Minsk Programmer Goes Global

The Russia Journal features Sergei Levteev, IBA CEO, in Minsk Programmer Goes Global

Sergei Levteev, CEO of International Business Alliance (IBA), a powerful IT service provider that offers a wide range of services across the globe.

“Aiming for international recognition, IBA [has] modified its business processes, infrastructure, project management and quality-assurance systems. Today, IBA boasts qualified staff, state-of-the-art infrastructure and mature quality assurance system.”

“Customers who have had the positive experience of working with our company would never believe the negative newspaper claims about Russia or Belarus, that our countries are so backward that people still travel by horse-drawn cart.”


On the modern Russian IT industry

Russian IT companies are growing very fast, and consequently, fetching a substantial increase in profits. A typical example of this impressive growth is International Business Alliance (IBA). In 1993, it employed fewer than 10 people, but by 2004, the workforce has increased to over 1,300. According to international standards, however, even a company of this size is not large enough as only companies with over 2,000 employees are well positioned on the international IT markets. This is because no rational customer will entrust a long-term project to a company with a few dozen programmers – orders from major clients are absolutely out of the question. Therefore, we believe that several more large-sized companies will appear on the Russian market in the near future. There is no alternative.

On clients’ trust and its role in enhancing an IT company’s size and market penetration

To be successful, a company requires a high degree of trust. According to international experts, the degree of trust is directly related to the company’s size and market penetration. If a company is a major player in the industry, it is likely to gain more trust and recognition. Large-sized companies strengthen their market presence by extensive advertising campaigns and partner programs throughout the world, thus achieving competitive positioning on the market. As for and the CIS, a typical IT service provider is a small team of less than 100 employees. We expect that the market will urge the formation of large-scale enterprises.

As for market penetration, Russian IT companies are still quite young to be able to achieve deep market penetration. However, extensive marketing and PR activities by Russian companies and associations favor the advancement of Russian IT services in the international marketplace and are opening great opportunities for their cooperation with world IT leaders.

On a positive business image

To stand out above the competition, it is essential that Russian IT companies create and maintain a positive company and country business image. Business image is extremely important for customers who have many choices in deciding where to spend their money. Cultivating a successful image is a long-lasting process that requires building relationships with customers, even if they are continents away.

Russian IT companies need to overcome obstacles that range from business size to location, from difference in mentality to language barrier, and from insufficient project management skills to underdeveloped infrastructure.

On differences in business mentality

In the early 1990s, the differences in mentality between local and Western businesspeople were so huge that they seemed to be worlds apart. But today, the situation is cardinally different. Aiming for international recognition, IBA [has] modified its business processes, infrastructure, project management and quality-assurance systems. Today, IBA boasts qualified staff, state-of-the-art infrastructure and mature quality assurance system. IBA holds DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 Certificates and is at SEI Process Maturity Level 4. Customers who have had the positive experience of working with our company would never believe the negative newspaper claims about or , that our countries are so backward that people still travel by horse-drawn cart.

On Russian IT educational superiority

We need to determine why we are better in competition. Russian programmers are well known for their innovative abilities and scientific background. To maintain these qualities and use them to our advantage, we need to further promote the high technical and scientific skills of Russian, Belarussian, and Ukrainian programmers. Also, we need to start proving day-by-day that we are reliable partners who are available at short notice and capable of providing high-quality service with a strong concern for customer satisfaction. We need to strengthen the self-confidence of our IT companies by identifying and promoting their best practices globally and by reinforcing and popularizing the achievements of people and organizations in Russia, Belarus and other CIS countries.

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