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Russia’s digital ‘Velveeta moment’

No Spam, Just Facts.

 

A digital Slavic sigh of relief carried across both the Atlantic and Pacific. Those Russkies who were suffering as their sanctioned dreams were dashed while waiting for their “Velveeta moment”, or a Skippy slathered Spam sandwich, can now rest easy.

Even the redoubtable Hellman’s has seen its market share wither against a bevy of locally produced mayo’s. The fact is that many such items have already been replaced by Russian equivalents with a difference; they are all natural, with no additives or genetically modified anything. As I said, the food production boom in Russia is well known and is now yesterday’s news.

Moving on, the other day I was speaking “IT & stuff” with some geeky nerds on an island in the Moscow River where the old Red October candy factory used to churn out everything for the sweet tooth. It is now gentrified with condominium and co-op lofts in the old factory complex, very similar to what took place in Manhattan’s SoHo and is an e-everything community. Getting back to the geeks who were quaffing their Latte’s and Mojito’s with lip smacking digitized abandon, they were playing word scenarios starting with “What IF?”

The juiciest and longest word play was – What if Washington and its EU minions decide to somehow cleverly firewall or otherwise inhibit Russia’s access to the major software, programming and service providers? What if VPN’s are blocked and everyone has to store data in country or shut down? The speculation was both ridiculed and taken seriously at the same time. Once they got to talking it through, it looked like they suddenly woke up singing and crying all at once.

Unlikely as such a situation might be, strange things are becoming the new normal in these mentally challenged times. The kind-of conclusion these digital dreamers came to was – not to worry, we have most if not all these services localized and covered. I asked for a rundown of what replaces what, and the following was the feedback naming 100% Russia based providers and services (I mention costs in US$ for the readers visualization, but all billing is in Rubles):

Cloud storage – replacing Google Drive.

  • “Yandex.Disk ” provides a cloud storage for everyday files, photos and videos. Free use for up to 10 GB of information, and can expand the volume to 1 TB. The maximum file size is 10 GB. Two-stage authentication is also provided. The cost for maximum space is about $8 per month.
  • [email protected]”. You can store pictures, audio files, presentations, working documents and other data. The system guarantees the safety of stored data. The maximum storage capacity is 4000 GB, of which 25 GB is free of charge. Files of up to 32 GB can be uploaded in the cloud.

Replacing Google Docs and MS Office.

“OnlyOffice” is an open source office suite that includes document, project management, customer relationship management and e-mail management systems. The set consists of an online document editor, project management system, CRM, corporate social network, calendar and mail server.

“MyOffice” offers a set of office solutions for working with documents, text, tables, presentations and other information. Using this platform, you can work together on files, restrict user rights, and provide enhanced data protection.

Post services replacing MailChimp.

  • “UniSender” organizes mass email and SMS mailings. According to the project planners, it is possible to create a newsletter from scratch in 15 minutes. The service provides more than 100 templates, detailed statistics, allows you to configure automatic dispatch and segment an audience. Use is free provided not more than 1500 emails and 100 recipients. The charges thereafter are $0.005 per letter or $10 per month. For SMS – $0.03 per message.
  • “Sendsay” – a platform for sending emails and SMS. With the help of the system, you can create complex conversation chains, trigger mailings and evaluate their effectiveness.
  • “Yandex.Mail” The domain allows you to connect the needed number of mailboxes free, and set a company logo in the web interface of the system. Even inside the platform, you can keep a calendar, a schedule of meetings and a to-do list.
  • “Mail.Ru for business” – a set of services for start-ups and large companies. For example, a cloud for data and workgroups, mail for the domain, and store information about employees. In this system, there are also tools for site analytics, newsletters, SEO analysis, and computer vision technologies. All users of the platform get access to a loyalty club for business and discounts from partners. The cost depends on the set of tools chosen.

Analytics to replace SimilarWeb.

  • “Pr-Cy” – helps to optimize sites, checks the download speed and finds errors. With the help of this service, you can find out what details to pay attention to and what needs to be corrected for effective website promotion.
  • “Roistat” collects data from the CRM system, advertising sites and the site itself. From this information, the service generates reports on key business indicators. With the help of this service, you can evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, funnel sales and other data. The cost is from $90 per month.
  • “Yandex.Metrika” helps to evaluate site traffic for free and analyze user behavior. With the help of this system, you can estimate the number and composition of visitors, transitions from competitors’ sites, popular pages, and time spent on site plus other indicators.
  • “AmoCRM” helps analyze sales. The system automatically takes into account email requests, phone, website and instant messengers. This service can integrate correspondence with customers and calls. Built-in messenger helps to communicate commands within the system.

CRM-systems, keeping customer activity records.

