2016 50 Best Companies to Watch

OPTiiM: A Leading Provider of Portfolio Planning and Testing Services with Global Ambitions

OPTiiM is a software and services company based in Istanbul. Established in 2011, the company focused initially on the application testing and project portfolio management market. As a spin-off from an earlier system integration business, OPTiiM had a rough start. “Customers were not sure if we could pull through. It took one year to convince them we can deliver with relentless quality. Then we went through an acquisition with a new strategic partner,” said Levent Ozalp, one of the founders of the company. “That was a valuable lesson for us as the new investor expanded our horizons to new offerings and new markets. Yet, we also learned that sticking to your core values is more important than anything, so we separated after 2 years. It was this difficult choice that propelled us into the explosive business growth we enjoy today,”
he added.

OPTiiM is the leading provider of testing and project portfolio management services in its region, and is now eyeing expansion in the USA. The company has been awarded “Top-20 Most Promising Software Testing Company” by CIO Review in 2015.

In Conversation with the Entrepreneur – Levent Ozalp

Q. What sets OPTiiM apart from others in the domain?

  • We listen. We pay very close attention to what customers say – that’s the best way to understand their real issues.
  • We innovate. We approach issues with new ideas.
  • We persist. We keep coming back until the job is done. We never give up.

Q. Can you tell us about the product and service offerings of OPTiiM?
Our offering has 3 pillars:

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) – We implement leading vendor PPM solutions. Our secret sauce is starting the initiative with IT and quickly moving beyond to capture the entire enterprise. We have a unique, extremely practical approach to process design, built on our long years of field implementation experience. As a result, our customers go-live easily and experience faster adoption by all users.

Strategic Planning Automation- Working with major finance and telecom customers for years in project portfolio advisory, we noticed that their strategic planning processes are severely under-performing, very manual, and very error-prone. We partnered with some of the leading banks in our region to create a new product that fully automates the initiative planning process and therefore dramatically cuts initiative time-to-market.

We called this product mortfolio. Without a particular intent or meaning, it turned out to be a memorable name that everyone remembers

We have now lined up a pipeline of opportunities for mortfolio in the USA for major $1B+ corporations. Some of them are in pilot stage already, so we have high hopes for it.

Application Testing & Migration- People first. We have teams of vertically specialized testers – telecom billing, banking systems, and manufacturing ERP. We crafted our own framework to address the greatest pain in test automation – time and effort of test script development and maintenance. Companies often struggle to automate tests by themselves and ultimately come to question the entire investment in such efforts. With our OPTiiMize test automation framework, we drastically reduce the time to produce and maintain automated tests. With respect to performance testing, our Perfomassure framework delivers large performance gains, as we not only load on the applications but also analyze test results with our experts to tune detected performance bottlenecks. Application migration is a complex undertaking for any organization due to the numerous integrations between the components that are being moved. Those complexities are industry and application specific. At OPTIIM, we have developed teams of specialized resources in each domain. Hence our migration projects rank the highest customer satisfaction of all.

Q. What’s in the future for OPTiiM?
We have created a new product for automated strategic planning that we will be launching globally. We are also keen to expand our business in the USA and are actively working in that direction.

Key Clientele
OPTiiM’s core customers are financial institutions, telecom operators and large industries, predominantly in Turkey and Middle East. It is now moving on to address the European and US markets. The company’s offerings make client lives considerably easier, so they always come back for more.

“The USA is our market expansion focus. We are actively working on partnerships to establish our foothold in this market and prove our value to US customers,” explained Levent. “Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the key economies in our core geography and are projected to spend healthy $60B on ICT; spurred by digital transformation and despite all geopolitical turmoil. So we think our home base is set to offer us healthy opportunities in the near future,” he added.

“We implement your PPM tool of choice. We have been at it for 10 years now. Our clients come from various verticals, and we have learnt their business alongside ours – whether it is finance, or telecom, or e-government or industry.”

Knowing the Management Team

Levent Ozalp is a serial entrepreneur. He created 3 startups in Turkey, from military tech to system integration. Having launched OPTiiM just 3 years ago, it now boasts 70 employees and customers all over Turkey, Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Daniel Lorer has been running with OPTiiM international since its inception. He had earlier founded and exited B2B start-up FBP France. Daniel had formerly served with HP Software and Mercury Interactive in EMEA.

Hakan Turgut handles OPTiiM enterprise sales in Turkey. His 30 year career span took him to sales executive positions in IBM and CA. He brings maturity and wisdom to the team.

“We have chosen to build our methodology from IT. We have come to realize that IT is the fastest adopter of PPM technologies, at least in our EMEA geography. So we make PPM a quick win in IT, and then we take it further to marketing and sales departments”