On 8th November 2022, a RUSSOFT press conference was held at Izvestia, where experts – representatives of companies from the Association – discussed the most relevant issues for the IT industry: how can Russia become the leader of a New (6th) technological paradigm and achieve technological sovereignty, what is the state of the personnel issue in IT, and how to develop exports?
Traditionally, the discussion was started by Valentin Makarov, President of RUSSOFT, noting that “… now is the time when we can talk about the first results and prospects for the development of the software development industry in the face of sharp changes in the geopolitical situation in 2022.
The state and IT companies need to make a decision: we limit ourselves to replacing or supporting the software of departed Western companies, or we set the task of becoming the leaders of a New technological paradigm with our software products and platform solutions.”
Pavel Kalyakin, CEO of MyOffice, spoke about development of the company after the departure of foreign vendors:
“The departure of foreign vendors from Russia has led to an increase in the load on the information security units and disruption of the internal processes of companies built over the years. Businesses and government organizations understand that the old patterns no longer work, and are vigorously switching to Russian products. For example, MyOffice records an increase in the number of pilot projects: in the 10 months of 2022, their number was 181, while in the same period last year there were 58. As examples of complex cases in the Russian IT industry this year, we can cite the transfer of all VTB Bank employees to office software MyOffice, as well as the integration of the MyOffice solution into Mail and the Cloud Mail.ru. In the B2C segment, we also see an increase in interest in the products of Russian developers – our free applications for smartphones and PCs have already been downloaded by more than 15 million people,” Pavel said.
Elena Bocharova, Executive Director of Cyberprotect, continued the topic of changes, focusing on the situation with IT personnel:
“Software developers in 2022 had to face many challenges: the forced transition to domestic solutions in the public sector and critical information infrastructure (CII), the need to rebuild the IT infrastructure of customers in the corporate segment, turbulence in the labor market. And this is only a small part of what was happening with the Russian IT market.
Under these conditions, Cyberprotect made necessary operational decisions for development in the long term. By relying on human resources and multiplying the development staff, we have rebuilt the product development plan according to the new requirements of customers. Despite the difficulties, one of the main acquisitions of this time is the new quality of relations between customers and Russian software developers, which was supported by the state and which can become the basis for the development of the industry in the short and long term,” Elena said.
The next speaker was Andrey Sviridenko, the Board Chairman of SPIRIT, noting the importance of technological sovereignty both for the internal situation in the country and for the development of the export potential of companies:
“The Russian company SPIRIT has been developing its software products for business communications for 30 years and sells them in dozens of countries around the world as embedded engines (SDK). Our complete secure corporate product VideoMost for the Russian market is a messenger with videoconferencing for enterprise collaboration, the Russian equivalent of Teams, Zoom, Webex. According to the Tadviser statistics, VideoMost ranks 1st in Russia in terms of the number of paid videoconferencing implementations in the Russian Federation from 2014 to 2022, and serves thousands of government and corporate clients in Russia in the cloud and on servers. VideoMost runs on Russian OC Linux, is integrated with Outlook, Exchange, as well as with domestic products – MyOffice Mail, Communitage, Infotecs, and others. The solution is 100% independent of the Microsoft ecosystem and sanctions, supports corporate mobility on iOS and Andorid and in browsers, integrates with Poly, Cisco, Avaya, Huawei via SIP/H protocols.323.
When purchasing by Russian customers, VideoMost effectively ensures the technological sovereignty of the Russian Federation in the field of business communications. In order to rapidly increase the export of domestic software to the Southeast Asian and Middle East countries, state grants are needed to promote and search for new local partners,” the speaker shared.
Andrey Shastin, Director for Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships of Auriga, summed up the topic of technological sovereignty, sharing the difficulties that arise in the process of working with Russian companies switching to domestic solutions:
“At Auriga, we see a significantly increased number of requests from Russian companies for the development of complex products/systems with allocated funding but with insufficient understanding of the product development cycle. The main difficulties in working on such projects are underestimation of the need for such phases as analysis of technical and functional requirements for the product, prototyping, automated testing; insufficiency of long–term planning. Relying on broad experience in Western markets, contractors such as Auriga can not only draw up a roadmap for product development, but also carry out the project from development to commissioning and support, taking into account all risks and giving transparent reasonable financial estimates of each phase of project development.”
