Get to know one of our potential partners in Albania, the Payment System Innovator, Symmetric Group. In the interview, we talked to the company owner Mr. Dritan Mollanji.
Please introduce us the Symmetric Group?
Symmetric Group was founded in 2010 in Tirana with a focus on the Financial and Retail Sectors. Symmetric has strong expertise in digital transformation and electronic payments and has given its support to various customers in Albania in Financial Sector, Telecommunication, Distribution Companies, Retails, Hospitality, Construction Companies, etc
Describe your core business and what are your main products/service?
Symmetric Group has two products as a core business, namely ERP and Payment Gateway using QR code. Some of the key successful projects of Symmetric Group are:
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning): Financial software applications that organize, define, and standardize the business processes necessary to effectively plan and control an organization embodying the products and processes, information flow, and procedures. This software is installed and implemented in several companies one of the biggest distribution companies is Nelt Sh.a.
Card Payment Processing Projects: Cofounded PayLink, the first national card processing center, and offered the full project consultancy. Symmetric Group was responsible for the system implementation and coordination for the launch with VISA and MasterCard.
Paylink Consultancy Services: During 2013 co-Funded and managed the full portfolio of PayLink projects including Infrastructure, PCI DSS/CP Procedures Preparation, Card Issuing Processing, e-commerce/POS/ATM Acquiring, Card Personalization, Clearing Module Implementation, and MasterCard NIV/MTIP certification.
POS Integration: Implementation and certification with MasterCard of the first multivendor payment application for Union Bank Sh.a. Implementation of multivendor Terminal Management System.
Digital Banking: Involved with Raiffeisen Bank Digital Banking. In collaboration with NF Innova we have been part of in Raiffeisen Bank
E-Commerce: Symmetric has completed a number of projects for creating online shops and their integration with payment gateways.
Openpay: In 2018 invented new product Openpay is a next-generation payment gateway that bypasses the traditional card payment schemes facilitating banks and e-money institutions to offer Retail Instant Payments using mobile banking app (www.openpay.al). Openpay is an innovative product and it won several International prices (Raiffeisen Bank International through Elevator Lab, EBRD through Start Venture Program, and Capgemini -EFMA)
In your opinion, what are the biggest problems in the business of economy of Albania?
Albanian market is relatively small, therefore the possibilities to scale a software product are limited and this leads to lower profit margin and doesn’t help the companies to invest in R&D. At the same time the cost for employing a development team is relatively high and the major part of the qualified staff is leaving the country.
Which work qualifications, i.e. what kind of staff is most lacking in Albania economy?
Albanian population is relatively young compared to other European Countries but in terms of qualification, the figures show the opposite. If you compare with the neighbor countries, we see that qualified IT staff is lacking in the country.
What should change in the educational system of Albania in order to timely provide the staff needed by the economy in today’s dynamic market environment?
The collaboration between private companies and universities is missing. Companies and Universities should collaborate more so the students can start to understand the practical part of the knowledge they are learning in the University. At the same time, the companies should communicate their needs and required qualifications to the Universities so they can adjust their qualification programs base on the market requests.
How do you see the current state of education of pupils and students in Albania in terms of the development of entrepreneurial mindset as well as innovation?
Albanians have an entrepreneur’s mindset and are very innovative, everyone wants to open her/his business but this is not supported with the proper qualification to scale their idea/products in the country as well as out of Albania.
Within the EU project entitled “Re-establishing links between universities and companies in order to support entrepreneurial activities and innovations”, the establishment of center for commercialization of ideas and support for entrepreneurship at the European University of Tirana is also planned. These centers should also support companies in introducing lean management practices in order to increase productivity, efficiency of production processes and market competitiveness. How do you see the need of companies to establish such a center?
It’s absolutely a very good idea. This center will help increase the collaboration in an early state between the student and companies, will help the students to understand the practical part but also the companies to improve efficiency and quality.