Vladimir Fedin: “I always strive to build a team where everyone understands and feels valued.”
Given the challenging market conditions and technological developments, companies need strong, talented, and enterprising professionals, especially in management positions. Vladimir Fedin, IT Director of the Invitro Group of Companies, is a shining example of diligence, activity, and purposefulness. His successful solutions and developments have brought him professional recognition in the industry and a considerable contribution to the company’s growth in the market.
TB: Vladimir, how did you start your career?
Vladimir Fedin: Before joining the Invitro Group in 2012, I had little experience working exclusively in entry-level positions, but my primary career growth and path was within our company. I came to the company as a specialist in information security. This area required a significant overhaul since there were several common problems: cryptojackers, breaches, constant attacks, etc. Moreover, security was originally the responsibility of the system administrators, so my experience and knowledge proved very useful right from the start.
Globally, my work began with building the foundation of the information security system, including following existing legislation. It was the first reasonably large project that immediately plunged into practice, testing hypotheses and implementing new ideas. The project included the launch of the system itself and the gradual implementation of a specific range of information security tools for the organization. Working in the security department gave me an excellent start as a specialist, after which I began to develop further in the direction of project activities.
TB: What helped you grow into a director of IT?
Vladimir Fedin: First, I love what I do and constantly desire to learn something new to develop skills. Of course, a reasonable basis for this became tasks and projects, during which I qualitatively raised the level of my specialization and my competencies step by step. This is the most correct and harmonious movement: new projects don’t make you bored, and the activity fascinates you so much that you lose track of time at work. We all dream of doing something that brings pleasure.
Our company is now one of the largest laboratory and medical networks in Russia and Eastern Europe, so the tasks and projects that arise during our work are very large-scale. Moreover, the company lives solely on its software products. We tried to implement box
solutions because it was easier. Still, it was impossible due to the complexity of all processes and the uniqueness of the company and the market. On the other hand, this format allows the holding itself to grow actively and efficiently. It helps young professionals like me to develop because unique and complex projects always bring essential experience and improve skills much better than working with classical and widely understood systems.
TB: What stages did your career development consist of?
Vladimir Fedin: After working in the information security department, I decided that I wanted to gain experience and competencies on a more global scale, so I moved to a division focused on project activities. In this division, I already developed into managerial positions: for about two years, I acquired the leading project manager, about two more years – I was the director of the development department, and in 2018 I moved to the position of a full-fledged IT director of the holding company. Today I manage all three IT areas of the company: development, information security, and maintenance of information systems. The staff consists of 245 people. This is a very responsible and exciting position regarding strategic planning and development of sometimes absolutely innovative projects. We are very proud that many of our company hats products are unique for the broad market.
TB: Tell us about the most successful cases and projects in your opinion.
Vladimir Fedin: There were a lot of exciting projects, and each of them brought its own unique experience. There were projects aimed at optimizing and automating some internal processes. There were also those in which we improved our product and methods of working with clients.
On some projects, I have already had time to gain management experience. Such a case, for example, was the opening of a new laboratory complex in the city of Chelyabinsk. I was responsible for the launch of the entire infrastructure of this project, which included work with highly specialized laboratory equipment. It was also my responsibility to form and provide new jobs.
However, significant one-off projects for the holding company helped us earn or save hundreds of millions. For example, we reduced video surveillance costs by 50% by replacing systems and equipment. We comprehensively modernized the document flow by developing and implementing an electronic system that was later scaled up to interact with all of the company’s counterparties.
TB: Vladimir, as far as we know from public sources, you are a winner of professional awards and nominations. What, in your opinion, helped you achieve this result?
Vladimir Fedin: Yes, last year, I was one of the top 50 IT directors, according to Kommersant. Moreover, I took first place in the “Service and Production of Consumer Goods” industry rating. Also, in 2019, we won the Digital Health Award for our innovative project to implement a facial recognition system to increase the efficiency of our medical complexes, “Face detection.”
My approach to work and competencies formed during the years of practice helped me achieve this result. But if we talk about the critical areas of the director’s activity, especially in the IT direction, I distinguish the following two.
First, the most important thing is the ability to manage people effectively. I always strive to build a team where everyone understands and feels valued. I create an open and supportive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and suggestions. This helps to look at many details from the outside and unlock an employee’s potential, allowing them to show themselves and try to realize their vision. I actively listen to my subordinates and help solve their problems. In addition, I believe in the effectiveness of delegation and trust in my team, as each member is a high-class professional focused on success and development.
The second focus in the work is our skills, keeping up with the times and introducing new techniques. The rapidly changing IT industry requires constant learning and adaptation. And this is true not only in technical matters. Employee management concepts are also constantly evolving and changing depending on external factors. Remember how the coronavirus pandemic dramatically altered the organization of many companies, especially those in the IT industry. Moreover, I am actively studying new technologies, following market movements, analyzing emerging trends, and trying to implement innovative solutions in our company because being one of the competitive market leaders requires constant work.
TB: You have worked as an IT specialist for many years and now manage a large staff. Can you tell us how to identify a good programmer on the market?
Vladimir Fedin: Many of the characteristics of a good specialist are formed in him with experience. And an experienced programmer who understands their expertise and is passionate about the business will always be able to get to the bottom of a problem or issue. Such a specialist will warn of the risks and possible adverse outcomes of some potential solutions. An excellent specialist will even be able to find a solution that you did not know about or a problem that was not seen before.
It is vital to be a hard worker. Almost every hard-working employee becomes an excellent specialist in their field. We constantly assess candidates’ motivation and willingness to develop and dive into details. Generally, people who approach the process with interest do better.
TB: Vladimir, what vector of development do you and your company choose today?
Vladimir Fedin: We have always launched services that were as user-friendly as possible, worked in this direction, and tested ideas. Customer focus is a global trend observed for many years, especially in the medical and healthcare sectors. The specifics of the market have always forced us to create something new and experiment. This is good because now we are used to this, and we are not afraid to start something fundamentally different but necessary to the market and valuable for our clients. I can say that in recent years there has been a trend where people are becoming more aware of their health. I am sure that much work will appear in this direction in the next few years.