Archive

No. 1, 2005


IN THE ORBIT OF HIGH TECHNOLOGIES


Oil of Russia magazine talks to Tagir Yapparov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC IT

Q: Mr. Chairman, JSC IT is to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. How would you comment on the company's performance over the period?

A: We are working in a country that is changing before our very eyes. Under the consequences, we have established a company without drawing any outside investments and relying solely on our staff's professionalism and enthusiasm. We have been and remain a self-made company.

In 1991, we employed 15, and today we are a group of companies with a staff of over 1,000. The group engages in practically all the main lines of information technologies business: systems integration and consulting, commercial software production and distribution, expert personnel training.

The spectrum of services and solutions our company has to offer covers practically the entire range of our customers' requirements in the sphere of automation. Over its years in business, the company has carried out thousands of projects many of them unprecedented in the Russian market, such as the electronic document management system of the RF Federal Revenue Service (RFFRS EDMS). This is Russia's largest electronic document management system used by about 17,000 clients nationwide. Our customers include hundreds of leading Russian businesses. We have built up a far-flung regional infrastructure with a view to offering our clients the best value for money options and bringing local human resources within their reach to provide for quality services in personnel training and information system introduction and support locally. The company started out with two representative offices, and now its branch network has spread nationwide and even spilled over into other countries. Today, the IT company's regional network embraces practically all major industrial centers of Russia as well as Ukraine and Kazakhstan. With our 19 representative offices in Russia and the CIS, we guarantee a prompt and efficient fulfillment of orders from any large organization with territorially-distributed branch networks.

Q: Who are your main clients as of today?

A: This is our 15th year in the market. Over these years the company has had the privilege of cooperating with hundreds of Russia's leading companies in various spheres of business. Our major clients of many years' standing are joint-stock companies LUKOIL, TNK-BP, RUSAL, Bashneft, Irkutskenergo, Uralmashzavod, MTS, Rostelekom, Savings Bank of the Russian Federation and federal agencies - the RF Federal Revenue Service and the RF Pension Fund, in particular.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the outlook for the further progress of information technologies in Russia and, specifically, in its fuel and energy complex?

A: To my mind, the corporate information technologies systems market in Russia should proceed along the lines of a more definite sectoral specialization. Most of the large Russian organizations have now found themselves in a situation where emphasis in the sphere of information technologies application is being shifted to solving production management and sector-specific process automation problems. Obviously, this trend is having a serious effect on the requirements made on information technologies services and solutions providers and, in the final analysis, forms an entirely new market and competitive environment.

Seeking to meet their clients' current requirements, the players in the corporate market of information technologies are actively promoting vertical expert analysis, creating specialized solutions for specific sectors. Actually, an in-depth sectoral analysis provides an important competitive edge in today's market. In my opinion, this fact is an obvious sign of Russia's information technologies market reaching maturity and advancing to a higher development level.

In our country, the fuel and energy complex is regarded, not without reason, as one of the most progressive and serious users of information technologies. Incidentally, investigations done within the framework of the iOne

project have revealed that in 2003 our fuel and energy companies'(FEC) expenses on information technologies constituted about 1.6% of the companies' overall turnover as against less than 0.8% in the production sector.

It is hardly surprising that oilmen set such great store by information technologies. First of all, information technologies help provide efficient solutions to most production problems. For example, the need for geological information systems (GIS) is already taken for granted today. Paradoxically, enormous investments made towards their promotion return a substantial saving on oil and gas prospecting. Secondly, oil companies are, for the most part, territorially distributed entities engaged in multiple activities (production, refining, marketing, transportation). The management of such complex production and technological facilities presupposes the use of sophisticated information systems.

I think that from the viewpoint of information technology consumption quality and structure FEC companies are approaching world standards. The companies of that sector always opt for the best solutions and the best providers. For example, practically all the FEC companies have opted for mySAP.com, one of the best ERP solutions. Incidentally, our country's first ERP projects were initiated by oil companies.

These companies cooperate with our leading providers of information technology services, as a rule, and we consider it a privilege to work with most Russian oil companies.

Q: Could you dwell on your solutions intended for the FEC companies?

A: We have offered them a specialized solution for the automation of petroleum product retailing - the IT-Oil software package which has already given a good account of itself in a number of projects over the past few years and gone down well with our clients. Initially a non-cash settlement system adapted to the needs of filling stations and complexes, the IT-Oil package gradually developed into an oil business processes management system which, in particular, effects non-cash settlements using smart cards. By now, our solution has found successful applications in companies like JSC TNK-Ukraina, JSC Beibars, JSC Stavneft, JSC Surgutneftegaz and others. An array of projects is being carried out on its basis. Back in 1998, the solution provided the groundwork for the LICard non-cash settlement system now employed by LUKOIL.

We have been working with the LUKOIL Group for a decade now. Our cooperation has gone all the way from the grassroots to head-office level. Projects kept gaining in scale. It is noteworthy that our cooperation has undergone qualitative evolution. Let me explain: we all realize full well that a company's client appeal depends chiefly on the competitiveness of the services and solutions it offers and on project implementation quality. Therefore, we are trying to keep our quality standards as high as we can and go all out to make our clients happy. Client focus is our philosophy which underlies our cooperation with the LUKOIL Group.

On the whole, the spectrum of our services and solutions makes it possible to maintain the entire life cycle of the information system - analysis, design planning, research and development, system installation, personnel training, technical support. An extensive line of the company's products and services is meant to support clients' business at all levels of corporate governance and embraces practically all the key business processes: production, finance, asset management, budget planning, data consolidation and analysis, human resources and document management, etc.

We offer our clients solutions from the world's leading business automation systems designers - Cognos, Microsoft, MRO Software, Oracle, SAP, as well as products of our own making: the BOSS-Kadrovik human resources management system, the BOSS-Referent electronic document management system, the IT-Oil petroleum marketing automation management system. The company has developed unique expert consultation software packages - in the sphere of personnel management, for example.

Besides, we have created a technology for the realization and management of ramified territorially-distributed projects which has repeatedly proved its usefulness in action. It made possible a prompt implementation of the above-mentioned RFFRS EDMS - a project which had appeared to be too cumbersome to be put to practical use - in all the 89 subjects of the Russian Federation. That was achieved thanks largely to the creation of a specialized program for distant user instruction and a centralized project implementation monitoring system. Moreover, such projects demonstrate the most obvious advantages of our regional network which helps cut down on customers' expenses involved in system installation and maintenance.

And here is another thing worth mentioning here. Now that most major companies, oil ones included, are past all the stages of building up the infrastructure, creating, selecting and adjusting corporate applications' master systems, many clients are proceeding to the stage of introducing these systems in all their branches on a company or holding company level. We have developed a knowhow for installing information systems at all the subdivisions of companies of any size and distribution scale. The knowhow features a diversified approach to the formation of project implementation teams and to user instruction, and provides for an active utilization of local resources with a view to cutting the cost of such projects without any loss in quality.

Q: What are the IT company's plans and prospects for 2005-2006?

A: Never content with its past achievements, the company is aspiring to new heights. We are working with big and medium corporate clients and tailoring our strategy to their changing requirements. Today, we are all set to meet the FEC's and other clients' growing demand for high-tech sectoral solutions, information system replication or wireless network creation, and for services like distant training, information system support and attendance. I consider the corporate data storage market and corporate assets management applications as extremely interesting and promising uses of information technologies, and we are going to focus on them in the immediate future.




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Oil of Russia, No. 1, 2005
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