN MICROSYSTEMS and COMPAQ COMPUTER that you exhibited, made an especially big stir in Ukraine. A public excitement was so considerable, that one of newspapers published such a remark: on the last day of the exhibition, the director general of Computer Group UKRAINA could hardly squeeze himself through the crowd in order to get to his displays…
- Taking into consideration that time, the interest that you have mentioned, is completely understandable. At the beginning of 1990-s Ukraine was suffering from the consequences of its isolation from the best western technologies and computer techniques, placed under embargo by the USSR Coordinating Committee. That is why on the mentioned exhibitions a majority of visitors were able to see and even to touch the things that seemed to be a dream for them. Moreover, a combination of the technologies by SUN MICROSYSTEMS with the products of other companies, seemed to be a matter of an urgent importance. The thing is that electronic networks based on this unique combination, were able to embrace the whole variety of technologies and equipment of Ukrainian users and to make it work even more effectively.
Psychology and prestige also played a great role. SUN MICROSYSTEMS is known to have the most solid and highly respectable customers in the developed countries, including Presidential Administration, Ministries and government agencies, scientific, military and space agencies, banks, universities, aircraft-, shipbuilding and telecommunication companies etc. And of course, when these technologies became available for Ukrainian entrepreneurs, industrialists and scientists, they could not resist the temptation to get into “the same bout “ with the international elite.
- I remember many publishers wrote about that. Here is a typical comment from Golos Ukraini – a State Publishing House of Ukraine: “SUN MICROSYSTEMS finally brought real opportunity to get into the world of advanced western technologies, and thus to develop strategic sectors of Ukrainian economy. It is a unique opportunity to make a national outdated computer park work in accordance with modern technological standards. Its successful implementation, first of all, in machine-building, electronic engineering, chemical industry, banking, insurance, investment, business, science, education and telecommunications etc, will for sure cause an upsurge of economic activity.” Similar compliments were addressed to another leader in the world of technology – COMPAQ COMPUTER…
- I would like to make this message more precise. At the beginning of 1993 SUN and COMPAQ gave way before their business competitors, but the strategy, ideology and priorities they chose, were the reason to expect their indisputable leadership in a long-term outlook. Our expectations came true … And there for, our clients were grateful to us for this guidance, because even now the problem of making the right choice in a giant computer market, remains still urgent. I will touch wood - yet, we have never failed with such prognoses and recommendations!
- I suppose that your clients were also interested in other things. Here is one more reference from a newspaper of that time: “The biography of SUN is one of the most exciting in the history of Western business. It took the company only 10 years to become a member of the elite group of 150 the most powerful American corporations-billionaires, according to FORTUNE official ratings. In 1992 the company’s annual capital turnover was worth over US$ 10,5 billion; it became the second largest exporter in the USA. Thus we obtained a chance to “export” not only Sun’s technologies, but the company’s rapid growth. It is always great to be a part of such a success, that touched to the raw even traditionally restrained scientists and businessmen and made them give such emotional references.
- Human element is always very important. And it was worth admiring. SUN is not simply one of the largest computer technologies producers (Let me remind you, that in 1993 its exports reached ½ of the world export of UNIX-systems). The company made a real revolution on the market of electronics by launching a principally new strategy, which was later supported by all other electronic computer producers; it created open computer systems, a wide range of the SPARC/UNIX based technology, launched an effective investor protection system on every stage of the project, etc. The SUN MICROSYSTEMS’ innovations became a leading tendency in the world of electronics.
As to COMPAQ, it still has no equal among producers and sellers of personal computers (PS), servers; it determines key tendencies of the computer technologies’ development at the beginning of the 3rd millennium. COMPAQ, as well as SUN MICROSYSTEMS, brought great changes to the field of technology and management, which gave the company a unique opportunity to cut down the prices and to be the first to give a 3 year guarantee on its products, etc. All these made COMPAQ an indisputable leader on the international market of electronics.
So, one should agree, that for our compatriots, who are just entering this market and trying to assimilate the fundamentals of business, such examples of a genuine success are especially important and valuable.
- I wonder how was your group organized?
