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January 26, 2011

Bringing Russian IT Up to Speed

Nicole Hemsoth

This week in The Moscow Times, Accenture Russia’s Vadim Pestun produced a thought-provoking editorial on the future of Russian IT following decades of economic and social upheaval and the possibilities that are opening both within the country as well as on the outsourcing of IT fronts.

Pestun states that “Russia’s adoption of IT, as of so much from abroad, has not been a one-off wholesale transplant of foreign know-how into the Russian context. It has involved—and continues to involve—characteristics particular to our nation and historical development.”

Following the end of the Cold War and new paradigm for market activity, Russia undertook a game of technological “catch-up” but as Pestun reminds, this catching up took place during a time of incredible upheaval and chaos. Software developers were rushing to fill new gaps in the market and consultancies emerged with only shreds of practical advice to present. Accordingly, he argues, a great deal of the still developing IT marketplace reverted into “cronyism and no-bid tenders…compounding an already lamentable situation.”

Russia’s legacy in IT is rooted in what Pestun calls “palpable disruption, ill-advised projects, questionable business justifications and poor interconnectivity, resulting in an uncompetitive market.”

While this sounds like quite a bit of doom and gloom, Pestun says there is light on the horizon, which is due in part to the financial meltdown that has caused IT decision makers affected to ponder how they manage technology projects.

In addition to a number of other signs of hope for Russian IT, Pestun sees cloud computing as one of the elements of hope around the bend. Still there is a connectivity problem that is preventing the country from fully realizing the benefits.

As Pestun states, “implementation of such a system [cloud computing] on a national basis would need a high-speed, reliable connectivity backbone in place, either on the basis of fiber-optics or satellite technology. Also, either automated or semi-automated mechanisms would need to be in place to support the technology with minimum human input.”

Despite these issues, which also include security, privacy and reliability, Pestun contends that there is “no more robust methodology by which Russia can fully catch up, optimize its IT processes as a nation, and get on with the issues of doing business in the modern world.”

Full story at The Moscow Times

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