SAP’s Moscow Mantra: Moving Beyond Russia

I had no idea that Russians are second only to Indians as the largest foreign-born component of Silicon Valley’s high-tech workforce. It seems there’s been a huge brain drain during the past decades as Russians looked beyond their own borders to enjoy the results of their new found freedom. According to the Russian Audit Chamber, the country lost one and a quarter million people (nearly one percent of the total) to out migration in just the past three years.

Not one to worry about where have all those people gone, Igor Bogachev, the managing director of SAP’s operations in CIS  – that’s the Commonwealth of Independent States  – is more interested in getting young, talented people to apply for the hundreds of jobs opening at SAP next year, regardless of where they live right now.  His ambition is to make CIS SAP’s third largest market unit in terms of software revenue following Germany and the U.S. For that, he needs the right people.

“2012 is the kickoff year for SAP’s very ambitious growth plan which aims to triple our revenue and double our headcount in CIS between now and 2015,” says Igor, standing next to the floor to ceiling windows of his office overlooking the Moscow River.

“Over the next four years, we want to expand our business from its current focus on large enterprises and process industries concentrated in Russia to much more volume business generated by small, mid-sized enterprises across all 12 countries of the commonwealth. We’re also looking at new industries such as banking and public sector. SAP already has 50% market share in CIS, but there is so much more we can do,” he says, grinning like a Cheshire cat – you know, those dairy farm cats with an endless supply of cream and milk. “Our focus for growth next year includes mobility and big data.”

Skolkovo is Russia’s Silicon Valley, and SAP recently announced the opening of a new development facility there, providing a unique opportunity to be at the center of a local ecosystem of co-innovation with customers, partners, local start-ups and venture capitalists. Having a facility in the CIS region is very important for SAP, as it rounds out its global network of development labs in fast growth markets including China, India and Brazil.

Russia and the CIS region have a long and impressive heritage of excellence in science, engineering, mathematics and technology. “SAP’s engagement in the Skolkovo project will allow us to better leverage the passion and skills of the local workforce and will help us deliver innovative solutions to our customers in Russia, the region and around the world,” says Igor. “This is a great opportunity for people to be at the heart of a new wave of growth in CIS. Our economy is stable; our politics are evolutionary. Nothing is stopping our growth.”

SAP Labs will begin operations at the beginning of 2012 with 70 employees; more than 250 employees are targeted by 2015.

“But we’re not only looking for people to work at SAP Labs!” adds Shlomit Gruman-Navot, head of HR for SAP CIS. “We’re looking for people across all lines of business, from marketing and communications to sales and services. We’re hiring 400 people in 2012. Interested? Click here to view our career opportunities.”


Judith Magyar is an SAP Evangelist for HR Thought Leadership.