  • “Univle” – CRM-system for Instagram. This service helps receive and respond to all requests in Direct. With it, you can connect new managers, keep customer cards and track the sales funnel.
  • “Bitrix24” combines a task management system, projects, documents, social network, chat, video calls, document storage, calendar, mail and customer relationship management. With the help of this service, you can manage the customer base and mark all interaction points: calls, letters, and appointments. You can use it free or a commercially upgraded version at about $17 per month.
  • “Simple Business” helps to maintain a client base, store information about each customer, record and process calls. In addition, with the help of the platform, you can manage projects and personnel, conduct workflow, bookkeeping and manage the site. The cost is from $33 per month.
  • “LiveTex” provides digital channels for customer service: feedback widgets, instant messengers, social networks, email. With the help of the system, one can process calls in one interface or integrate into CRM-systems and chat-bots.

Accounting

“1C” is a set of software products for accounting, management and other types of reporting for small and medium sized businesses. The system is popular and used in construction, trade, education, medicine and other areas.

Project management and tools replacing Asana, Trello, Jira and others.

  • “Yandex.Tracker” helps to manage projects and organize work, allocate resources and monitor task fulfillment. Using this platform, you can track all the company’s processes and make them transparent for each participant. The cost is from $1.50 per person per month.
  • “Kaiten” helps manage complex processes on one board. For example, it suggests using a space on which several boards are in place. Within the project concept lies the use of both kanban and sram methodologies. All processes happening in the company can therefore be visualized. The cost is from $7 per person per month.
  • “Planiro” organizes collaboration work in the cloud: messages, discussions, archives, accounting of tasks and time, calendar, timing and budget planning, notifications, reports and tools for several management methods. The service helps monitor priority tasks, evaluate project progress and analyze costs. The cost is from $4 per person per month.
  • “Idea RealtimeBoard” – created a teamwork platform with cross-functional commands. This service helps to communicate with the team in one language, regardless of formats, work tools, geography or time zones. Each project participant can input new tasks or discuss existing ones for this endless board. The cost is from $40 per team per month.
  • “CrocoTime” automatically tracks working time at a computer and creates a digital photo of the working day; it helps keep records of meetings and calls. It analyzes the company’s business processes and helps to find and correct inefficient ones. From $5 a month per employee.
  • “Megaplan” is suited to organize work for a small or medium sized company. Helps to track business processes and manage employees. Among the features – billing, transaction control, task manager, file server, internal mail, transaction control and a module for working with personnel.
  • “PlanFix” helps organize joint work. In this system, you can set up an interface, and share user rights. The service can be used as a CRM-system, technical support, and with its help, you can assign and monitor tasks, conduct project activities, account for resources and plan finances.

Messengers and video communication to replace Slack.

  • “Dialog” offers a corporate messenger, which can be installed on the company’s internal server. Service meets the requirements of a single register of Russian programs and approved by state authorities. With the application, you can make audio and video calls, arrange video conferences and display a screen, share files, create personal and group chats. Among the possibilities of this service are audio messages, chat-bots, and channels. Using the service is free of charge; however, the paid company version is individually negotiated with each commercial user.
  • “TrueConf” – A service for organizing video communication on a local server or via the Internet. Communication is provided by UltraHD- quality and secure channels. You can deploy the system in a company of any size.

Tools for working with social networks, replacing HubSpot and HootSuite.

  • “Amplifer” automatically publishes records in social networks, collects statistics on them and counts clicks. Based on the statistics, the service prompts the time, in which it is better to publish the records. There is a weekly and monthly reporting format. This service is about $5 per page monthly.
  • “Babkee” tracks mentions in social networks and the media. This service helps to track user needs and conduct competitor analysis. With its help, you can also evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Use is free of charge.
  • “SMMplanner” helps manage publications on social networks and create pending records. With the help of the service, you can create auto-deletion records, publish “Stories” and customize UTM-labels. The cost is from $7 per month, depending on the number of connected pages.
  • “Brand Analytics” is a system for analyzing social networks and the media. The service tracks the company’s references, determines the tone of messages, highlights important topics and finds trends.

Design and layout

  • “Readymag” helps transform design into code. Using this platform, you can create presentations, prepare stories and make logs. Interactive web projects can be created without developer participation. The service includes an editor, a preview and a platform for publication of the project. The cost is from $16 per month.
  • “Tilda Publishing” – A site builder. You can work free, but not more than one site and a limited set of templates. The price for the full shebang is from $8.50 per month, depending on the number of sites you are doing.

Notes – replacing Evernote and Google Keep.

  • “Nimbus Note” – with the help of this service you can save information from sites, write notes and important thoughts. The application has shared access for folders and notes. Storage of information is organized in a multi-level structure. The service positions itself as an alternative to Evernote. Use is free with a limit on the size of notes and attached files. The commercial fee is about $2 per month.

Since 2014 Russia has invested over 600 billion rubles ($10 billion) in accelerating import substitution, of which 120 billion rubles ($2 billion) were government funds, the rest private investments. This has helped start-up just over 1,200 import substitution projects, from peanut butter and cheeses to the digital realm. The focus however is not so much short term local substitution, but to refine and develop cost and quality effective export products and services for jobs creation, tax revenues and to diversify Russia’s long term economic matrix.

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