ISDEF 2004, the third annual international conference of independent software developers, was held in the Holiday Inn in the village of Vinogradovo just outside of Moscow.

This conference turned out to be the largest in the history of the International Software Developers Forum. It assembled over 450 participants and speakers from 100 cities and 23 different countries. The participant make-up differed from that of previous years – in 2004 the conference was attended not only by independent software developers, but also by representatives of all the business spheres upon which the successful development of the Russian software market depends. Leaders of the Russian and world software market, journalists, Internet-distributors, lawyers, investors, computer manufacturers, venture capitalists, consulting companies, search-engine systems and other players in the IT-market all came to ISDEF 2004.

Dynamics and maintaining the momentum were the two defining elements of ISDEF’s third international conference. Within the official framework of the conference, the constant dialogue between participants and guests, the informative presentations, the discussions concerning the challenges facing the Russian IT-sector, and in the corridors, the new contacts established, the deals made and the plans for upcoming projects discussed – all these are vivid proof that the conference didn’t just take place, but that it was a definite success.

The ISDEF conference sponsors are making it a tradition to return year after year.


General sponsors were once again:

·         element5 (

·         Digital River (


Golden sponsors were:

Silver sponsors were:

Bronze sponsors were:

The ISDEF 2004 presentations and round-tables took place concurrently in the three halls of the Holiday Inn, with each talk or round-table belonging to one of the following sections:

  • Software marketing
  • Software protection and protection from fraud
  • Legal and corporate issues
  • Outsourcing and Development
  • Computer games
  • The Internet, websites and graphics
  • Investment in IT-business.


The ISDEF 2004 programme included approximately 70 presentations and round-tables, where several topical issues were discussed, including:

  • the market for the distribution and sale of software via the Internet;
  • corporate and OEM sales;
  • new technologies and innovations in the IT sector;
  • the problem of piracy;
  • software development and marketing for handheld computers and telephones;
  • advertising in magazines;
  • the mass-media, PR;
  • banner advertising;
  • graphics branding, graphics in software and on websites;
  • programming;
  • collective work with shareware-oriented companies;
  • outsourcing;
  • content management systems for websites.


Software marketing was pronounced the major theme of ISDEF 2004, from among the wide range of ıssues discussed. The development and implementation of an effective marketing strategy for the promotion of products and solutions in the IT-market is the biggest challenge currently facing Russian developers. How to turn a simple, unknown program into a comprehensive product in popular demand both in Russia and the West – this was the question that the conference itself became the answer to.


The presentation by Natalia Kasperskaya (Kaspersky Labs) –  Russia: products instead of outsourcing? – was one of the major talks at ISDEF 2004. This was not by chance. Russian developers are currently facing a difficult decision: which developmental direction should they follow? Should they work for themselves and design their own software products, or should they simply carry out custom projects ordered by foreign companies? Kaspersky Labs is an excellent example of a small Russian company that managed to grow into a market leader by putting its stakes on developing its own products instead of working by order. The path each Russian company will choose will be shown in time. However, already today experts are noting the tendency of IT-companies to focus on creating their own software products and solutions, and to gradually distance themselves from custom projects. And ISDEF 2004 is proof of this changing attitude.

The entire day of Friday the 17th was taken up by two presentations on marketing.


In hıs presentation, Dmitry Kourashev (Famatech) dwelled upon a rather important issue for the Russian developer – software promotion in the Russian and international markets through advertizing in global and local IT magazines. The expert stressed the importance of analyzing the effectiveness of each and every advertizing compaign in both off-line and online publications.


Website promotion issues were also among those issues most heavily discussed at the conference. One of the presentations on this topic was made by Alexander Sadovsky (Yandex). Alexander provided the audience with statistical and analytical data regarding websites in a search-engine for software. He made it very clear that in order for a website to attract visitors through search-engines, it has to be able to get indexed and to ‘speak’ the users’ language. By avoiding the usual mistakes, and taking into account the actual requirements of programs, a software developing company is capable of obtaining good results in furthering itself and its products.


Mikhail Penykovsky (Agnitum Ltd.) outlined methods for creating a successful software brand. His presentation admirably demonstrated the principal reason so many Russian companies had gathered together at the conference: there is an urgent need for the Russian IT-market as a whole and for each individual software company to make a developed product competitive. The creation of one’s own product brands,  their positioning, focusing on a strictly-defined group or market sector, the increase of software brand recognition – all these were issues discussed at the conference. The subjects of managing client relations and, in particular, the Microsoft CRM solution, were explored by Andrey Filev (Murano Software). The functional capabilities of the solution and its practical advantages over other CRM-systems were discussed in detail among conference participants after his presentation. The interest in this issue is understandable – until recently there were virtually no products available on the Russian IT-market that permitted the effective automatization of client and customer work for small and medium business.

The presentation by Sergey Petrenko ( was no less interesting and invaluable. He explored the role and importance of website optimization in Internet promotion. What is an ideal document from the point of view of optimization? What mistakes are made during construction and promotion of a website? When is optimization better than context advertizing – and vice versa? These were just a few questions that the conference participants received answers to, supported by practical examples.

On Sept. 18 two round-tables were held within the framework of the conference. The first was: Characteristics of the national promotion of software products in Russia and abroad. Opinions of various parties. The second round-table was: Piracy in Russia: who’s at fault, and what to do. The head of Kaspersky Labs information service, Denis Zenkin, hosted the first round-table, where journalists, marketing experts, PR-managers and other experts explored the interaction between software developers and the media. The key participants of the second round-table, which was devoted to the problem of computer piracy in Russia, were the Russian Shield Association, journalists from computer and business publications, and Softkey, the Internet software Internet-distributor represented by Felix Muchnik.

Other sections of the conference – Investment in IT-business, Outsourcing and Development, Legal and corporate issues, Software protection and protection from fraud, and Computer games – were also very active. Among those presenting were representatives of well-known companies and associations such as IBS, Softkey, Digital River, Yandex, Bitrix and others.

The longest and busiest sections, as anticipated, were Software marketing and The Internet, websites and graphics.

The speakers at these sections were primarily known for their practical experience, and included Sergey Ryzhikov (Bitrix), Kirill Gotovtsev (RLE), Dmitry Kourashev (Famatech), Mikhail Penykovsky (Agnitum), David Halls (eMetrix), Brant Palazza (Digital River), and Dave Collins (SharewarePromotions). Statistical data was presented which explained mistakes in working with software brands, and a great number of examples of how to run and promote successful projects were also provided.

True to tradition, ISDEF 2004 was wrapped up with a press-conference. The work accomplished by the conference itself, as well as the work of each Russian developing company, was summarized at this final event. During the previous three years many organizations have undergone dramatic changes, and noticeably ‘matured’. In this respect, ISDEF may be regarded as a kind of a school where people support and mutually benefit from each other.