Interview with Oliver Sajatovic for

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Date of first registration: June 26, 2008.

Status: Active

Interviewed: Mr. Oliver Šajatović, director, BATES d.o.o.


Original verison in Serbian:


Mr. Šajatović, your company is somewhat older than the .rs domain. How did its development go during the first decade of the 21st century, until 2008?


Yes, the company was founded way back in 2001. Our founding vision was for BATES to form its business presence in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe so we can say that right from the very beginning, BATES has had a strong regional element in its identity. As the economies of those countries have grown during the transition, we have grown with them.

We are a consulting company operating within the construction industry. The development we recorded during that decade was on a sound basis and, as it is called today, sustainable, given that the company’s policy is to operate without compromise on the principles of professionalism and ethics.

We especially remember the year 2008 because of the emergence of the “great economic crisis”, and the construction sector, by definition, is always the first and hardest hit by any global crisis. I think that the saying “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” describes well how we overcame that period, and how even then we did not make any bad compromises, we built a good name, which is why we still exist today and work successfully.


To what extent were communication technologies and the Internet important for your business at the time when the .rs domain appeared in 2008?


When it came to means of communication, we had to be flexible. A huge number of partners, suppliers, clients, and associates functioned in the same way as 25-30 years ago: landline, hand notes on notebooks, drawings, projects, absolutely everything on paper. The biggest technological innovation for most of them was the fax machine, which usually occupied the “honorable” place with the director or their secretary.

Although we never had a large number of employees, I remember enormous amounts of paper that were used for business correspondence, tender documentation, printing projects, and archives… We had one employee whose primary responsibility was only to prepare, pack and send everything where it should be. For larger projects, it regularly happened that two or three more corpulent colleagues had to carry boxes from the office to the trunk of the car. Our secretary had full bags of letters that she took to the post office every day…

BATES Serbia, on the other hand, as a part of the BATES network of companies, needed intensive and constant communication with our offices in other countries and with many foreign partners. For that, e-mail was the optimal solution for us, and our employees adopted the habit of communicating from their company addresses (later long before many people had any e-mail addresses.

Very early on, we provided our employees with constant access to the Internet because it was important for our engineers and architects to perform their work successfully. So, in terms of introducing Internet technologies, we were quite advanced, especially compared with the competition.

I think the early adoption of new communication methods was one piece of the puzzle of our overall success.

Today, online communication is something that is taken for granted, but twenty years ago we were already in contact with potential partners and clients via e-mail. They took us far more seriously when we sent them an email from our domain than if we did it by fax or from some of the public email services. I can say that for us e-mail originating from our domain has been a key tool in business communication and business in general for two decades.


In addition to your email service, did you have your own website on your home domain?


Before the .rs domain appeared, our Belgrade office had a registered .co.yu domain, which we actively used. We had a web presentation according to the standards of the time, which was also not very common in our industry.

As I mentioned, BATES operates in several countries in Europe and Eurasia, and in this regard, we had one initial dilemma – which domain extension to use in the presentation on the Internet. We have come up with a solution that we think suits us completely: we have at the same time the domain, which is intended for the entire group of companies, but also and other national domains (.hr, .me, .ro…), which highlight the local presence in each of the countries where we operate.

In this way, we combined the best of the world and what is genuinely ours. Using the (little-known) subdomain, we highlight our European/international reach, and the .rs domain serves as an identifier of who we are and where we come from.


 What are the benefits of the website and what is its future?


One of the important elements in marketing and sales presentation in our industry is the portfolio of completed projects. In the old days, such a portfolio would be created in digital printing, in color, on quality paper, and on many pages and bound in the form of a brochure. It was very expensive and short-lived because, after a few months, it would be desirable to refresh it with new projects. In one period, we received dozens of new projects and it didn’t make sense to translate it into a printed edition, so we put everything neatly on the web.

As a B2B company that deals with a specific set of services in the field of construction, our website is primarily a presentation where anyone can see who we are, what we do, and what our results are. And he is, in this respect, an excellent marketing tool for us.

Step by step, we are opening other channels of B2B communication, from a presence on business social networks to online appearances in the work of professional organizations and associations.

Those new aspects of our digital presence will be coordinated with the parent site, which will remain the center and backbone of the company’s entire online presence.