- Actually, the experts from GLUSHKOV Institute of Cybernetics (SKB) and KVANT – a scientific and industrial association, formed the core of Computer Group UKRAINA. Even at the beginning of their activity within the Group, they already had a unique for Ukraine, scientific and technical potential in the field of computer software and technology, in particular – special computer equipment, electronic systems of a special function. It gave us an opportunity to offer the services of a new quality, standards and range. As a matter of fact, it became possible to receive the whole complex of the best products of a modern technology market, being a client of the only one company. We offered our clients a conceptual project planning, after-sales services, advisory services and etc., that used to be available only to foreign consumers at that time. For many it seemed a bit unusual, that Computer Group UKRAINA has always stood by its partners, supported them and even at the times of trouble, continued to provide services in order to stabilize the functioning of the whole complex of provided equipment, renovating it in accordance with further technological development.
I would like to underline, that we provide services in compliance with the firms-manufacturers’ highest standards. The reliability, technological perfection, easiness and convenience in use, available prices, great service and support made our products and services especially attractive for many Ukrainians.
Moreover, I would like to notice, that besides information technologies are means of a successful business conduction or scientific and research works, they are also regarded as an important sphere of national interests. We always co-operate with many state institutions. For instance, in 1994 we supplied Ukrainian President’s Administration, Ministries and government agencies, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, State Tax Administration of Ukraine, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) etc. with advanced electronic equipment.
Our company acted as a system integrator for industrial enterprises of Ukraine, that were interested in electronic designing technologies. Computer Group UKRAINA signed an agreement on co-operation with PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION (PTC), well-known American company and one of the largest world producers of integrated systems of automated designing and automated management of engineering data of enterprises. The company’s clients included and still include: NASA, Boeing, Airbus Industries, Lockhead, General Electric, Hughes Electronic Company, Rolls Royce, TRW, Litton Industries, Swales Aerospace, Siemens AG…
- If to make an analogy with Alpinism (mountain climbing), it is the highest level - these companies can be called “Everests” in business, industry, science and etc…
- I guess the analogy is right, here we can speak even about “higher altitudes”. In fact, our company co-operates with YUZHNOYE DESIGN BUREAU and other organisations under the shelter of National Space Agency of Ukraine. In particular YUZHNOYE DESIGN BUREAU has an affective computer-aided designing system (SAPR), created on the basis of SUN and COMPAQ computer technology and CADDS 5 (PTC) software, which is now being updated and expanded. Moreover, the computation system of the ballistic centre of the Ukrainian satellite SICH-1 control centre is based on SUN technologies, provided by Computer Group UKRAINA. We also provided technological equipment and assistance in its installation for YUZHNOYE DESIGN BUREAU computer network. Thus we were widely involved in National Space Program and in particular, we provided hardware for the first Ukrainian satellite, since gaining Independence.
Some “land-based” projects of Computer Group UKRAINA are not of the less importance. For instance, our co-operation with Malyshev Plant. The creation of SAPR technological complex at this unique state enterprise was a real test of technical and professional potential for the Group’s people. We delivered and provided installation of SUN and COMPAQ computer technology, CADDS 5 and Pro/ERNGINEER (PTC) software; trained the Plant’s personnel to work with advanced software; and we still participate in the improvement and development of this complex… According to the references, such an assistance has already given the desired effect.
- We are also interested in your partners’ opinion about the above mentioned co-operation. Let me give examples of some references:
V. GILENKO – a vice-chairman of YUZHNOYE DESIGN BUREAU: “ We signed an agreement on co-operation with Computer Group UKRAINA in 1995. During our co-operation, I and my colleagues at Malyshev Plant saw, that we have found a competent and reliable advisor on information technologies issues, provider and system integrator of advanced computer engineering and electronic computer-aided designing. And moreover, - an eminently qualified partner for implementation of common projects within the framework of National Space Program of Ukraine. ”
V. RAYKOV – a constructor general of Malyshev Plant: “ We have been cooperating with Computer Group UKRAINA (CGU) for a long time, and are certain, that we have made a right choice, when decided to co-operate and use its services. We highly appreciate this Group for the reliability and high professionalism of its people, firm commitment to own obligations and the client’s needs. Thanks to CGU we receive best services and only up-to-date products, that really deserve to be called “a progressive technology of the 3rd millennium”. Due to our successful co-operation we managed to lessen the project-designing term, to improve considerably the quality of works. As our enterprise directs efforts to a severe competition on the international market, such quality and time reserves are very important for us...”
