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Russia & Jordan Provide Contrast, Similarity in IT Development

Speakers Outline Benefits at International Outsourcing Summit in Manila

The truly, deeply global nature of IT manifested itself this week at the International Outsourcing Summit (IOS) in Metro Manila, which drew delegates and speakers from 17 countries.

Underlining this point were representatives of two starkly different nations that take a similarly aggressive approach to IT development: Valentin Makarov, President of Russoft, based in St. Petersburg; and Nour Al Hmoud, Director of the Investment Promotion Department of the Amman-based Jordan Investment Board.

The Bear Can Code
Russoft is the Russian Software Developers' Association. It was established in 2004 after a merger of two organizations. Its 70 members are key drivers to a nation with 320,000 software programmers and software exports that reach US$3 billion annually.

Makarov noted that Russia remains the world's largest nation by area, with one of the world's largest populations and economies. Its 143 million people place in ninth in the world order, and its $1.5 trillion economy place it 11th, in a tight grouping with India, Canada, and Spain.

He noted that Russia had a grand tradition of engineering during its Soviet days and that "yesterday's builders of defense systems are building peaceful, commercial products today."

Makarov expressed enthusiasm for the world's younger generations, noting that college students and young adults today "have no memory of Cold War days, of when Russia and the West were considered rivals and enemies."

Addressing perceived difficulties between Russian and English, he wryly noted that "everybody speaks the same computer languages throughout the world." The C/C++ languages and Microsoft .Net environments are the most popular in Russia today, with Java EE, Pascal, Ruby, and scripting languages also in use.

Makarov also noted that sprawling Russia borders much of Europe, China, Central Asia, and is in close proximity to South Korea and Japan (and can even be seen from parts of Alaska, it's alleged). A recent report from Russoft also makes note of Russia's role within some former Soviet Republics, through the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other organizations.

Trip to the Middle East
In contrast, Jordan is about the size of Indiana (and only 10% of that is arable), has 6 million people and an economy of about $25 billion - 12% that of the Philippines and just 0.2% that of the United States. It has few natural resources and no oil, so its people must rely solely on smarts and initiative to improve their lives.

It is on the right track, according to Ms. Al Hmoud, who touted the nation's educational system, IT infrastructure, and location. The Jordanian government has stressed ICT for several years; the sector now accounts for almost 15% of the economy.

Foreign investment in all of industry totaled about US$700 million in the first half of 2011. Canadian investors topped the list (at about $170 million), followed by the UAE (at about $120 million). Money from Iraq totaled about $18 million.

Jordan's Middle East location places it in the heart of an area that features fast-growing economies of North Africa as well as the Gulf States region, she noted.

Its time zone is also only one hour ahead of Western Europe (and the same as Istanbul and much of Eastern Europe), and five hours behind China and Southeast Asia.

"Jordan is an ideal location for North American companies to take a 'follow-the-sun strategy,'" she added, alluding to the idea of a workforce that completes tasks during overnight hours in North America.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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