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TMH סנטר נכסים בזק בנלאומי AC נכסים

CB I.T - A Commando Unit in the IT World / By Hila Yaakobi

CB I.T was founded four years ago by Asher Levy and today numbers 70 employees. The company specializes in providing advanced solutions in a range of IT fields and in planning, developing and integrating large-scale computer products. CB I.T also provides consulting services for the development and assimilation of SAP information systems and provides outsourcing services. We met with Asher Levy, the CEO, founder and owner of CB I.T, Yaakov Rachavelsky, director of SAP activity, Tali Almaliach, consulting manager and Galia Bar Shalom, recruitment manager, for a conversation about the company, its unique management practices and the future of the high-tech employment market in Israel, and tried to understand why CB I.T is eagerly awaiting the year 2008.

What are the company's areas of activity?

Asher Levy, CEO and founder of CB I.T: Company activity is divided into several areas:
1. The SAP group specializes in executing SAP projects independently and in cooperation with large organizations (e.g. Ness Technologies, IBM), projects involving financial tools and a development body rich in experience and know-how in the field of SAP – including an advanced laboratory.
2. A development center specializing in business software solutions and systems integration, and serving as an advisory body and a technological leader for many organizations. Our development center has very strong capabilities in developing products, especially in the financial world. We specialize in developing a range of financial solutions. We work with leading companies in the Israeli market, including the Oil Refineries, Bezeq, Osem, Israel Aeronautical Industries, Coca-Cola, all of the insurance companies, Clalit Healthcare Services and First International Bank.
3. Consultants divided into various specialties. For every outsourcing specialization there is a professional leader at the company.
4. A software house that focuses on executing projects and developing products for our subsidiaries, AGR and AGR-E.

How did the subsidiary, AGR-E, come into existence and what is it involved in?
Asher Levy, CEO and owner of CB I.T: AGR-E evolved from CB I.T's specialization in the world of financial specialization on one hand and development in an ERP systems environment on the other. We realized that in order to provide customers a full solution for cash-flow management we would need to develop a specialized product.
Toward this end we set up an enterprise within CB I.T that transformed into an independent subsidiary once the development of the product was complete. Today AGR-E is CB I.T's product division.
In addition we have a distribution company in Europe that markets and promotes our products in major European countries.


(From left to right:) Galia Bar Shalom, Asher Levy, Tali Almaliach and Yaakov Rachlevsky

What distinguishes CB I.T in the IT market?
Asher: We have a very high quality development group and a very unique model in which large organizations farm out their development management needs to us. This includes large companies that are involved in development themselves (e.g. Ness Technologies and IBM) who place in our hands development management for certain products.

What part does your own personal experience play in building the company's reputation in the market?
Asher: The development center was set up based on my familiarity and vast professional experience from the past. I specialized in a range of different and unique fields, such as AS/400, and I managed dozens of large projects in Israel, including the development of products that are sold to this day around the world. I founded a company that is very professional in the areas it works in. I only entered fields in which I myself have expertise.

How did the company develop afterwards?
Asher: About a year and a half after I founded CB I.T, I recruited very experienced, professional people with an impressive, proven record in order to set up the professional management level. People like Yaakov Rachavelsky, director of SAP activity at CB I.T, who had previously set up SAP activity at IBM-Israel. In Israel he's considered a guru of the SAP world. Also Asher Ventura, who managed financial projects at Ness Technologies. Similarly, he is widely known in the world of financial system applications. And Gil Reshef, who worked at a SAP company and has a stellar reputation in SAP solution technologies.

SAP Director Yaakov Rachavelsky headed SAP activity at IBM-Israel from 1996 to 2005.

Yaakov: I joined the company in 2005. I run the SAP activity, which aims to become a leading integrator in the area of SME (small and medium-size enterprises).

What is your area of specialization in the SAP world?
Yaakov: Our specialty covers several fields. The first is as a business partner of Ness Technologies in the area of All in One SAP, a SAP system application for medium-size companies. Until two years ago SAP provided solutions primarily for large companies with a volume of $100-300 million and up. When the company realized this market was starting to become depleted SAP developed a solution for smaller companies that allows project management in much shorter amounts of time and at much lower cost, both in terms of money and the client's human resources. In the world of projects of this size we're the leaders. At the moment we're focusing on the high-tech market.
The second field is finance. What distinguishes us is the area of financial tools. We have a lot of unique know-how in Israel.
The third field is development in a SAP environment. We have a large, experienced staff executing development projects under our full responsibility in an ERP environment.
Another area of activity is support for customers where SAP systems have already been implemented. In outsourcing we provide regular support and "changes and improvements." We also serve as the SAP outsourcing body at Telrad.

On the company's outsourcing activity:
Tali Almaliach, consultants manager: I joined the company three years ago in order to set up the consultants department. I came from Teldor, where I worked as a human resources manager.

The consultants department at the company includes a number of main areas of specialization:
SAP application consultants, development engineers in advanced technology environments such as C, C++, .Net and Realtime, process analysts (who analyze, improve and construct processes) and AS/400 consultants. 
Each of these fields has professional backing from within the company.

What is the significance of professional backing?
Tali: It's important to us that every employee at the client site on a constant basis has professional guidance from the company. For each of these fields there is a professional manager who takes part starting with the phase of selecting and recruiting personnel to the company and later in providing the employee with professional guidance and strengthening his skills. We constantly expand and nurture our workers' knowledge and take pains to maintain a high level of professionalism.

