Posted 8 ноября 2022,, 13:48

Published 8 ноября 2022,, 13:48

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Russian programmers are ready to take over the world, but ask for support from the government

Russian programmers are ready to take over the world, but ask for support from the government

8 ноября 2022, 13:48
The Russian IT industry can solve the issues of import substitution and enter international markets. But the bureaucracy gets in the way, for which the export of coal or oil looks more interesting than the export of technology. Domestic programmers have developed a roadmap with a plan to capture the world.

Will IT specialists be heard in the government?

Alexander Dybin

As the president of the RUSSOFT association, Valentin Makarov, said, the roadmap, which lists the industry's requests to the authorities, has already been submitted to the Russian government. One of the main points is to change the paradigm of attitudes towards the digital sphere, and with it the formal definition: to move the industry from the category of a service provider to the category of a product provider. This opens up much wider prospects for programmers in terms of export.

“In recent months, we have seen that our companies are growing, life has not stopped, we need specialists,” says Valentin Makarov, “we have shown that our systems have not fallen, everything works, we still produce products for the whole world. We have prepared a roadmap for the state to act in sync with the industry. The first provision is to give priority status to IT exports. We are now considered an export of services. Therefore, support tools cannot be applied to us. Loans, insurance, state guarantees and much more are not available. How, for example, to enter the Zambian market if we cannot give it a loan to buy our product”.

According to experts, now the IT industry in Russia is solving two global problems: import substitution of Western companies that simultaneously left the country, and access to international markets, which will give the country additional money.

“It is important to change the paradigm in the minds of officials, yes, software is not quick money, like oil or ore, we need to rebuild the infrastructure, the result will be in two or three years, but there must be an understanding that this is the future, the world is digitizing and this is no less critical, than the export of natural resources”, - the programmers say.

According to Sergey Rezontov, General Director of IBS InfiniSoft, the export volume of Russian IT products is 10 billion dollars.

“The volume grew at a rate of about 15-20 percent every year, our companies there recognize,” he says, “they use our products. The market is comparable in volume to the export of grain or timber, and there are large support measures that we do not have. I would like the Russian authorities to give us knowledge about the markets. First of all, these are the markets of the EAC, the Asia-Pacific region. Statistics, analytics. So that there is interaction between our departments and the ministries of these countries, so that doors on the other side open for us.”

Dmitry Kharitonov, General Director of the Innotech Group, believes that the very situation with the mass exodus of Western companies from Russia and the general refusal to cooperate has become a kind of advertisement for independent IT solutions.

“People saw that an entire country can be turned off at the touch of a button”, - says the expert, “this has led to an increase in interest in our product. We used to have clients from the US and Europe who bought from the Russians, because there is definitely a guarantee that the data does not go to Western intelligence agencies. And now the demand in the states remains, in other countries it has grown. Those who think about the security of corporate communications come to us. For example, the armies of Nicaragua and India, the police of Hong Kong and Dubai. We continue our marketing activities in the West. We participate in exhibitions, no one throws eggs at us”.

Another aspect of the export of IT technologies is the need to offer the market not specific solutions or programs, but a range of services, ready-made platforms. This is stated by the chairman of the board of directors of the SearchInform company Lev Matveyev.

“You can’t catch up, you don’t need to make analogues of software that already exists and works,” he says, “the one who catches up always loses. You have to take it to the next level. To do this, we need common standards for the entire industry, we also need help from the state. Ready-made platforms are much easier to promote, the Arab world, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa - there is often no school of specialists there. Therefore, they need turnkey solutions: turned on and everything works. There is interest in our products, but not in clones of Chinese software, but in those where they do work on a different level. You have to hit where you are stronger”.

Growth problems

The suddenly vacated niches within Russia have posed unexpected challenges for IT companies. They faced a sharp increase in states. At the same time, programmers are a special caste of workers that requires an individual attitude. Elena Bocherova , executive director of the Cyberprotect company, speaks about this.

“The market now remains with us, we have no international competitors in Russia. It would seem that a great time, live and rejoice. But opportunities come with limitations”, - she says. “It turned out that the market needed everything at once. Yesterday you baked buns that your friends and acquaintances bought, and tomorrow they tell you that now you feed the whole city. And how to increase capacity, create technical support and much more? These months we have been working in a super-crisis and super-mobilization mode. Almost doubled in staffing over the past year. There is little rhetoric around cadres in Russia, we do little to keep cadres in the country. At home, all the resources were directed to absorb people from the outgoing companies and adapt them correctly”.

A separate reason for unrest was partial mobilization. Representatives of the IT-sphere received a reservation. But it didn't always work. Sometimes agendas had to be canceled manually. In addition, there was a general nervousness.

“When the mobilization story happened, you need to understand that developers are a very delicate matter, we created an operational headquarters in the company”, - says Yelena Bocherova, “we had a direct dialogue with the team in order to prevent speculation and heresy from the Internet. We closely communicated with the Ministry of Digital Transformation, brought questions to the minister.

According to the president of the RUSSOFT association Valentin Makarov, the issue of the outflow of IT personnel from the country is not as terrible as they say. Yes, specialists and entrepreneurs are moving, especially in those areas where Western companies act as contractors. But there is a reverse trend in the labor market, if earlier there was a shortage of personnel, now there are three applicants for one vacancy. These are people from foreign firms who left the country, these are those who stayed.

“The situation has changed a lot over these months, the industry is in a position of choice: either we continue to serve other people's resources, provide services for Western companies, work in the niches that are left to us. Or they become leaders, but for that you need to have the will, ambitions, finances and support. It is necessary to understand the emerging risks, will we not become a service industry for India and China, as we were for the USA?”, - the expert noted.