|Ravi Sachdeva. Source: Press Photo|
What has changed in the Russian IT market over the past two years? Has the economic crisis had a major impact?
Undoubtedly, the crisis has affected the IT market to some extent. It is a consumer business. I think the biggest problem is that the perception of Russia in the world has changed. There has been a lot of negative input about Russia. In the IT sector, there are two lines: product development and services. As an Indian, living in Russia, I can see the situation from a certain angle. For over 12 years, our company has been preparing IT personnel in several Russian regions. IT is a franchise business. As the revenues dropped, and the political situation affected the prices, all together it made an impact on the IT market.
What measures should be taken to reduce the negative impact of the crisis on the IT sector?
Media plays a significant role in any country. Russia has strong experts on crisis recovery, who are trying to influence the situation and minimize the damage. But for the potentially interested foreign businessmen who are outside Russia, it is difficult to see the objective situation in the country behind all the negative input of the media. IT is the area that is directly or indirectly related to the other industries. Thus, if the crisis affects other areas, it is felt in the IT market.
Can economic difficulties affect the prospects of bilateral cooperation in the field of IT?
While the strength of the Indian IT industry consists primarily in the services, Russian IT specialists are traditionally known for developing high quality products. In this sense, Russia and India complement each other, and there are prospects for cooperation. The problem is that in Russia there are a number of various regulations that must be respected. Also, I believe, more Indian professionals should be welcomed to the Skolkovo business park, since they are under-represented there.
How does your company cope with the crisis?
We have gone through several crises, and every crisis made us stronger. We must proceed from the fact that in this situation we are dealing with the market in recession, and act accordingly. But even in such a difficult situation, we still hold on to people and don't downsize our staff as for the IT business a good team means a lot. We are also adapting our marketing policy to the situation. In particular, we are focusing more on online advertising and contextual advertising.
What are the current trends in the Russian IT market?
IT is a very dynamic field. It is constantly evolving. And I never tire of admiring the talent of Russian IT specialists. When I compare the situation in Russia with over 5 other countries that I work with, Russia has always ranked first, despite the competition of Eastern European countries. The general trend is that Russia has it all to be self-sufficient in the field of IT. We visited a number of Russian regions in recent years - Yekaterinburg in April, and Novosibirsk last month, and we are happy to see how they are developing cooperation with India, particularly in the training of IT specialists.
(This interview was condensed and edited for clarity)
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.