How do you maintain ties with outsourcing employees?
Tali: I frequently make a round of visits at the client sites and meet with the employees and their managers. The goal of these meetings is to keep tabs on the employee's satisfaction, give feedback, solve problems, etc. The type of tie formed between the worker and I becomes personal already during the hiring process. Although employees work away from company offices, they feel a sense of belonging to CB I.T and a desire to be emissaries for the company, and this is what makes us special.
We also hold professional forums with the aim that every worker belong to a professional forum, which meets periodically for an enrichment session in its specific field.

What does the future hold once the project he's working on ends?
Tali: In light of the close ties with both the client and the employee, we don't arrive at a situation in which the end of a project comes as a surprise. Generally I'm notified of the situation long enough in advance to set the worker up in a different project.

How are the outsourcing services you provide different from those of other companies?
Tali: The ties and personalized care the employee receives from us makes us different, as well as the close guidance, both in professional and personal matters. There are customers that outsource workers and their communication with the worker begins and ends with the monthly work-hours report and sending a salary slip. The turnover rate here among consultants is negligible, and that, in my opinion, is proof of success. And in the past two years, if there has been a decrease it's due to workers moving to the client company because the match was right and good for both sides. There have been cases where after a period of two years or more the customer asks to advance the employee and transfer him to a higher-ranking position within the company.

What is CB I.T's recruitment policy?
Galia: The recruitment policy is first and foremost about quality. From selecting professional managers down to the last of the workers. We have a number of recruitment sources:our website, placement companies when it comes to specific positions and leading Internet sites like Jobnet. The advantage of these sites is that the candidate applies for a very specific position. Another important recruitment means is the employee referral program. This is a very good quality recruitment in which the success rate is really high. That's a very positive sign because it's proof that people really do feel here.

Asher: That's how the company got started. I didn't hire anyone except through employee referrals. The company's first 20 employees are all a result of employee referrals.

How do you hold onto promising candidates when you don't have a specific job for them?
Galia: When we're excited over a certain job candidate both because of his professionalism and character we look until we find a suitable position, even if it takes time. During this time we stay in touch with him.

Asher: The candidate realizes he's arrived at a place that's looking out for him and his best interests, both from a professional and a personal standpoint. At large companies, if they can't find a spot for him within a week or two he's tossed out of their files, but here that's not the case.

Galia: We don't have the ability to respond to all of the people who contact us, because I receive hundreds of resumes every day, but I have a very high quality candidate pool that allows me to pull up names at the right time, sometimes after a month or even a year.

Are all of the resumes that come to you really worthy of consideration?
Galia: There are people who send resumes without doing self-screening in order to apply only for positions they would want. I would like to see job candidates do this more, but on the other hand sometimes it succeeds. Sometimes a candidate sends a resume for a certain position and I offer him a different job that seems more suitable for him. For me this is a big source of gratification as a recruitment worker, to match someone to the position that would interest him and be best for him.

************************************

At the CB I.T headquarters there are more women than men. Two out of the four board members are women and six of the eight headquarter executives are women. How do you explain this, Asher?
Asher: I didn't select anyone based on gender. I've always been managed by women and whenever I was asked if I had a problem with that it always surprised me because I don't know of any such problem. It seems perfectly natural to me. At CB I.T you won't find any difference between men and women in employment terms. There's no difference and there's no chance there will be because the only consideration as far as I'm concerned is the caliber of the person and his suitability for the job.

Still, how did this come about?
Asher: We chose people based on their abilities and that's how it turned out. In all of the cases in which I wound up hiring women I interviewed men, too, including when I looked for a recruitment manager, which is a job generally held by women. It's not that I wanted to set up a company with a female orientation, but on the other hand I believe nothing happens by chance. When you set out and aim in a certain direction eventually both your conscious and unconscious thinking comes across.

What is the recruitment policy regarding management?
Asher: When a department manager wants to recruit someone I don't interfere in an overt way. I take part in the process and express my opinion, but the final decision is up to the manager doing the hiring. In every hiring I was involved only at the end of the process and regardless of what I felt I gave my approval based on my full trust in the manager doing the hiring.

How was the executive board formed?
Asher: Last year we set up the executive board. Until then all company management was in my hands. This year we formed a board that takes a more substantial role in managing the company.

What's your approach to the job of CEO?
Asher: In my opinion the CEO's job is to serve as a mentor to the executive board, to define the company vision together with the other managers and to work toward it. That's what the job is about. He doesn't have to be great, brilliant or good looking; he has to be the one who understands what the company horizon and what the company vision is, and help the company achieve that goal.

What are the advantages of having CB I.T as an employer?
Galia: CB I.T is a company that offers its employees a professional horizon. Within just a few years the company has reached the point where it has both a development center and an advanced laboratory. We have a very high level of professional guidance and employee training. We provide our employees the tools needed to grow and develop professionally. Because we're a warm and high-caliber company, the care that goes into every employee is much greater. We put a lot of work into him, to advance him and make the job good and interesting for him.

Tali: The employees feel like a big enough cog in this small machine, unlike the large companies, where they feel like a little cog in the machine. We're a commando unit when it comes to professionalism. We offer a professional horizon and career management. We're a developing company with significant growth, meaning there are opportunities for personal and professional development.

What does the future hold in store in the field of consulting, and high-tech in general?
Asher: The trend in the market at the moment is demand in excess of supply. As a result I believe that in the coming year the market will become an employees' market and that will be excellent for us. It's going to be quite interesting. When the market is an employees' market it's to the advantage of our style of company.

What is your advantage under such circumstances?
Asher: When the demand exceeds the number of employees, employees have more power. We know how to take care of workers and we're prepared for an employees' market. We already treat all of our workers as if that's the situation in the market. We won't have to suddenly set up different arrangements to take care of our employees, because that's the way we've always treated them. We're already there, ready. My prediction is that we'll grow beyond the market average. I can't wait.


For the Hebrew Article
 

 
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