Technological innovation today is the driving force behind economic growth. Fintech, artificial intelligence, and IT in general bring fundamental changes to our society These industries have great potential for increasing productivity, helping organizations and people use resources more efficiently, improving the quality of products and services, making companies more agile and better equipped, and fundamentally transforming the industry and the markets in which they operate.
Eastern Europe is one of the markets where R&D is still in its infancy. Still, there is great potential to be explored, especially in the IT sector.
In this article, the Anthill team looks at some of the main objectives when setting up an R&D center in the region.
1. Plan for the company’s goals.
The fundamental developments made by an R&D team will further develop research. In turn, this will lead to new products and services that can accelerate your company’s growth. But first you need to be aware of what your company aims for – scaling of existing products, development of new ones, quick path to growing revenue (or reducing costs)?
In recent years, large businesses across the world have shown more interest in scaling their R&D operations to Eastern Europe, a region that enjoys a combination of great tech talent and it’s still more affordable than other locations with the same or lower quality level.
2. Building an R&D strategy that fits the company.
Understanding what an organization needs and what it can accomplish requires the commercial, strategic and R&D functions to work together.
While commercial and strategic processes define the company’s priorities, R&D shows what needs to be done to successfully implement those priorities.
It is often difficult to link corporate strategy with R&D strategy because the corporate strategy is often absent or focused on too short time horizons.
Therefore, to have an efficient R&D strategy, it is necessary to analyze the development process step by step, highlight priority competencies, decide where there are enough high-level specialists and where top-class professionals are needed.
When developing a strategy, a company needs to focus on interdisciplinary skills and working methods while also considering how to use digital tools.
3. Acquiring talent for R&D centers.
The opening of multiple R&D centers in recent years indicates that Eastern Europe is attractive as a provider of IT services because of its human potential. The question is how do you find talent once you decide on the region as a next expansion destination.
While a company can try to do it independently, this would usually require lots of resources, time, and usually plenty of bureaucratic hassle if you’re not familiar with the local markets. Therefore, partnering with someone like Anthill can significantly shorten your time to market and save you lots of nerves.
4. Picking the right location and partners in Eastern Europe
R&D centers also allow international companies to work on the Eastern European market and involve specialists with specific knowledge and skills in developing their products.
In Western Europe and the US, there is a shortage of qualified programmers. And in Eastern Europe, there is a large pool of IT specialists, increasing annually.
Having this in mind, choosing the right location for setting up R&D centers often depends on how business and innovation-friendly these countries are, especially in terms of tax incentives and existing legislation.
Additionally, different countries are better at different industries. For example, Bulgaria is building a reputation for fintech and enterprise software, Romania for automation and cybersecurity, and Greece for life sciences and deep tech.
Identifying the right partners also plays a significant role, since they would be the ones who know the situation on the ground the best, and can provide invaluable insights.