The Russian-Ukrainian crisis has decreased the number of potential clients in this region. With declining demand, representatives of the Russian region have to think about optimization. A fight for survival is seen there at the moment, especially in Russia’s medium and small business environment, said CEO of Digital Economic Development Centre Andris Gailitis in his interview to BNN.
DEAC has been active for more than 15 years, servicing nearly 2,500 clients in more than 40 countries of the world. This company owns the largest and most modern data centre in Baltic States – ‘Riga’ – and the only underground data centre in Eastern Europe – ‘Grīziņkalns’. DEAC offers its clients data storage and processing services, IT resource management, equipment rent and installation and management services.
What are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?
We advance alongside technological development. We are happy technologies continue developing and resources are becoming cheaper and more accessible. We are also happy to receive state support in the form of EU funds. It allows us to do more and explore export regions more actively.
Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?
Russian-Ukrainian crisis definitely affects many businessmen. What we see now is a decline in the number of potential clients in the region. Our clients in Russia are looking for optimization options. Basically what we see now is a fight for survival, especially within Russia’s medium and small businesses.
How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?
Can we really describe fractured and unpredictable behaviour as policy? Businessmen are forced to adapt to the government’s unpredictable tax policy. It’s not the background we usually use for business development. We see a lack in stability. In Latvia, politicians think with today in mind. Problems are resolved only after they become impossible to ignore; there is no vision for the future. If the budget is not 100% complete, it is mended with new taxes. This is unacceptable. Businessmen are regularly forced to adapt to new conditions. This only serves to hinder their development, limit strategic planning and create an unhealthy micro-climate.
How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?
I believe all three Baltic States are more or less on the same level. None of them are particularly unique. Estonia’s IT industry has nothing major or ultra-modern to feel proud of. Each country has its own story of success and more well-known start-up projects. Estonia had Skype – they sold it. Latvia had ask.fm – they sold it.
What can you can call your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?
IT industry has a high added value. This means we can earn rather well using certain resources.
Our ‘Achilles’ heel’ is definitely the lack of people in the industry. Not just in IT, but in the industry in general. It is particularly hardtop find personnel to work on large projects. There is a lack of experienced professionals.
Do you feel there is a lack of skilled workers?
The lack of qualified workers for data centre niche is not the largest problem. Profession in which this problem is sensitive is programmers, including in regard to maintenance of specific software.
What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?
We are currently reorienting our activities for other markets, both because of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and diversification of risks. We expect this year to be stagnant. It is possible that next year will be easier.