The second annual IT Spring conference is over. What are the outcomes and feelings left after the event?…
IT Spring proved that Belarusian IT get-togethers are the events that are really longed for by the community and worth the time spent. IT guys are ready to meet to share and socialize on their topics of interest with the like-minded folks.
We expect quality presentations and bright presenters – and this year the conference gave the floor to many of them. We would no longer tolerate just see-through self-promotion speeches – we’d like to get value. And this value for us is hands-on experience and relevant advice from people who are there in the IT, and who are a success, who know that there is no road to the top without failures, but who are able to play their flops to their own advantage.
Some would say that there were plenty of no-brainers featured in presentations, but come on guys, we are not laymen in the niche and know what turns IT gears. After all, several good no-brainers can be easily converted into one or two brilliant ideas after being reminded of and when given a slightly different perspective to.
The coffee-breaks in-between the speeches oozed a friendly atmosphere and created favourable conditions for networking, and every here and there you would hear the latest IT rumours. The participants were able to continue their conversations and weave business connections.
The overall mood remained responsive and amicable both due to soft skills of the speakers who showed understanding despite all BUTs and TRICKs of Belarusian weather, and the efforts of Oxagile team that hosted the conference in the Spartan conditions.
In general, the event wasn’t all perfect and there is always room for perfection – the lessons were learnt. What we can say for sure is that the conference left us uplifted as we realized that the COLLECTIVE IT BRAIN really rocks!
Where money is in the mobile and how to monetize your apps: myths and reality
Yuri Gursky, Alex Krakovetskyi and Maxim Babich showed us some nice figures and warned that all that glitters is not gold.
• Cross-platform mobile development is often not worth the pain;
• Focus on UX, it’s that very KING in the mobile;
• The mobile is used as a powerful branding tool for consumer companies;
• It’s difficult for a small fish to get noticed by users unlike for brand-name clients;
• Mobile business has a major obstacle these days – marketing costs are getting too high to leverage traditional monetization models;
• Options to get your ROI from mobile apps: freemium, in-app purchasing, in-app ads, paid apps, but better…
• Start working on the backend of your apps and switch to B2B market (as Y.Gursky advised).
Agile and Scrum are in the spotlight
We were ready to roll up our sleeves to pick up the best practices from Agile and Scrum experts, who mentored the audience on how-tos of effective project management. Tatiana Belova, Vladimir Dobrov, Alexey Minkevich, Vladimir Ivanov gave their views of the right project process and management.
While Maxim Dorofeev and Dmitry Maleev threw into the traditional approach some fresh ideas and food for thought.
• If more than 400 000 Chinese make business by earning virtual gold and selling it for real money to gamers, then gamification can work well for managing and motivating IT teams (by Dmitry Maleev);
• Try on the shoes of both a client and an IT team on the contractor’s side to spot where these shoes are tight – do care about the end-users of your software and create Green IT peace, create value (double-sided view of closing IT deals and contracts by Maxim Dorofeev).
How to get money in Outsourcing? Or is it better to go and build your own product
We have witnessed panel discussions with successful outsourcers and product owners (Arkadiy Dobkin, Pavel Obod, Viktar Khamianok), listened to several presentations on how to make money in outsourcing and software product development tips and tricks (Pavel Obod, Steve Mezak, Pavel Kravchenko, Tim Evgrashin, Dmitry Zavalishin).
• You can be successful both as an outsourcer and a product owner, the only thing you need is passion for what you do – interesting projects are hidden within both of these business models.
Be your own boss: startups and freelancing
This topic was elaborated in a session of presentations (Ivan Semizhon, Aleksandr Sorokoumov, Alexey Meandrov, Stas Davydov, Denis Shavruk, Aleksandr Orlov and Slava Pankratov, Serhiy Berezhnyy, and Tom Herman), in hands-on tips from foreign investors (Seth Elliot and John Ason) and a round of startup pitches from Belarusian entrepreneurs and guys, who try to kick-start their own projects (Tripmate, Orderino, Cliqus, Survey 3.0). The round was hosted by a successful Belarusian entrepreneur Mikita Mikado, owner of Quote Roller, and assessed and advised by experienced venture capitalists and angels from the USA.
• Accept the idea that you may fail;
• Focus on a narrow niche – it’s better to be successful with one project than fail with many projects;
• Investors seek for good people: money would rather go to a great team with a mediocre idea than to a bad team with a great idea;
• Do your homework! Show investors that you’ve done research, realized the pain of your users and you are convinced that this pain is not scarce (comprises about 2 users around the world), analyzed your competitors and, in general, paid due attention to the business side of the project;
• Practice, practice and practice! (by Seth Elliot)
Startups Mixer has demonstrated that Belarusian IT scene has a lot of guys with great ideas, but, for now, they often fail to polish the business side of their projects to make them look lucrative and promising for investors. American venture capitalists and angels – experts at Startups Mixer – again have proved that there are major differences in our cultures, regarding our business mindset. Americans have innate dealer’s eye and practical business approach since they are born and raised in the culture of the American dream pursuit and believe that everyone can be an architect of their own fortune, whereas here in Belarus we tend to get enthusiastic about an idea and plunge into the project straight away, discarding such down-to-earth issues as money. Keep it in mind if you want to deep-dive into your own venture.
Budgeting: how to treat your money right
Another round of presentations during our IT hangout was dedicated to the budgeting process with Kirill Golub, Mihail Sorokin, Sergey Dmitriev giving their view on this point.
• Good budgeting is not only about calculations on your side, it’s an art to make your clients believe that they will have a real bargain and value for their money.
