Alexander Dybin, St. Petersburg
The problems of the IT industry were discussed at the site of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg. The main threats are related to sanctions both directly for software manufacturers and for the mass of Russian enterprises that used Western software. Now they are left without the support and maintenance of these products.
According to the president of the RUSSOFT association, Valentin Makarov, 70% of the IT industry in Russia was focused on the market of developed countries, which have now become unfriendly. This means that clients either refuse to work with Russian programmers, or there are problems with payments.
“Besides, St. Petersburg was a place of concentration of development centers for Western companies, and they did not have to choose whether to leave or not, they just received an order to leave”, - says Valentin Makarov, “Those who stay face other problems: they are forbidden to work with clients, plus the ban on payments. In addition, there is the question of personnel. Yes, we have seen that the outflow of IT specialists from the country has begun, and wages have even increased on this won in order to keep employees in Russia. This has become an additional burden on the business. But at the same time, the outflow was not as strong as expected. We see that the number of applicants per vacancy is growing. People stay and they need to be put to work. We need to give them another market.”
According to the expert, the main problem with entering Asian markets is that the IT industry in Russia is a service sector and it does not receive the support that industrialists have when entering new markets.
“You can do all this yourself, take money from your pocket and pay: for market research, travel, accommodation, to a local marketer who will put you in touch with companies,” says Valentin Makarov, “but this is nonsense. The state pays the Chinese in full for everything, and we have to pay ourselves. This is competition. And they have one market entry price, and we have another. It is not right. We are now talking about a new technological order, the BRICS+ market is actively developing and, having different conditions for entering this market, we will fall behind China. If we cannot provide equal conditions for entering the market, we will lose it. And there is a chance. New markets are not so busy and they want us because we are an alternative supplier, independent, everyone is looking at us in this regard.”
Another aspect of the sanctions is that over the past six months, live communication has disappeared between Russian manufacturers and partners.
“We have customers from Canada, we have lost many, but many want to work with us further. We will find logistics, we will find how to make payments, but without live communication, without a meeting, the business will die out, is there any chance that in the foreseeable future it will be possible to meet with partners?” Tatyana Yakimova from KS2 Engineering asked a question.
According to the speaker of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Alexander Belsky, so far the only option to communicate with clients in person is sites in third countries.
“In the near future, it is necessary to look for venues, exhibitions in third countries, maybe there will be city representations at these forums where such communication can be conducted,” the speaker said. - There is no answer to the question, but we will work it out. Most likely, there will be something non-state. Among these countries, for example, Serbia can be mentioned.
The second global issue is the import substitution of Western software used by industrial enterprises. It is still not clear to what extent and what exactly needs to be noticed, but there is an understanding that we are talking about colossal work. At the same time, every company faces problems. The IT sector offers to unite and develop standard programs for specific industries so that each individual plant does not reinvent the wheel. Here, programmers propose to create consortia of consumers and producers, as well as allocate state grants.
“This market is not appreciated, each enterprise still thinks that it needs to be replaced, but they cannot do it alone”, - says Valentin Makarov, “we propose to resolve the issue at the state level. There is, for example, the construction industry, there is system software common to all. And we can develop it. We can reduce the cost of software for transport, metallurgy. And this request from enterprises is already coming to us. For example, the association of banks says that there are requirements of the Central Bank that each individual bank is not able to fulfill. Therefore, at the association level, they allocate funds for the development of a common product for all. A similar request was from realtors, retailers, and logistics.”
Another spit of collective development is the issue of responsibility for the result.
“Software products for enterprises are complex and, as a rule, are implemented by different companies, one worked, the second, and no one is responsible for the final result”, - says Yuri Voropayev, general director of the MKD company, “in the case of a consortium of developers, there will be someone to ask.”
The third and most global challenge that IT manufacturers are talking about is the need to create new technologies.
“Technological sovereignty lies not only in the need to replace what is foreign, but in the fact that it is necessary to create new technologies, quantum systems, the defense industry, it is necessary to use all available platforms for this work”.