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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 27, 2004
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The Economy Is IT
April 27, 2004   
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Witold Staniszkis, president of management board of Rodan Systems SA, talks to Michał Jeziorski.

What is the main scope of your operations?
We are a rather unusual company in Poland since we are the first to heavily invest in basic information technologies in the area of software. Our products are known under the marketing name Office Objects. Many institutions in Poland and abroad use our products, such as document collecting and storage systems, information portals and work process management modules.

Research and development are an important part of our operations. We are firmly convinced that active participation in research is the driving force in innovative projects. This is why our development strategy covers close contacts with research circles, both in Poland and beyond. Abandoning research in this business means that after a few years IT instruments, even those with an excellent trademark, become obsolete. The largest and most prestigious projects we are involved in include European Union projects ICONS, INFOMIX and COMPONENT+. We are the coordinator of ICONS 9. These are carried out as part of the User Friendly Information Society program, which is part of the 5th EU Framework Program. The European commission has allocated over 3 million euros for these three projects, of which our company obtained 1.2 million. Applications for EU funding were filed by 71 consortia; seven received it, including Rodan Systems SA. Remarkably, the project we submitted gained the highest mark for scientific values. We are involved in FP6 as well as the partner in the integrated project ASG. We are responsible for research in workflow management sector. Rodan Systems was honored with the prestigious Crystal Prize for contribution to these projects.

Is it true that in Poland inadequate funds are allocated to R&D projects, including those in IT?
We had no problems receiving support for our European projects. It was very important to us since we were unable to shoulder these projects financially on our own.

But it's different in Poland. In general, too much taxpayers' money is spent on funding poor scientific projects and this is why we lag behind other European countries in terms of inventions applied by industry. Resources should be allocated to those areas which are the driving force of the whole economy. The state should support R&D through launching national projects oriented towards strategic areas of technological development. Involvement in research projects should be viewed as investment. Most of our research projects are successfully applied in our products. The system of supporting cooperation with the European Commission Secretariat is a good example of this.

Some believe that money from the EU is beyond Polish businesspeople because of complicated allocation criteria. What is your experience in this area?
I definitely don't agree. This is erroneous and voiced by many people to hide their intellectual shortcomings. You need to submit interesting and long-term projects. From our point of view, EU procedures are strictly defined, so they are foreseeable and impartial. These may seem complicated in a country which for years has been following patterns from the East which have nothing to do with effective management. As for PHARE projects, the intellectual value of the project is decisive in 80 percent. Proposals for research projects are rigorously reviewed by people with an academic position in specific fields. The procedures are difficult and reliable but very just. Only 10 percent of all proposals submitted are approved.

How do you view the future of the Polish IT market in the uniform European market?
In viewing the issue from a 15-year perspective of my work abroad in Italy, Canada and the United States, I believe that we have every chance to play an important role in this market. I do not fear European accession. I believe that the market will be tidied up. The companies with certified accomplishments will have a better chance of joint projects with European partners. The problem of piracy in the computer program business may be eventually resolved, although this does not apply to our products as they are used mainly by large state institutions and require tech support from the producer.

Rodan Systems SA, 465th Puławska st. 02-844 Warszawa, Poland
tel. (+48-22) 643 92 08,
fax. (+48-22) 643 92 10
e-mail: info@rodan.pl
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