Does Russia need support from national software developers? Once upon a time in Russia


    Own or alien?

    For the 15th year, my company has been developing software . We sit in St. Petersburg, specializing in corporate content management systems (ECM), the flagship product is STOR-M, on the basis of which electronic archives, electronic libraries and corporate databases of regulatory and technical documents are built. We, like many Russian companies, whose main market is Russia, are selfishly interested in supporting our products at the state level. Today they talk and write a lot about import substitution, support from Russian developers, possibly at their own expense (tithing from software sales). I want to share my vision of the situation, discuss the issues that have arisen.

    How is this done with them?

    But before defending “friends,” you need to identify them and install the Friend or Foe recognition system.

    Curious case

    Having decided to seize the opportunity and curb the wave of increased attention to Russian software, we wrote another press release on the topic of import substitution and, as usual, sent it out and hung it on all industry sites.

    Some time later, a letter came from a PR specialist at ELAR demanding that the product mention of the German company Saperion AG be removed from the text. The message was duplicated in some forums where our news was posted. In order not to violate the confidentiality of correspondence, here is a copy of a message from the forum of the Federal Archival Agency:

    Any misconception is based on a lack or false information. In order not to be mistaken by ourselves and not to confuse people, we decided to understand the situation, since the background is a long history and the information loop for this product (s) is quite long. I didn’t have to look for a particularly long time - here is the information from the Public Procurement Portal on procurement from Gazprom Inform Limited Liability Company

    We read the name of the purchase: “Provision of services for standard technical support of the SAPERION software of the Gazprom Electronic Archive system for the needs of Gazprom inform” (681 / Ginform / 14-2.1-3235 / 26.06.14 / ZEPGOS). The tender documentation expressly states that the Bidder must have the right to distribution and technical support from the producer of the basic software SAPERION "Saperion AG", present documents confirming the Bidder's right to distribution and technical support from the manufacturer of the basic software SAPERION "Saperion AG" , show the Participant’s employee certificates issued by the SAPERION software manufacturer for the right to perform installation, configuration and technical support.

    Comments, as they say, are unnecessary. It is clear that the German SAPERION is taking place in the Russian market, and the Electronic Archive Corporation, anticipating the current market situation, tried to react in advance by registering the corresponding “domestic” software.

    Domestic software, what kind of beast is this?

    Before arguing with market partners and defending their position, it was necessary to determine the subject area. As it turned out, there are many blank spots and unresolved problems and incidents.
    The task of supporting the domestic software product, at least during public procurement, by the country's leadership was set before the relevant ministries at the beginning of 2012. Now, in connection with the sanctions, some kind of movement has begun. So, in a hurry, professional associations (Russoft, NAIRIT, ARPP “Fatherland software” and others) propose various definitions and criteria for “domestic producer and its software” to the State Duma.

    Let's look at the basic concepts proposed for adoption at the legislative level:

    1. Russian manufacturer.
    a. Russian legal entity - a tax resident of the Russian Federation in which at least 51 (fifty-one) percent of the shares in the authorized capital or shares, derivatives and other corporate control instruments belong to:
    - Russian citizens or a Russian citizen permanently residing in the Russian Federation and do not have dual citizenship
    - Russian Federation
    - the subject of the Russian Federation
    - Russian municipalities,
    - the Russian public law company (your country of ennoy corporations, public companies, etc.),
    - the Russian state or municipal unitary enterprises and institutions; and / or
    b. Russian legal entity, which is a Russian state or municipal unitary enterprise and institution, a Russian public law company (state corporation, state company and so on); and / or
    c. Russian Federation, constituent entity of the Russian Federation, Russian municipality; and / or
    d. individual - a citizen and tax resident of the Russian Federation permanently residing in the territory of the Russian Federation and not having dual citizenship; and / or
    e. individual - a citizen and tax resident of the Russian Federation and an individual entrepreneur permanently residing in the territory of the Russian Federation and not having dual citizenship ”;

    2. Russian IT product
    Exclusive rights all over the world and for the whole term belong to the Russian manufacturer (see above). The product does not contain components that require royalties to foreign companies or their subsidiaries registered in the Russian Federation.
    Source - Russoft Association website

    My opinion

    - Total import substitution is bad , competition must take place. The consumer should have a wide selection. Someone loves AvtoVAZ products, while someone prefers and has the opportunity to buy a “German” so it should be with software.
    - The lack of strong competitors weakens the developerand slows down the development of the market. There is no need to run, no one to catch up and overtake. I am grateful to my foreign and Russian competitors. Some teach us: for example, we have a joint academic program with EMC Documentum: a course on “Corporate Content Management (ECM)”, which I teach to bachelors and masters of the Department of Automation and Control Processes, St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”. I have not yet encountered a more comprehensive training course at any Russian provider of ECM solutions. I talked about this in my article “ How electronic document management is taught in a technical university ”. Other competitors show where to dig and where the fish are.
    - Support for public procurement of national developments is needed. I am sure that the product of my company is not worse than the more well-developed foreign ones and we confirm this not only with press releases, but also with implemented projects.

    Sailors have questions

    How do you think:

    1. Will they be considered domestic companies that, in order to protect the business, have removed their assets abroad?
    2. Will a register of domestic software products be created in industry departments? How would this happen?
    3. How will companies prove the “domesticity” of the delivered solution and who will make the appropriate decision?
    4. How will companies prove the “irrelevance” of competitive decisions, as in our case with Maperion? Is it possible to appeal to a substantial revision of the original foreign software to determine the country of origin, as is the case with goods?
    5. But what if a company used a small paid foreign library or a proprietary DBMS when developing its software?
    6. Will the introduction of appropriate amendments to laws that support the support of domestic IT manufacturers in the procurement of goods, works or services (without reviewing those that have already taken place) become a driver for the development of domestic software?
    7. And the last thing I wanted to hear, colleagues. What product do you release? Are you ready to replace any foreign analogue with them and do you need support for this (state, business, someone else)?

    Like all the past 15 years, I used to rely on myself, colleagues, partners and clients and not really rely on the help of the state, but if she comes I would like her to be real, effective and timely.

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