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Crowdsourcing: does the model work for industrial software engineering?

Moderator: Dr. Nikolai Puntikov Chairman of the Board RUSSOFT


  • Grigory Labzovsky
  • Anatoly Gaverdovskiy
  • Alexander Egorov

Wikipedia defines Crowdsourcing as “the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call”. Tim Ringo, head of IBM Human Capital Management, has been recently quoted saying “I think crowd sourcing is really important, where you would have a core set of employees but the vast majority are sub-contracted out”.

Despite advocates of crowdsourcing quote many success stories (Amazon Mechanical Turk,, Innovation Exchange, Smartsheet, Wikipedia), other experts criticize the underlying business model as controversial from the economical and social perspectives.

At this roundtable, panelists will debate feasibility of the Crowdsourcing in the field of industrial software engineering:

  • Why crowdsourcing is different from traditional outsourcing?
  • In which domains of professional software development can crowdsourcing potentially work? Software product development? Custom application development? Web applications? SaaS? Scientific research?
  • How can a large-scale software project be managed when there are no written contracts or employee agreements? How to protect confidentiality and trade secrets?
  • How can one expect high-quality work from participants having low monetary motivation and no personal interest in the project?
  • Will this really save cost of development? Or will the added cost to implement the project eat all savings?
  • How to maintain the working relations between project stakeholders and crowdsourced-workers and between co-workers?
  • Who is more likely to “give it a try” - large IT corporations, innovative product companies, professional outsourcing vendors? Will it ever be used by end-users?

Those and other questions will be discussed by professionals and analysts representing different sectors of the industry.


Coinciding with Russia’s dramatic move toward privatization in 1991, Nikolai Puntikov founded StarSoft, one of Russia’s seminal private software engineering firms. During the next 15 years as CEO of StarSoft, he developed the company into a premier outsourcing software services provider catering to clients in Europe and North America.

In 2007, StarSoft merged with Exigen Services to become a leading force in the IT outsourcing space in Central and Eastern Europe. Nikolai worked for Exigen Services as President Delivery until July 2010. In his position at Exigen Services he was responsible for business development, managing customer relationships, and operations in Eastern Europe, Baltics and China.

Puntikov is an outspoken advocate of both the domestic and international portions of the Russian IT services industry. Since 2003, he has served on the Board of the Russian National Association of Software Developers (RUSSOFT), and was elected Chairman of the Board in 2007-2008 and since June 2010 until now.

Puntikov resides in St. Petersburg, Russia and holds a Master of Science degree from the St. Petersburg State University and a Doctorate degree from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Grigory Labzovsky, Director of the Saint Petersburg Center of High Technology, Oracle.

Grigory heads the center for software development that currently employs more than 350 software engineers working on different software projects. Main development directions in the include: the Java platform technologies, Oracle C & C++ compilers, virtualization and SOA-technologies. It is under Grigory’s leadership that the Center of High Technology has successfully opened The Center of software technology competence; the largest software developer conference Sun Tech Days has been held for several times (with more than 3000 participants). Grigory has initiated an extensive cooperation with Russian academic community, including the St. Petersburg State University - the project that allows the University to be actively involved in the international Large Hadron Collider project.
In 2005-2007, Grigory managed several development projects, was responsible for the software development center operations and drove a set of strategic programs in the region.

Prior to his work at Sun Microsystems, Grigory was an engineering manager in the Russian company Elbrus (2002-2004). Before that he held a position of a research fellow at the Mathematical Institute for Scientific research. Grigory graduated from the Department of Physics of the St. Petersburg State University.

Anatoly Gaverdovskiy
Founder and VP, Product Development of Russia-based Vest, Co. Invented and developed several products in document management and workflow areas. Sold OEM license to Boston-based PC DOCS, Inc, the world leader in document management software (later on acquired by Hummingbird, Inc and Open Text, Inc). Managed software development group’s spin off to Boston based Vested Development, Inc.
Founder and CEO, Vested Development, Inc, Boston-based software development services company with development centers in Russia, Ukraine and Armenia. Managed investment round and subordinated loan from ru-Net Holdings и MCRC. By 2005 Vested Development’s annual revenue reached $11m. In 2006 Vested Development, Inc was acquired by EPAM Systems.
Senior VP, EPAM Systems. Managed integration of Vested Development, Inc with EPAM Systems. Was responsible for EPAM sales in Former Soviet Union. Raised sales more than 500% within 2.5 years. Managed acquisition of PlusMicro company in Kazakhstan.
2006- Present time:
Inventor, Founder and Board Director of California-based InvisibleCRM, the world leader in integration technology between Personal Information Managers (Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes) and Business Application. Raised investments from ABRT fund and Martinson Trigon Venture Parters. Currently InvisibleCRM has OEM relationships and joint products with worldwide software leaders Oracle, Deltek, Netsuite and
2009- Present time:
Inventor, Founder, Investor and CEO of yaM Labs

Alexander Egorov, CEO, Reksoft Ltd.
Alexander Egorov co-founded Reksoft company in 1991 while studying in St-Petersburg University of Aerospace Instrumentation. Alexander developed Reksoft from an IT start-up into one of the leading players on the Russian offshore software engineering market.

Under Alexander’s guidance Reksoft has served as a launch pad and business incubator for a number of high-tech companies with a current combined turnover of more than $250mln.

Russia’s largest online retailer, Ozon , the country’s leading Internet payment gateway, Assist, billing systems developer Barsum, IT consulting companies Technoserv-Consulting and Edelink are among them. As a business angel Alexander Egorov also finances and serves as a consultant for several venture projects.

Alexander holds Master Degree from St-Petersburg University of Aerospace Instrumentation and Executive MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics.

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