Plamen Nakov Talks to Economy.bg About His Career Path and How He Established DSS

6 Apr 2023 / 5 min. read

Plamen Nakov Talks to Economy.bg About His Career Path and How He Established DSS

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Within the column "The IT leaders in Bulgaria", our Managing Director and Founder of Digital and Software Solutions, Plamen Nakov, shares his inspiring journey to success. Read the full interview to find out about his educational background, early career, and the process of establishing the company. Explore the challenges he faced, his current duties and sources of inspiration, and whether he would alter any decisions if allowed to travel back in time.

Education and choices

Plamen holds a Bachelor's and Master's in Computer and Software Engineering from the Technical University of Sofia. He is currently a PhD student specialising in "Automated information processing and management systems" in the professional field of "Communication and Computer Technology" at TU-Sofia. He values his education for the wide-ranging knowledge it provides while allowing him to choose the subjects that piqued his interest, thereby developing skills still relevant to him today. In addition, he acknowledges the importance of creating a network of like-minded individuals across various university communities, which can offer a significant career boost. Finally, education has honed his ability to analyse and synthesise large amounts of information into essential components necessary to accomplish challenging objectives. Plamen wouldn't change his education or major and says: “Thanks to my educational choices, I've reached the professional and personal development I have now, and I'm happy with that. I have gained the necessary knowledge to pursue my goals and dreams.

Early career and memories

During his initial internship, he worked on process control and improving Service Desk efficiency, where he was introduced to ITIL, as well as IT and business process management systems like ServiceNow, BMC, and SAP. Following this, he joined a team focused on process automation and was responsible for implementing ServiceNow in one of the most recognisable companies in the world. This accomplishment was a significant turning point in his career since ServiceNow continues to be an integral platform utilised by DSS and its clients and partners.

Plamen considers all of his memories significant since they have contributed to his personal and leadership growth. However, he particularly cherishes the memories of tackling challenges and resolving business problems. One of the most notable challenges he faced was managing the firm's most significant project, which DSS undertook with great responsibility due to its societal importance. "Through this project, we've developed a platform that is now utilised by a quarter of society, causing polarising opinions towards it. This extensive project was something we had not previously encountered, requiring quick adaptation to a new work methodology. Although we faced internal errors, these mistakes enabled us to advance as an organisation, grow from a small team of 10-15 employees to over 55, and implement more efficient procedures." Plamen acknowledges that new challenges will arise with increased personnel and process management, but DSS is well-equipped to confront them, thanks to the lessons learned.

Founding DSS and first projects

When asked about the foundation of DSS, Plamen looked back six years ago when he decided this was the appropriate moment to take a risk. Rather than solely aiming to increase his earnings as a freelance developer by leaving his current company, he aspired to build a team where he could empower people to develop and achieve results, following the values and understandings they defined. Shortly after, he convinced two of his university colleagues to join him in this pursuit, and they began with ServiceNow implementations. Soon after, they were given the opportunity to create a web solution - a Remote Assessment Tool for Bulgarian Schools - which facilitated the country's first entirely digital examination in Informatics. The three of them worked collaboratively to rapidly develop a sustainable platform, which is still used today for international students' entry exams at public universities.

DSS values and employees

Plamen also talks about the employees DSS wants to attract. "Our organisation aims to attract accountable individuals who take the initiative. We are not a micromanaging entity that scrutinises every move of our employees. Instead, we seek independent individuals who pursue their objectives and are responsible for the assigned tasks. For us to progress as a team, everyone must also move forward. The growth power will remain stagnant if only the leader or manager is proactive. However, if everyone is responsible for their tasks, the power will grow exponentially."

One of his significant challenges is altering his perspective for the team's sake. He acknowledges that every individual has their own perceptions, and as a manager, it is effortless to impose personal opinions. However, he strives to listen to every voice and explore every situation to create a vision based on the general setting rather than his individual preferences.

Furthermore, the current staffing market presents a challenge due to the industry's high turnover rate and lack of qualified staff. However, this is a global issue for businesses in general. At DSS, we are addressing this problem by creating a flexible work environment where individuals feel valued and heard and by providing competitive terms and a lot of perks and benefits.

Future of IT in Bulgaria

To conclude the interview, Plamen speaks about the development of the IT industry in Bulgaria in the coming years. It will experience significant growth in the coming years, with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning being trendy focus areas. "The sector is making substantial investments in these fields, and we at DSS are no exception. We are advancing in this direction by enhancing our current solution for processing and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) of images of national and international ID documents.

On the other hand, ChatGPT serves as an excellent illustration of the path towards which the IT industry is headed - automation and the use of artificial intelligence to carry out repetitive and mundane tasks traditionally done by humans globally.

Bulgaria is rapidly developing, with companies investing in improving their teams and contributing to society through education and partnerships with community organisations, universities, and schools. We share this belief and have invested in building a modern computer lab at the Technical University of Sofia, where we participate in the teaching process. STEM teaching laboratories are also a crucial focus for us and the state to prepare the next generation of business leaders in Bulgaria. 

Thanks to Economy.bg for the opportunity and to Plamen for sharing his knowledge and insights! 

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