How can the system ensure effective control and transparency of daily IT expenses?
The Kazakh IT company «DILAU Service» has developed the «Dartover» product aimed at ensuring transparency of enterprises' activities regarding the use of IT assets.
The covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the development of the global economy. Since the beginning of 2020, most industries have been experiencing serious difficulties. Kazakhstan’s market has not become an exception, demand and investment are declining, contracts are being frozen, etc. Most enterprises, under quarantine, have revised their business models, some of them have not been able to adapt and are in deep recession. Thus, the global trend dictates new rules in which wastefulness and inefficiency are not allowed. Many companies, including those in the public and quasi-public sectors, are actively working to change and optimize the cost structure.
The Kazakh IT company «DILAU Service» has developed the «Dartover» product aimed at ensuring transparency of enterprises' activities regarding the use of IT assets and, as a result, pursues the goal of reducing the cost of unclaimed assets. The CEO, Magafirin Ilyas, told us how their team came to create such a product.
Reporter: "Ilyas, tell us about the problem you are solving?"
Ilyas: "Do you have complete information about the actual use of licensed software and other IT assets at the enterprise?" - This question is asked to all clients and partners of the «DILAU Service» company during the business analysis. Today, with the development of the information technology sector, more and more new programs and equipment are being introduced into the production processes of companies. These implementations should simplify the work of employees by automating part of the work functions, and therefore increase the productivity of specialists.
It is obvious that the use of such programs and equipment is necessary in the modern world, and there is no getting away from it. But this generates additional cost items in the budgets of companies, in relation to Kazakhstan, this still applies to state-owned enterprises to a greater extent. According to our research of data from open sources of public procurement, these figures annually exceed several billion tenge. A survey of a dozen companies with large expenses for the maintenance and implementation of various IT assets showed that after the purchase, delivery and implementation, the issue of tracking the effectiveness of the development of the funds spent is postponed, or not carried out at all. Considering that even in the event of crisis or emergency situations, production processes, especially of large companies, should not stop, many managers of middle and senior positions are trying to provide a reserve of necessary funds. Thus, organizations are constantly faced with a lack of transparency regarding the use of purchased funds by users, with a lack of information for analyzing downtime and/or lack of funds, as well as with the problem of planning and forced overspending on procurement.
Taking into account the rapid pace of development of information technologies and the state course towards digitalization, the issue of optimizing the use of IT assets is relevant now and will be relevant for the long term – this is dictated by the market, time, progress.
Reporter: "How did the startup idea come about?"
Ilyas: During the implementation of projects for state and quasi-state organizations, we are deeply immersed in their business processes and infrastructure, respectively, we see and understand the pains and problems of business. First of all, we have an understanding that part of the licensed software is acquired by organizations by inertia, as a result of which redundancy inevitably appears in the purchased licenses. This is exactly the case when it is purchased "in reserve" and in fact is not used. Having conducted an analysis in several state and quasi-state companies under the conditions of non-disclosure of information, it was concluded that huge amounts of money are spent and used inefficiently within the country. Our task remained only to understand how we can help in solving this problem. Just at this moment, a large organization turned to us in order to help them analyze how effectively they use licensed software, whether there is an opportunity for savings. Our team conducted an analysis, designed the necessary monitoring and control algorithm, and developed the MVP. We launched a pilot project that "revealed" and showed the feasibility and market need for the development of such a product. As it turned out, there is no such domestic tool on the market, there are alternatives only of foreign origin, which request huge sums for the implementation of their solutions.
Reporter: "How was the pilot? What were the results? Are the customers satisfied with the results obtained?"
Ilyas: As part of the pilot, we managed to analyze user activity on the use of the purchased licensed software, determine the activity of licenses and modules, track the dynamics and the concept of seasonality, calculate peak loads in the context of departments and individual users of the customer.
