Interview with our CEO, Sancho Lerena, in the supplement of La Razón
This post is also available in: Spanish
As our readers already know, our company Ártica ST, manufacturer of Pandora FMS among other solutions, is one of the few Spanish companies that develops its own software. In addition, in recent years, we have experienced a remarkable growth, which in this case has come to attract the attention of some mass media.
Last Sunday, the newspaper La Razón published an interview with our founder and CEO of Ártica ST, Sancho Lerena. Below you can find a transcript of the complete interview:
Seven times cheaper
Sancho Lerena produces and sells very specific software that the great technologic companies already had in their catalogues. But he, who knows the sector very well, has been able to give them his stamp, adapt them to the needs of customers and sell them seven times cheaper than the others do. Their three star products – Pandora, Integria and eHorus – are present in 33 countries, although none of them have a branch. It does so through technical “partners” who are able to explain, market,”customize”, implement and support them,”as well as asking for our assistance when they need it”. Its advantages over major competitors are twofold. One, the technical strength, which in the case of these major competitors it’s diluted outside their countries of origin. And, two, innovation. Soon, it will provide SMEs with a pay-per-use technology solution for monitoring the different technological resources and managing them remotely.
Having worked under the protection of a large Spanish multinational, there was a time when he felt his talent was going to waste and thought he could give much more of himself. He offered to design and develop his own software to monitor and optimize all the company’s technological systems. The disenchantment with the negative response turned into a decision to set up his own company. Thus, Ártica ST was born in 2005. Its founder, Sancho Lerena is a computer engineer very demanding with himself, who always wants to know more and who attracts attention for his ability to plan and his strategic vision.
When he was immersed in the process of creating Artica ST, he realized that there were gaps in his training in business management. So, he started looking for an MBA that matched his needs. And he also realized that he was missing certain social skills. And so, as bold as brass, he enrolled in a modern theatre course that “served me well”. “I always need to go beyond, to learn something new – of technology or other matter. I can’t stay still,” he says.
–Technologist or entrepreneur?
–I suppose I am a technologist who would like to be an entrepreneur when I grow up.
–Why did you leave BBVA and venture to set up a company in this sector?
–Because I knew that I could give a lot more of myself and not only they wouldn’t let me, but I convinced myself that they would never let me. I was impatient – I am still impatient, albeit a bit less – but these large corporations require to do things too discerningly and a certain type of ambition – that of power – which I do not have….
–How much does it cost to be an entrepreneur?
–Life. You have to risk everything from your private sphere to your patrimony.
–What barriers or regulations complicate the work of entrepreneurs?
–Curiously for large public administrations, the businessman exists, but not the entrepreneur, who is a nuisance. A poor man who has to break his back to survive and move in a hostile environment. When I started, the Government of Madrid had a training program for young entrepreneurs. It helped me a lot because I met an experienced businessman with enough empathy to make us see that we would fail a thousand times.
–Why did you bet on designing, developing and commercializing software like Pandora to monitor technological resources and optimize them?
–I was fortunate that my last work allowed me to detect a common problem: the big technological environments are very fragmented, and there were hardly any tools that could withstand them. And the few who were there, were foreigners, and in Spain there was no one who knew how to handle them. I saw it could be done and it wasn’t complicated, and I jumped in the pool.
– Similar products from giant companies already existed. What prompted you to stand up against several “Goliaths”?
– The “Goliaths” are usually very large in their countries. When they emerge from them their technical strength is diluted, although they maintain the commercial and financial. Precisely there, at the local level, David can compete if he has a good and precise slingshot, and knows the weaknesses of a Goliath who comes from far away. Now, we are also going to their places of origin to try to fight them. We have always been excellent in both technical assistance and production.
– What are Pandora’s differential values with respect to competitors?
– Since we started, our “modus operandi” has two legs: really listening to the client and, from a technical point of view, trying to give them what they want without spoiling the product.
– Is the technology used well in our country?
– There is room for improvement, but it’s not bad. The technology of our health services is not seen in many nearby countries. Now, I’m afraid of getting obsolete. Administrations are increasingly thinking about the short term rather than the long term. Technological efficiency can only be achieved if it is planned over time.
– Sometimes it seems that in Spain we are very focused on domestic technology and do not know how to apply it in business.
– The SME has not been able to take advantage of it. Big ones do because they have money to invest. You have to realize that technology is just what they need to position themselves better and be more competitive. One thing small and medium-sized enterprises can do is to encourage their employees to develop projects. An SME has a lot of agility, its direction and vision are unique, and the rotation of managers is practically zero.
–Innovation is essential in Ártica. Do you have any news ready?
–Yes, soon we will release a product called OPGuardian that combines the power of Pandora and eHorus. These were designed for large companies and, now, we are going to offer these remote monitoring and control capabilities as a pay-per-use service without the need for installations, licenses, equipment… Until now we weren’t able to provide an adequate service to SMEs, but that will change soon. Also, at the end of the year, we expect to launch, an artificial intelligence system applied to support processes via telematics.
–The Spanish market is not enough. What is your internationalization strategy?
–We are already present in 33 countries. Ártica’s strength lies in the fact that all commercials are technical. We’re talking to our clients on the same level. We always know very well what we’re selling. Our strategy is to have technical partners in the countries where we have the business the most- the United States, Mexico and France. In Japan, we have as a partner a company that knows how to explain, install and deploy the product for the Japanese clients. We are not going to open branches, we want to work with local teams.
And up to here the whole interview, which is also available at La Razón. We remind our readers that they can solve their doubts by leaving the comments they want below, or by consulting some of the articles of our blog about Pandora FMS. If you want more information about Ártica ST, you can visit our website at the following link https://www.artica.es/en