We are helping companies to automate their processes for fast growth
CEO and Founder of AnaSOFT Solutions
- IT Expert
- 20 years in Software development, Project management, and Business automation
- Degrees in Mathematics and Finance.
- Project Management Professional (PMP©)
- Specialist in Finance (RAS, IFRS, GAAP), Accounting, IT management
- Authorized Partner for UAE of 1Ci Company
- Certificates from 1C and ACCA
Interview for Rise Speaking Club for 1C People
Interviewer: Welcome to Rise Speaking Club for 1C People. My name is Yury Titov, I’m Rise 1C Academy trainer. This time we are going to discuss some distinctive features of conducting business in UAE with our special guest, CEO of AnaSOFT Solutions, Anna Koryakovskaya. Good evening, Anna! Thank you for coming!
Anna Koriakovskaia: Good evening! Thank you for inviting me.
Interviewer: Tell us about yourself a little. What do you do in 1C sphere? What did you start with?
Anna Koriakovskaia: My name is Anna. I am an owner of AnaSOFT Solutions company, the 1C partner in the UAE. I have been working with 1C software for more than 18 years. I have degrees in Mathematics and Finance. I started as a programmer. After that, I was invited to work for Ford Motor Company as a Finance Systems Analyst. And my last position in Russia was a Project Manager and I worked for the biggest construction company in Saint Petersburg. So, I can say that I have gone through all the steps of the career ladder in this area. And last year I successfully passed the PMP exam and now I am preparing for the ACCA certification.
Interviewer: We wish you a good luck! But why UAE? How long have you been in this country? How would you describe the current state of the IT Market?
Anna Koriakovskaia: To be honest, I never planned to leave Russia. It was a spontaneous decision. In 2015, I got a job offer from the company that had a branch in the United Arab Emirates. It gave me an opportunity to try myself in a new country. After 1 year of living in Dubai I decided to establish my own company.
Dubai is an attractive place to start your own business. There are many government programs, especially in IT industry. But at the same time, this market is extremely competitive. Thousands of companies from all over the world are represented here and almost all world software vendors have their offices here.
In Russia, 1C is the key product and the client chooses only a suitable contractor. Here you compete with thousands of IT companies who, just like you, believe that their product is the best.
And another important point, here, in UAE, there are only subsidiaries of foreign companies and they use the software of their own head offices. Therefore, it is very difficult to offer our products to such companies, since decisions are made in the head offices in other countries.
Interviewer: What solutions do you sell? Which of them are the most popular?
Anna Koriakovskaia: When I established the company, 1C had not yet offered standard solutions for the international market. Therefore, I developed my own solution 1C ERP Prime based on Small Business. ERP Prime is specifically designed for the UAE market and considers the requirements of national legislation. Now I offer ERP Prime as well as 1C:Drive and 1C:ERP. But, as in any market, solutions that consider local specifics are more popular.
Interviewer: Tell us, please, about your first sale in UAE. How was it?
Anna Koriakovskaia: My first customer is still my customer by the way. I’ve been working with them for 4 years already. How did I get them? Michael, the Managing Director, just sent me a request via my website. It was about 11 pm. I saw the request and immediately replied to him. It impressed him a lot. This company works in a specialized industry and for its work they needed more than normal customization. They had tried many solutions and vendors, but only with me and 1C they found exactly what they needed. I used 1C ERP Prime as a basis and developed the Task Management module according to their requirements. It took 3 months only and of course, they did not expect to get a completed result in such a short time. I continue working with them, because their business is constantly growing, and new ideas for automation are appearing.
Of course, after this project other clients came to AnaSOFT. This year AnaSOFT won a tender of Gazprom Neft Middle East for supplying 1C software.
And a couple of weeks ago we successfully completed the large project for an American oil company.
Interviewer: What are the distinctive features of conducting business in UAE?
Anna Koriakovskaia: First of all, you know that there are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, it is always necessary to consider some cultural differences. Business etiquette in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) involves a courtship between distinct cultures, each with its own set of mores, customs, and cultural protocols. Your business success depends on you being sensitive and respectful of the culture you are working in.
The second important point is that here you train your patience. I will explain why. Business deals take time - a lot more time than they do in Russia - because approval times can be quite time consuming. You can wait for months or even years to finalize a deal. The client can call with the final approval in a few months, but at the same time he will talk as if your last meeting was yesterday. It was hard for me to get used to that at first. But now I understand that this is just a local feature.
Don’t forget that the UAE is a Muslim country, so conservative dress is a must. I saw a sales manager in one company who held several meetings with clients every day, but none of the meetings ended with the signing of a contract. One of the reasons was the wrong clothes.
In the UAE, business is also based on relationships. The initial meeting is a time for both parties to get acquainted. Businesspeople want to know who they’re dealing with. Emiratis have always placed great emphasis on the strength of personal connections, and they realize that it takes time to build up relationships. In fact, many of them establish informal relationships, before letting them grow to a professional level. That is why it’s recommended to prepare for a lot of casual chatting and socializing before getting down to business.
Finally, if you want to work here, forget about Russian business practices. Take time to learn about local culture and behavior rules. After you have lived in this country for several years, it seems to me that you can already find a mutual understanding with any person easily.
Interviewer: How many employees does your company have? Are you looking for specialists to join your team? I think that our audience would be glad to know this information.
Anna Koriakovskaia: Currently we have no open vacancies but the company is constantly growing and new projects require high-level specialists. Therefore, we are open for cooperation.
Interviewer: What recommendations would you give to 1c partners who plan to go to an international market?
- I’d like to note that you need to learn more about the country you are going to move to, about cultural and national traditions, about the specifics of doing business.
- Engage professionals. When you come to a foreign country, you don't have much time. One professional in your team will lead you to success much faster than 10 interns.
- Gather as much information as possible about the major players in your market.
- And of course, if you are planning to sell 1C, remember that no one outside Russia knows about this platform. Yes, we know our solution is the best. But you will spend a large amount of time convincing your customers of this.
- Remember that you are risking not only your reputation, but also the vendor's reputation.
Interviewer: As for developers, architectures, consultants and other 1C specialists who want to try themselves on an international market, what recommendations would you give them?
- To get started, become a desirable specialist in your country. Don't limit yourself to learning just one technology. The world needs flexible specialists.
- Learn foreign languages.
- Realize that outside Russia the competition is high not only in business, but also in employment. Usually several thousand candidates apply for a single vacancy. Therefore, you really need to become a unique specialist in order to make a career abroad.
- And one more important practical tip. When you read overseas job advertisements, research the cost of living in each specific country. The salary can be very large for Russia, but not so big for the country you are offered to move to. Collect information about the cost of renting an apartment, if you have children, the cost of education in kindergartens and schools, the cost of medical care, etc. Only after analyzing this information, make a decision whether you are ready to accept a job offer.
Interviewer: Anna gave us an overview of the current state of the IT market in the UAE and shared some tips for conducting business in this country. Anna, thank you for joining us! It was a pleasure to meet you!
Anna Koriakovskaia: Thank you too! Goodbye!