The Business Year

Alexey Reshtenko

Country Manager, Microsoft

We see a great potential in the SME market due to the changing IT landscape as a result of cloud technology. Up until recently, high-level solutions and services were only affordable to large enterprises; however, thanks to the cloud paradigm, every business can use the same level of services and solutions. It is cost effective, meaning there is no need to build local infrastructure to buy services and pay for people to maintain them. There are some attractive offers for medium-sized businesses where they can pay $18 a month for one user. Microsoft doesn’t sell directly, meaning this is just an estimation. This price includes Office, and the entire exchange link infrastructure, as well as email solutions, and it allows people to use Office on five different devices. These are flexible solutions, and give SMEs software that before was only available to large businesses. It also gives us the opportunity for our business and the IT industry as a whole to grow. Kazakhstan is developing rapidly. It is currently not at the same level as Slovenia, Germany, or France, for example, but it is progressing quickly. You cannot compete in the global economy without having strong IT infrastructure. There is nothing bad in being a follower because Kazakhstan can observe and avoid the mistakes other countries have made in the development of their IT infrastructure.

Oleg Bibik

CIS Managing Director, RBC Group

The RBC Group was founded in 1990 when the territories of the CIS were still within the Soviet Union. The company grew in Russia, and in 1994 had its first client in Kazakhstan; a solar company that needed modern Western accounting software. Our company now sells the license for Western software solutions for business purposes, such as accounting, purchasing inventory, and effective sales, as well as human capital management and budgeting. We are partners with Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and Infor, as well as other vendors, including QlikView. The Kazakhstan office was established in 1999 and, until 2007, grew by around 30% to 50% annually. Meanwhile, the market, as we see it, has stagnated—it is not growing, but neither is it going down. That is the general situation. Some companies are growing, some are dying, and, in general, our business is not growing as it did before. The main industry for us is oil and gas, and practically 80% of our revenue derives from this sector of the economy.

Maxim Lamskov

Managing Director, Maxim Lamskov

The SAP university alliance is a long-term strategic investment. It is not aimed at gaining any profit this year or next year, but by employing this alliance, we are striving for long-term success and cooperation in working with Kazakh companies, our clients, and partners toward the development of the IT market and state economy. Unfortunately, the demand for skilled personnel grows faster than the actual supply, meaning at SAP, and with our alliance, we are trying to satisfy this demand. That is typical not only with SAP solutions, but in general in the IT sector and the entire CIS. We have already signed an agreement with two universities, the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU) and the International University of Information Technologies. At the end of 2013, the International University of Information Technologies introduced the first academic certification center for IT specialists. We also plan to launch a distance-learning center for IT students. It will be called SAP ERP4students. SAP has conducted over 100 different seminars and workshops in Russia and the CIS. As a result, 47 universities participated in those workshops and over 1,700 people were introduced to SAP solutions and products. Participation in these programs in the CIS, and specifically Kazakhstan, will allow us to lay the foundations for the future development of the IT sector.

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