IT Technology Support

Nikolay Pryanishnikov, President / Microsoft Russia

A financial crisis is a difficult but very interesting time. On the one hand, a complicated economic situation is a serious test for most companies. On the other hand, it represents a wonderful possibility to demonstrate professionalism, to optimize processes, to raise operational effectiveness and as a result of all these things, to improve the market position.

Can information technology help companies to survive challenging times, and how does their development influence economics as a whole?

In circumstances of tight cash flow, control of the business, especially of finances, assumes paramount importance. Management today needs to clearly understand what is happening in the company, and for this full and credible reporting, of all indicators, is required. It is extremely important, especially in the financial sector. For example, one of the largest Russian banks uses around 50 analytical methods for statistical reporting. Previously, the generation of a report for a single date took up to 20 minutes of data processing, while annual report development required up to 6 hours. A new solution for data collection and analysis brought a qualitatively new level — the management of the bank now receives reports in real-time.

Enterprise resource planning and business intelligence solutions are not only for large corporations, but for small and medium businesses as well. For these companies, a fast implementation is particularly important, as well as a rapid return on investment. The service company Computer Technologies implemented an express business solution in a branch office in just six days. The financial situation in the company has significantly improved due to better control of debtors: the volume of the accounts receivable was two-times decreased.

In a crisis situation, corporate cost reduction is no less important. I shall give examples from the practice of our company. We decided to optimize travel and communication expenses by introducing Unified Communications technology, and we are saving more than $2 million dollars yearly as a result. Even better, productivity not only did not fall but actually grew, and further, the employees gained the possibility to work from home.

A crisis resembles natural selection — the strongest survive. That is why it is crucial for companies to raise their operational effectiveness. IT systems help to increase productivity, and save management and staff time: Russian IKEA reduced the burden of order-processing operations for their network by 30 percent, as well as improved the decision-making process.

To optimize the work process with clients, to analyze sales and to focus on the most profitable segments are important for companies at all times. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can drive sales growth even in economically unstable circumstances. Fosborn Home achieved its growth strategy due to the automation. The quantity of issued mortgages grew more than 5 times, and the company reached 5 percent of the mortgage market of Moscow. And from the start of 2009, despite negative trends on the market of real assets, Fosborn Home reliably manages to improve on indicators: in the first quarter, growth levels of 30-35 percent a month were reached.

Thus, information technology supports the development of companies even in complex economic situations. They help to optimize business processes, increase the labor capacity, reduce expenses and grow, driving up competitiveness.