Lev Matveev, the Board of Directors Chairman of Serchinform, opened the topic of IT export, noting the importance of developing platform solutions and export support from the state:
“We see from our experience that for successful export, it is necessary to offer foreign partners not only a product, but also a full range of services – software-related services, assistance with training specialists to work with it. We at Serchinform have chosen this path a long time ago: for those who have not yet found their IT specialists, we offer an IT outsourcing service. Over several years, more than 50,000 employees of customers have been trained in information technology literacy. We project this experience to foreign markets as well.
We will be able to compete with renowned Western giants by offering foreign customers not individual software, but a platform that solves all of their problems. Within the framework of the RUSSOFT Export committee, a “Roadmap” for the development of IT exports was created. These events will allow further development of the IT industry as a whole, and exporting companies will be able to use not only targeted support, but also move in the general flow, “warmed up” by the Made In Russia promotion program.”
Dmitry Odintsov, TrueConf Development Director, spoke about the role of Russian developers on the world stage that has developed in recent years:
“Contrary to expectations, many countries remain loyal to Russian software and strive for independence from American technologies, which from 2020 to 2022 became one of the elements of the sanctions machine. By our own example, we can see how the demand in government agencies, law enforcement agencies and large businesses in other countries for Russian videoconferencing solutions protected from sanctions has grown by an average of 30%, which is also noted by analysts from Aragon Research. Export orientation and recognition by customers abroad is a key indicator of the competitiveness of an IT product, including in the Russian market. Everyone benefits from increasing the export potential of Russian solutions. Customers ultimately receive a domestic product that meets global trends with which they can safely replace corporate videoconferencing solutions of world leaders such as Microsoft, Cisco and Poly.”
Sergey Rezontov, CEO of IBS InfiniSoft, told about the future of Russian IT companies exporting their products:
“At the beginning of 2022, the IT industry faced the departure and termination of activities in Russia of many international companies developing custom software. However, we managed to keep a significant share of the employees and teams of the departed IT companies, including us. We are pleased with the fact that the expertise has remained on the domestic market and these teams continue to implement projects for customers. In addition, a significant niche in the custom software development services for domestic customers has been freed up, and we have also been able to attract highly qualified IT experts to provide services on the international market, which gives us new opportunities for development – the Eurasian Economic Community and Association of Southeast Asian Nations markets are in focus.
For the IBS InfiniSoft custom systems, products and projects development center, the priority in the Russian market is the prolongation of digitalization projects and the formation of new partnerships in the industries – finance, retail, automotive, oil and gas and in other market segments. In addition, we will implement new integrations using Platform V/Gostech platforms.”
The last speaker who shared ways to strengthen the Russian IT industry in domestic and global markets was Andrey Gulidin, Deputy Director of the Business Development Department of Innotech Group:
“The restriction of access to Western software solutions has given a boost to the revolutionary development of domestic technologies. Today, Russian software manufacturing companies, in particular, the Innotech Group, face a very important task: to ensure the technological sovereignty of the country, as well as to focus on building alternative supply chains to neutral and friendly countries.
Our company is actively working in the direction of import substitution. We see that the problem of lack of access to foreign vendors is solved. However, it takes time to overcome it, as well as the joint efforts of all market players, coupled with the support of the public sector. Innotech’s product portfolio already has a number of products that fully work on Russian software, which means they are always available on the territory of our country. For example, the videoconferencing service DION, which complies with international analogues and meets all security requirements.”
Summing up the results of the press conference, Valentin Makarov, President of RUSSOFT, noted that “the capabilities and high professional level of Russian software developers allows us to claim leadership in a New technological paradigm. Now, first of all, the process of software import substitution is taking place in critical infrastructure and in critical processes, where the risk of their shutdown or disruption is especially high. But it is necessary to go further and develop technologies of cyber-physical systems, where Russian products have the prospect of becoming leaders in emerging markets in a new way. These markets are still being formed, which is why now there is a chance to win a place on the world stage. And in this case we cannot do without state support, which is why RUSSOFT has developed a Roadmap for export support measures, which we will present to the regulator in the near future.”
Valentin Makarov also stressed the importance of personnel training and the quality of education, as the need for IT personnel – producers and consumers of new technologies – will definitely grow. He also added that “the sphere of information security in Russia has proved that we can be leaders and export technological sovereignty to other countries. It is on cybersecurity platforms that other Russian applications of a New technological paradigm need to be built and promoted on the global market,” he concluded.