Belarusian IT Market
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) continue to conquer countries all around the world, as more people are getting connected worldwide. The ICT uptake is growing consistently, and Belarus is not an exception.
The growth of IT services export, increase in IT infrastructure support, and improvement of IT industry support by government are outlined as the latest ITO trends in Belarus.
According to the report Measuring the Information Society 2015, published by the International Telecommunications Union, Belarus is ranked 36th among 167 countries on the ICT development index (IDI). IDI is a composite index that covers access to ICTs, the use of ICT, and ICT skills. With an IDI value of 7.18, Belarus is the highest ranked country in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regional group while leaving behind the neighbouring EU states as well, including Latvia (37th), Lithuania (40th), and Poland (44th).
Since 2010, the absolute IDI figure of Belarus has risen from 5.30 to 7.18. For a number of consecutive years, Belarus is the only country from the CIS region recognized as one of The Most Dynamic Countries. Belarus is also the only country in the region within the highest quartile of global rankings. In addition, Belarus is ranked 41st by the ICT price basket performing better than numerous EU states, including Slovenia (49th),Slovakia (51st), Czech Republic (52th), Poland (53rd), Malta (54th), Estonia (55th), Portugal (56th), Spain (57th), Croatia (66th), Romania (69th), and Hungary (74th). With its IDI skills sub–index of 9.75, Belarus showed one of the world's best results being ranked as #4 in 2015.
Online media and internet development in Belarus are impressive with regard to its scale and speed being the fastest growing in Europe. In 1994, the first website appeared in the BY domain. As of May 2015, the number of websites within the BY. domain was estimated as 120,000. In 2015, the volume of the Belarusian web development market approached $5 million. According to the latest Gemius research, the Belarusian internet audience exceeds 5 million people. Roughly, one in four Belarusians buys goods via Internet and uses the web for training, one in five uses the web to execute financial transactions.
Continually improving its ICT infrastructure, refining higher ICT education, and implementing innovative ICT projects, Belarus strives to become a genuine e-country.
In terms of IT infrastructure, Belarus has made a significant progress as well. In its E-Government Survey 2016, the United Nations ranked Belarus # 49 globally among 193 countries and placed the country into the group with high e-government development index (EGDI).
The Global Innovation Index 2015 (GII) co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ranks Belarus as #79 among 128 countries on its global innovation index scale. The strengths indicated to show the country’s progress in innovation include institutions, knowledge & technology outputs, human capital & research, business sophistication, and infrastructure.
On the pan-European scale, the lack of ICT talents and slow time to market (TTM) are viewed as some of the key factors that influence corporate sourcing decisions. The European Commission (EC) says the demand for new information and communications technology (ICT) sector jobs is up to 120,000 a year in Europe, which EC Digital Single Market Chief Andrus Ansip says could lead to a shortage of more than 800,000 skilled ICT workers throughout the continent by 2020. To cope with quickly growing demand for skilled ICT resources, reduce costs, focus on business development, and speed up TTM, the EU companies today are more likely to seek for external assistance from outside their home countries. At that, one of the main trends is to replace short-term cost savings by longer-term IT management strategic partnerships with neashore IT service providers.
According to the Ministry of Statistics of Belarus, computer and IT services is the third largest service sector in the country, following transport and construction services. In addition, the share of IT services is the second in the total exports of services, following transport services.
Since 2012, Gartner has been including Belarus in the top 30 locations for offshore services. In 2016, IBA Group submitted Belarus for the European Outsourcing Association (EOA) Awards and was announced a finalist in the Offshoring Destination of the Year category.
In its Analysis of Belarus as an Offshoring Destination, Gartner said:“A strong education system and cost-competitive salaries, together with a reasonably strong workforce, have enabled Belarus to develop a mature IT outsourcing industry, supporting the country as an alternative destination for offshore activities, especially software development.”