The 2016 SME looking to scale and perhaps even globalise is faced with many challenges – not least in resource management that will enable such growth. Despite a healthy company's best wishes and best efforts, the ability to fund a professional and experienced in-house development team is simply not possible on the small margins that many startups are forced to work with in the complexities of the modern business world.
However, in the digital age there is always a solution to overcome such would-be barriers, and when a company cannot raise the resources necessary to facilitate its expansion plans on its own soil, then it is to outsourcing it turns to find the answer.
Why outsourcing development to Russia favours fortune
Many destinations have tried to claim their stake as being a hotbed of quality development over the past decade or more. Few, however, truly deserve to feature in global consciousness as being so.
This is why Russia is fast becoming one of the most favoured locations in the world to outsource software development. Whilst parts of Asia, the Far East and other parts of Eastern Europe have undeniably managed to put themselves on the map as locations to seek cheap development, the business world has quickly learned that in the end you get what you pay for.
Cheaply produced software inevitably comes at much greater costs to a company. Inefficient end-products do untold damage to productivity, efficiency, and, ultimately, loss of reputation in niche markets – none of which, of course, is sustainable in competitive business environments.
Cutting through this international turmoil, Russia has increasingly succeeded in manoeuvring itself into one of the top positions in the world for attracting all sorts of SME and corporate clients with all sorts of development and expansion needs. And the reason is clear and simple: outsourcing software development to Russia – especially compared to the US, Australia and Western Europe – is still a cost-effective endeavour, but comes with the absolute assurance that end-products are of superior quality, that business relationships are secured, and that the complex technical problems of expansion that companies face are wholeheartedly solved.
“Most Indian firms are very process-focused and, if something can be ‘template-ized’, then that's very good. Things like Six Sigma and ISO are part of their DNA, but that doesn't lend itself to innovation. For innovation, testing new ground with new software, Russia is a good place.”
Highly skilled engineers hailing from world-leading universities
The building of highly-efficient software of course is only achievable by the hands and brains of highly-skilled engineers – and the Russian education system produces these individuals in abundance.
Russia is renowned the world-over for its achievements in the applied sciences such as maths and physics, and has, over the years, built up its reputation for producing IT specialists of equal merit.
“The information technology (IT) outsourcing industry in Russia is one of the few non-natural resource sectors of the Russian economy that is actively participating in world markets on its own terms in a competitive way, Russia's IT industry is very entrepreneurial and, by and large, has grown up outside the old Soviet institutions as a new phenomenon beginning in the early 1990s.”
In that time, the Russian education system has been producing an increasing wealth of IT and development specialists. Russian universities usually win 50% of the TOP 10 places at International Inter-collegiate Programming Contests, beating MIT, Harvard, and Cal Poly.
Efficient development costs
Outsourcing development is a decision that is taken almost invariably for reasons of cost. The relatively low labour costs that can be sought in Russia, however, come in favourable combination with the superior skill sets that Russian developers offer.
When this is considered in conjunction with the stability of the Russian economy, the country's large market size and its high education standards, Russia shines as a true beacon of value when outsourcing development.
Small culture gap with western world and good English skills
Compared to the likes of India and China, the culture gap between Russia and the rest of the Westernised world is very small. Similar histories, similar priorities and similar ways of life all contribute to great understanding and sympathies with Western culture, which forges a great basis for lasting business relationships.
In addition, the English speaking skills of Russian graduates are exceptionally high. Russia recognises English as the global business language, and, as such, has placed greater emphasis on the teaching of English from an earlier age in Russian schools through to university level. Language barriers can of course be a huge problem when outsourcing to destinations far and wide – but with Russia there is no such problem, and when combined with the small culture gap, makes the country once again an excellent location to outsource development.
Favourable geography and time zone
Another great advantage that Russia holds over competing outsourcing locations – especially the likes of India and China – is its geographical proximity and time zone similarities with the West. Russian business hours in the latter parts of the day even coincide with those in the US, making for much more convenient communications and business transactions.
And when it comes to other European countries, the time zone similarities are even more favourable. The proximity to the major technology centres in St. Petersburg and Moscow means that business hours are only 2–3 hours apart, providing ongoing ready support and convenience for all of Russia's international clients in these parts of the world.