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Nick Kurayev, ScienceSoft: “we know the bottlenecks and see improvement opportunities”

We, without a doubt, are moving into the era of automation. So it’s only natural that our reliance on software in most of our daily aspects increases each day.

We don't even realize that from online shopping to smartphone apps, to blockchain and IoT, all of it and more was refined and transformed by automation. Since it significantly speeds up software development, automation became especially widespread during the pandemic, when developers needed to quickly come up with software that would enable remote work.

To discuss the importance of automation when it comes to software development, how it influenced the way businesses operate, and what it may look like in the future, we reached out to Nick Kurayev, CEO of ScienceSoft, a software consulting and development provider.

What has your journey been like throughout the decades? How did the idea for ScienceSoft come about?

The story of ScienceSoft roots back to a purely product development company – the NILIM Cooperative – that has been working to create AI-powered semantic search software. The product was a success in the US market used by over 40% of Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, Sony, and Samsung.

ScienceSoft, as we know it now, started in 1996. At first, it was an exclusive software development partner for its parent company and over the following years, it set a course for software development outsourcing services and became a fully independent business entity.

The transition to a different business model wasn’t easy and required keeping pace with a rapidly developing IT services market.

Much has changed since that time, but we maintain the high-quality standards we established from the start and continuously perfect our expertise.

Can you introduce us to what you do? What are the main challenges you help navigate?

I believe that the key value driver behind ScienceSoft is our ability to offer actionable technology-powered solutions to the business challenges of our clients. We know the bottlenecks and see improvement opportunities in common business processes, which allows us to drive tangible positive changes.

Basically, we help businesses at any stage of their software life cycle: from conceptual design to development, quality assurance, and maintenance. We don’t only build new systems but optimize the software a client already has. For that, we assess overall software well-being and plan how to bring it into alignment with current business needs and use it with a much larger return for business.

As companies grow their technology stack, securing a client’s IT environment is certainly one of the challenges we help them cope with. Cyberthreats grow in number and sophistication, and our team conducts a full-scale security assessment before software deployment to eliminate the risks. ScienceSoft is ISO 27001-certified and guarantees effective information security management.

What are your thoughts on IT systems specifically tailored to one’s business? Is it something each organization should invest in, or is it only relevant to large enterprises?

Custom software is not a must for all companies. Nowadays, there are many ready-to-use platforms and tools that successfully meet the most common needs in different business domains.

However, when the client’s requirements differ from what licensed software can offer, custom development is the way to go. As you’ve assumed, larger enterprises are more likely to benefit from custom software because, as a rule, their processes are more complicated and it’s impossible to create uniform software to support them. But still, it’s the business’s requirements, not the size, that affect the choice.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work?

I can’t name a single industry that hasn’t been affected by the global pandemic crisis. The sphere of IT has undergone a number of disruptions too, which forced us to react. I believe that this crisis has taught us to predict the business impact of occurring changes correctly and respond fast.

Among the major transformations we’ve put in place were the transition to a hybrid work environment with secure telecommuting and refocus of services towards meeting new challenges our clients face. Since many companies had to flex their business model, our role was to adapt their IT strategy accordingly.

Agile market research helped us keep up-to-date with business trends and understand where the primary demand for IT services now lies. For example, we quickly polished our competencies in supply chain automation as this area was hit hard during the pandemic.

Why do you think certain companies are unaware of the risks their software might pose?

I see several possible reasons. First, software development vendors working for these companies didn’t communicate the risks explicitly (in worst-case scenarios they are unaware of the dangers too, and the software is inherently unsafe). Second, companies assume that malefactors target large enterprises only. Third, companies have blind spots in their cybersecurity strategy. For example, they protect external-facing systems but overlook the back office. Lastly, some companies still lose sight of internal security threats.

What are the best practices companies should follow when developing, and, when launching software?

I totally recommend setting up a DevSecOps practice, especially if you develop software in an agile manner. It implies involving security engineers in the software development process so that the security of each software component is immediately patched and tested. To speed up the process, you will need to integrate automated tools for code review, configuration management, software composition analysis, security testing, etc., into a development workflow.

As the world gets more connected, what safety tools do you think everyone should have in place to keep their devices safe?

All users who access the Internet and thus share bits of personal data must keep in mind:

  • Two-factor authentication for online accounts.
  • Data storage and file-sharing services in the cloud.

What advancements and innovations in the software development field do you hope to see in the near future?

I see a clear trend towards enterprise-wide digital transformation now. Companies are starting to realize that the implementation of a single tech, however innovative, doesn’t always bring intended transformative effects. We need to model end-to-end business processes and unlock digitization potential throughout them. In this regard, I see great potential in connected IoT-powered ecosystems for enterprise and public use, like smart factories or connected transport.

What does the future hold for ScienceSoft?

ScienceSoft is determined to drive digital transformation as the post-pandemic world renders old business models obsolete. We are planning to strengthen our presence in the market of IT consulting vendors as we can create value for businesses by sharing our technology expertise and directing their IT spending and effort.

We are also enthusiastic about some trending and really value-driven techs that can be applied widely for business purposes. First and foremost, I’m talking about blockchain now – I expect increasing interest in blockchain-powered dApps across varied use cases, far beyond the cryptocurrency space.

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