We even talked a little bit about our IT dreams with Katherine Lazarevich and Maxim Dorofeev.
• Let’s make our IT world uncluttered, vote for Green IT peace!
• Do not reinvent the bicycle, be honest with your clients, when they ask for another “excel with an extra pair of arms”;
• Eliminate information-for-responsibility exchange chains with a row of god-knows-what-they-are-here-for delegates;
• Be passionate about what you do, because this attitude is contagious and makes you stand out in the crowd when you try to win a project;
• Research the niche of your client since in-depth domain knowledge adds your company extra value in the eyes of your clients;
• Differentiate your client personas and work out custom selling techniques that meet the specific pains of your clients’ profile;
• Use technical knowledge at presell stages if you can;
• Don’t be afraid to be different and invent your own approach to appeal to your clients.
• Small is beautiful
IT Spring 2013 is said to be about money in IT. Honestly, it can be well pronouned to be about Smart IT.
New York’s blossoming startup ecosystem is leveling the US entrepreneurial landscape, becoming another center of tech hangouts. However, NYC startups have a distinguishing characteristic with an air of real-life consumer solutions remaining at the core of their companies. How does this vibrant community relate to the outsourcing trends, when they start the game, seek for investment and pitch their ideas, and then try to hit the market with their startup offspring.
View some really eye-candy infographics with the figures, giving an overview of these 2 phenomena: NYC startups and the future of the outsourcing.
Oracle Corporation has announced the release of solutions Oracle User Productivity Kit 11.0 and Oracle User Productivity Kit Professional 11.0, which ensures faster deployment and implementation of business applications as well as the payback of the investments.
Oracle User Productivity Kit (UPK) and Oracle UPK Professional are simple in use and fully functional platforms for the development of content in the process of implementation and training. Created with the aim of increasing the working productivity and speeding up the process of using the product by end users, they support such applications as Oracle and the applications from other providers as well as the specialized clients’ applications.
Using Oracle UPK Professional, IT development companies are able to create, use jointly and exchange the content at all stages of the software project lifecycle. According to software developers, it will lead to considerable reduction in time expenses on deployment and implementation and in many ways will contribute to the success of an IT-project.
Oracle UPK Professional 11.0 contains the following new features and options:
• Enablement Content that provides a quick start-up for projects and their successful advancement from the very beginning due to the innovative methods of documentation and instruction formation;
• Web-based Knowledge Center that increases the efficiency, evaluates the organizational readiness and contributes to the growth of professional skills and knowledge using the platform for centralized deployment and following the content, as well as for preparing reports;
• improved deployment that accelerates the procedure of content publication using the reviewed publishing wizard.
Moreover, pre-adjusted content for most Oracle Apps included into Oracle UPK and Oracle UPK Professional allows speeding up the development of user’s content since now organizations can easily modify the ready-made library according to their specific requirements. In this case, customers can expect business software development with the account of their needs and, of course, budget.
In the near future cloud computing will drastically contribute to the development of 5 major EU economies (Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the UK). According to the CEBR forecasts this technology is likely to bring €763bn revenue and create 2.4mln jobs in these national markets.
Cloud computing services are becoming commodities – nowadays more and more companies instead of maintaining the whole IT infrastructure choose more lightweight IT solutions. This technology provides IT services on demand via the Internet. Hence, various businesses may opt for serving their IT needs at reduced costs. Companies don’t have to invest wads of cash at once to get an IT solution and, instead, get a monthly subscription for software services and pay for them in installments. In this case a company shifts from a more flexible in-house IT solution to more scalable and powerful cloud computing services.
Currently the U.S. administration is also considering adoption of more cost-effective cloud technology – the Obama’s administration has set a goal to implement fewer proprietary IT projects and take advantage of cloud-based technologies. The federal agencies are to switch to a new system from 2012. For this purpose, US government has given software companies a chance to showcase cloud computing services on its online portal Apps.gov.
Let’s start with our favorite CMS Joomla. By the way, why so many webmasters choose this CMS for their projects? The answer consists of one word, and this word means “accessibility”. So accessibility has made CMS Joomla such a popular one. It is absolutely free of charge. But it does not mean poor quality or lack of functionality. In reality Joomla has incredible functionality and it was made as a software product of high quality.
So Oxagile has created two new fully functional websites and expanded its company portfolio:
CMS Joomla is very logical and consistent, developing software projects you can see it at all levels, starting with installation and finishing with text editing. It simplifies your understanding of how to work with site content.
Outsourcing Association in CEE published its annual report on the state of software development industry in the counties of Central and Eastern Europe. Belarus was rated as the fifth top exporter of IT services.
The volume of IT outsourcing in Belarus amounts 310 million dollars, it is 10 and 50 million dollars greater than in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria (the 6th and the 7th places in the Top-15 respectively). This top list of leaders of IT outsourcing in Central and Eastern Europe looks as follows:
1. Ukraine – 530 million dollars,
2. Romania – 410 million dollars,
3. Hungary – 375 million dollars,
4. Poland – 350 million dollars, 5. Belarus – 310 million dollars,
6. Czech Republic – 300 million dollars,
7. Bulgaria – 250 million dollars,
8. Serbia – 157 million dollars,
9. Estonia – 105 million dollars,
10. Slovakia – 90 million dollars,
11. Lithuania – 55 million dollars,
12. Croatia – 50 million dollars,
13. Moldova – 30 million dollars,
14. Latvia – 27 million dollars,
15. Slovenia – 14 million dollars.
It’s a noteworthy fact that Gartner analysts did not include Belarus in the Top-30 best IT outsourcing countries last year. And at the same time they included Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic taking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th positions in Top-15 of CEEOA.