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Павел Левской Финансовый директор РБ Лизинг, 2015

Leasing business automation — where Russia is different


Dmitry Kurdomonov, Managing Director of Homnet Leasing

When setting up representative offices abroad, international leasing corporations install software solutions at an early stage. It would seem that the simplest solution is to implement in affiliate companies the same information system as in the parent organization, but in practice, most international leasing companies apply a different approach — they choose a solution from a local provider

An attractive market

Today, a large number of western companies are represented in the Russian leasing market. For example, ARVAL (BNP Paribas affiliate, France), IVECO Capital (Italy), MAN Financial Services (Germany), Cisco Capital (USA), De Lage Landen (Netherlands) and many others.

Transnational leasing companies’ interest in Russia can easily be understood. Russia’s leasing market is rapidly growing, doubling in size every year since 2000, and now it is in the top 10 of the world's largest markets. So it would be quite logical to expect new players to enter Russia in the near future. In common, these companies are highly experienced and actively implement IT systems, tending to install an integrated leasing management system at an early stage. Nevertheless, most often large corporations do not transfer the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems implemented in the head office, but prefer to implement in Russia a local software solution. Why is this so?

The difference between Russia and other European countries

There have been some dramatic failures for western software providers that have tried to implement their systems in Russia in the last 10 years. Reasons include:

  • Territorial distance — Western providers often have no representatives and specialists in Russia, which is why the majority of projects are realized remotely.
  • Western systems don’t account for specific Russian characteristics —
    • The systems don’t support accounting according to Russian standards;
    • There is no module providing IFRS reports preparation based on Russian accounting and management data in the systems;
    • The systems don’t account for the specific features of Russian legislation in their business processes (VAT and other taxes which influence the financial model);
    • The systems don’t reflect the constant changes in Russian legislation and business processes of the company. The main reason for these constant changes is because the leasing industry in Russia is still developing.
  • System modification difficulty — The age of western systems is about 10–30 years, which is why it is difficult to modify them because the functionality is not flexible enough and the links between subsystems are not transparent. Providers think that they will achieve implementation with little need for improvements and don’t provide projects with enough experts who can change the business logic of the system.
  • Language problems — English is not native for both providers and users, treat their commitments in different ways.
  • Difference in the mentality and business cultures — The behaviour of Russian partners and customers differs significantly from their western counterparts: it can be less predictable, less understandable; there is always understatement, and so on.
  • Underestimation of the difficulty of system implementation in Russia — Providers estimate the implementation difficulty in Russia according to their experience elsewhere, assuming that if they can implement the system in other Eastern European countries, they can do so in Russia, and don’t account for the issues mentioned above.

According to the market potential and Russian-specific characteristics as noted above, it seems sensible to treat Russia and CIS as a specific region that needs a special approach and its own software solution provider. The majority of successful international players that operate in Russia follow this strategy.

For example, over 60% of all implementations of integrated information systems in Russian leasing companies are realized by Homnet Leasing. It is no surprise that this developer’s solution was chosen by most international leasing corporations to automate their representative offices in Russia. Transnational leasing companies apply pragmatic IT policies. They are ready to consider different options for their foreign offices’ automation, but in most cases they expect to have a strong local partner with specific regional knowledge that can provide a reliable software solution for leasing contract management.

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