Given the agreements with the customer, I cannot give you specific figures, but I can give examples of conclusions based on qualitative and quantitative analyses conducted through our product:
- More than 70% of the time, programs with busy licenses are in "Passive" mode.
- Peak workloads account for only half of the employees' working time, the rest of the time is considered as non-use.
- A list of the most required and used licenses is determined, and scarce license modules, balanced modules, median modules and unclaimed modules are also determined.
- The specific actions of users when working with licensed software are determined, which allow making adjustments to the customer's business processes.
- Statistics on the use of licenses in the context of departments and their employees are determined and compiled, followed by forecasting for a "reduction" or "increase" in procurement and, accordingly, calculating the consequences.
Customers are grateful to us for the work done and the external audit of their activities. We unload our team of certified analysts to analyze business processes and methodologies used in the organization. During the analysis, the reasons and factors influencing certain user actions are identified for further comparison of this information with the development of purchased funds. Ultimately, the Customer has specific figures, dynamics and statistics of what is happening "de facto" in his operational activities, on the basis of which he can make management decisions.
Upon completion of the pilot implementation, we achieved a positive result, positive feedback from the customer, an understanding of the demand for the product and the necessary expansion of the affected parties of the analysis.
Reporter: "Tell us about the benefits and advantages that your product provides?"
Ilyas: Regardless of the type of IT asset, there is always a difference between what was purchased, what is used and how it is used. "Dartover" provides fixation, analysis and measurement of various IT assets, displaying a holistic view of the organization's activities, as well as detailed information on each individual user.
Dartover is a startup that is able to make a significant contribution
in the IT market of Kazakhstan.
The benefits of implementing Darktower can be divided into two groups:
- Short-term. Here and now in saving the budget, saving the resources of the enterprise, optimal load on the staff and forecasting the needs for IT assets. We provide monitoring of how the organization's IT assets are actually used and analysis to help in making business decisions.
- Long-term. More than 95% of licensed software and other IT assets used in state and quasi-state institutions are foreign developments. Money for the purchase and supply of foreign software goes to other countries, and could stimulate the development of the IT industry in Kazakhstan, new IT companies would open and new jobs would be created. We can collect information about IT assets and licensed programs that are really in demand and provide them to the market.
Reporter: "What are the prospects for product development?"
Ilyas: To date, we have started the implementation and development of the product with the coverage of analysis, monitoring and control of the use of licensed software. We plan to expand the capabilities of the product also for the analysis and control of the use of hardware (equipment) with their subsequent integration. Thus, we will be able to provide coverage of the full infrastructure and activities of enterprises.
In addition, a number of our partners are engaged in the analysis of public procurement in terms of IT, and make up a picture of who buys what and in what volume – we, in turn, plan to become a continuation of this work.
As the product is implemented and scaled, we plan to analyze the actual needs of specific foreign IT solutions. The analyzed information on the volume, quantity, geography, etc., can be useful, for example, to national operators for the subsequent market launch of solutions from domestic IT companies with the aim of gradual import substitution of IT products - so we can contribute to stimulating the development of the IT sector in Kazakhstan. Domestic IT companies will already be able to develop them and offer their solutions, their software, which will gradually replace foreign ones. This will open dozens of companies, which in turn will raise the IT industry of Kazakhstan to a new level.
Reporter: "Tell us about the team, how many years have you been on the market?"
Ilyas: Our company was formed by specialists with extensive experience in the field of IT, who have worked for more than 10 years on large public and private projects, in various positions – from executor to manager. We have been operating as a company in the market since 2016, during this time we have accumulated good team experience and understanding of the market, which we decided to transform into the creation of our products.
Reporter: Do you plan to become the resident of Astana Hub and participate in the acceleration?
Ilyas: Of course, given the relative "youth" of the IT market in Kazakhstan, the activities of Astana Hub stimulate its development very well by creating its own IT culture and attracting experienced trackers. Now we are preparing and plan to submit an application in the near future.