IT Leadership: An Alliance of Russia and the Developing World
Russian IT products have a competitive advantage
“The competitiveness that service companies have in Western countries is, of course, lower than it is in countries [that are friendly to Russia now] […] Companies manage to find niches and interesting markets [...] We are truly good enough and have a competitive advantage both in terms of the maturity of our solutions and the maturity of our platforms that we offer,” ICL Services Director Ruslan Vagizov said.
“I would recommend paying attention to industrial automation [...] If we look at where this sector is going, we will see that it’s essentially software already [...] There is a programme for the innovative development of industrial automation, as part of which we are already talking about virtual PLCs [programmable logistics controllers], virtual SCADA, and a unified platform approach [...] We want to build up this area based on international standards, and this is already a theme of exports,” said Anton Dumin, Director of the IT, Automation, and Telecommunications Directorate at Gazprom Neft.
Lack of specialists in IT diplomacy
“Our Indian friends have created a department in the Ministry of Science that deals with the external environment. They are promoting their solutions very actively. This is technological diplomacy. In [Russia], when we talk about BRICS or about cooperation, for example, with India, there is no technological agenda and no IT agenda. Our diplomats don’t talk about it at all,” said Andrey Bezrukov, President of the Technological Sovereignty Exports Association and a Professor in the Department of Applied International Analysis at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We need to create Russian hubs in friendly countries, not just offices, call centres, branding, PR, or marketing […] I don’t fully understand who digital attachés are. I’m afraid that few people understand where these individuals come from or what experience they have in IT or sales [...] I would like these people to have a status or to at least have the rank of deputy ambassador,” SearchInform Chairman of the Board of Directors Lev Matveyev said.
“When we enter certain markets in order to export equipment from Russia, we see that there is no marketing support. We have to enter these markets through partners because we don’t have a serious sales network. Any support from the government in terms of promoting Russian companies would be useful,” Vagizov said.
A mechanism needs to be developed to make payments in the IT sector in the new realities
“As for the current problem with payments, it’s particularly acute for those who work in exports. A lot of payments simply aren’t coming in. I don’t know how small companies with large cash gaps survive. Something needs to be done here. Perhaps lending truly needs to be provided somehow to cover the cash gap while there is a payment crisis,” Rostelecom Senior Vice President for Information Technology Kirill Menshov said.
Collaboration with existing companies and specialists abroad will help promote Russian IT products
“We need to get the [Russian-Emirates Business Council] to sponsor the presence of our IT companies in foreign markets by 70%, at least for a year [...] They have money. They simply haven’t been assigned such a task,” Bezrukov said.
“There are lots of graduates from Russian universities who studied 20–30 years ago and have now become CEOs and senior managers. They treat Russia very well […] Why don’t we lean on this shoulder? I think it should be used. It would be nice at the state level […] to create a register of graduates of Russian universities who work abroad […] They will work for Russia’s benefit,” Matveyev said.
“You can establish cooperation with Russian companies that have representative offices and sales channels and are implementing some large projects in these [foreign] countries. Moreover, large private business is ready to cooperate with us. I would actually suggest that state-owned companies include this in their directives: if state-owned companies operate on the territory of these countries, you can directly include tasks in the directives to promote Russian solutions, how to use them as a platform, and how to use the infrastructure,” Russian Minister of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev said.
For more, see the Roscongress Foundation’s Information and Analytical System