- Thank you for such good references. But I must notice, that speaking about science-intensive scopes of high-capacity computation systems, one can not, but say about SUN and remember its research into physical state of the Earth, related to geophysical monitoring and soil and minerals exploration. Ukraine is not an exception. We are glad to be involved in such solid initiatives. For example, we co-operate with Ukrainian Geophysical institute (Ukrgeophysica), which uses SUN computer equipment, supplied by CGU for examination of the Black sea and the sea of Azov shelves, search of minerals, in particular – oil.
CGU clients, provided with computer equipment, in particular, computation systems, include Geophysical Fund of Ukraine, the National Space Agency’s entity- Priroda, Ukrainian Subotin Institute of Geophysics, Science and Research Institute of Radio engineering in Kharkiv and other well-known science and research institutions. Moreover, our company became a supplier of the Head supervising center of National Space Agency of Ukraine, which is widely involved within the framework of National seismic inspection system and provides a twenty-four-hour monitoring of geophysical state of the planet, with a help of radio, seismic, acoustic, magnetic and radionuclid methods. The mentioned center constantly informs a state analysis system on force-majeure issues. Moreover, the Head supervising center of National Space Agency of Ukraine is a national data center of international monitoring system in the context of Agreement on Universal prohibition of nuclear tests.
- I see, that now we are talking not only about the space aspect of research, but also about the avoidance of global threats for humanity. This aspect is for sure of a critical importance, but I suppose, that the problems, solved within “internal projects” are not less important. Your marketing specialists told me, that CGU maintains business ties with Kharkiv Science and Research Institute of Radio engineering, Soyuz, NPO Orbita, Dniprocosmos, UMC, Ukrzaliznitsia (National railway lines network), Ukrainian financial institutions, such as: Ukrsotsbank, representative offices of many western banks, in particular, EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT, CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON BANK; and companies: General Electric, KPMG, Ericsson etc. By the way, how do you manage to have such substantial and prestigious clients? Moreover, in many cases it is a long-term co-operation…
- I can not give you an unambiguous answer for such a general questions, because there are different factors in every single case. But I have already reveled our “trump cards”: a unique skill level of CGU people, high level of responsibility and reliability, individual approach to every client, based on precise understanding and maximum consideration of individual specifics, requirements and needs; the commitment to client success is our top priority. Our long-term-cooperation-oriented strategy, envisages the whole complex of methods and means, based on advanced computer technologies.
Our clients note the uniqueness of practice and philosophy of our co-operation. I have already mentioned, that we will never become just equipment and technology suppliers, indifferent to individual specifics and needs of our clients. No matter how paradoxically it may sound, but we regard sale, not as a final result, but as just a beginning of further long-term co-operation with a client. We do our best to provide our compatriots with the latest achievements of science and engineering in a world of technology.
Do not be surprised, but we know our clients by faces, and usually they are quite experienced people. The present-day market of electronics is overcrowded with various goods and services. And many of Ukrainian industrials, entrepreneurs, scientists and state employees “fall for the bait” and can not resist the temptation to forget their needs in high-performance computer equipment and information technology in order to pay less. But later, they begin to understand as they say: that “we are not so rich to buy useless things”, begin to cherish and appreciate the level of our services and become customers of Computer Group Ukraine.
By the way, we never hurry our clients to make a choice and that is why, often meet him for a month, year or even more before signing an agreement. Together with our clients, we deal with technological problems, trying to find the best way out and to make effective decisions. An agreement with Malyshev Plant and YUZHNOYE DESIGN BUREAU, for instance, we signed after a year of such a preliminary co-operation.
I like the formulation, derived by the marketing specialists of SUN: “a perspective market is not where producers advertise their goods, but where consumers list their problems and experts offer the solutions”. And now we are certain, that truly relevant, reliable and long-term relations with a client occur under such preconditions. And to make a conclusion, I would like to underline our firm commitment to our client success, and to promise that CGU will do its best to meet their needs and demands.