«What impressed me a great deal is digitalization and automation» - Alexander Tarabanovskiy about Uzbekistan

A year ago, Uzbekistan launched the TashRush relocation program, thanks to which more than 3,000 IT professionals from the Russian Federation, Belarus and other countries arrived in the country. Many specialists came on their own, without resorting to the relocation program. One of these specialists is Alexander Tarabanovskiy, who arrived from Moscow.

Alexander is an entrepreneur, marketer and IT marketing consultant. He has been working in marketing for about 15 years, in programming for 3 years, and in entrepreneurship for 7 years.

Tell us about your work

Alexander has been working as a managing partner of MedUp for 7 years now. His tasks include strategic project planning (management and development management), the formation of products and their introduction to the market.

The company operates in three main areas. The first is a concierge service for registering patients for complex diagnostics of oncological diseases (positron emission tomography). These complex and expensive studies are carried out in an extremely limited circle of centers. The company is engaged in the generation, processing, provision of full information and consulting support for patients on this service, helps to determine the clinic, type of study, drugs, and helps to obtain the necessary documents from doctors, referrals, etc. That is, work with the patient proceeds throughout the entire period of his examination until the results are obtained.

The project is half-social. Therefore, the company works with both paid and free patients, that is, with compulsory health insurance. Now they are expanding this area, offering new high-tech methods of cancer treatment, for example, targeted radiation therapy and others.

Based on the first direction, another one arose - the development of an IT solution for a personal account for clinics in order to route patients between them.

In medicine, Alexander says, there is such a problem - some clinics cannot provide a full range of services to patients and, accordingly, send patients to other clinics. The company is developing a solution that will integrate with information systems used in clinics. This will allow those partner clinics that participate in this system to redirect patients among themselves, taking into account everything necessary. That is, it is a convenient way to route patients between clinics.

The third area the company is working on is marketing.

“We have a small boutique agency that is also niched in medicine. This is the promotion of clinics and medical centers, attracting patients to various types of services, ranging from simple consultations with a therapist to complex, specific complex operations.”

Within this direction, he continues, the company can also help with the organization of service and work with patients inside the clinic. This is all about building services within the clinic – reception, quality of consultations and service, how comfortable the patient understands and likes to be in the clinic. The company does not get involved in medical issues, only service issues. That is, they help clinics to introduce modern approaches and methods of working with patients.

The MedUp company acts as a unifying link for all other areas.

“We work under a single brand, but in the near future IT solutions (personal account) will go under a separate brand. My experience, my way in this company is 12 years. We started our work with the development of marketing for one large client. And only contextual advertising. Then we were entrusted with the full management of the entire marketing part, including internal processes. Then we developed a service - service support and consulting services for this clinic, it was one of the largest clinics in Russia. So, in fact, a marketing agency for medicine grew up, from which services for registering patients grew, and then IT solutions. If we talk about the results, thanks to our cooperation, the turnover on paid services has grown 3 times in 3.5 years.”

Now the company is working on the development of medical tourism. This happened after moving to Uzbekistan.

“The country and the market are very similar and suit us. There is only one center here that performs PET / CT diagnostics, it is probably overloaded. And at the moment we are launching something like medical tourism as part of the diagnostics and even the treatment of oncology with high-tech methods. We want to develop in this area and interact with Uzbekistan.”

About moving to Uzbekistan

The idea of moving, says the guest of the column, has been there for a long time. However, Alexander was held back by the scheduled concert at which his band was supposed to perform.

“I make music, I play drums. We had to perform at a major event for the Digital market in Moscow. We have been getting ready for the concert for more than six months. Until recently, the status of the event was unclear. But when it became known that the concert would not take place, I decided to move.

I considered Uzbekistan as one of the options in terms of ease of communication, lack of a language barrier, similarity to Russia. But the decision was made on the basis of ticket prices. All day we looked at all the possible options where you can fly. We saw fairly cheap tickets to Tajikistan, from where it is easy to get to Uzbekistan, where one of my friends had connections. And so I moved."

But Alexander was in Uzbekistan even before that. And he was not just passing through, but lived for a long time.

“My grandparents and parents are from Navoi. All my childhood I spent summers in Uzbekistan. True, I had never been to Tashkent before. In general, Uzbekistan was even considered as a transit point, possibly for moving to Turkey, Montenegro or Sri Lanka. But when we arrived here, we were pleasantly surprised, I like it here.”

Alexander has been in Tashkent since September. He did not turn to IT Park for help. He attended several open lectures on relocation, where IT Park representatives spoke, and talked about the program itself, about the advantages of living in Uzbekistan, but preferred to do everything on his own. There were no problems with the move, the hero of the story notes. Now Alexander sees opportunities for cooperation with the Park and plans to get to know the organization better in the near future.

As for the settling issues, everything went smoothly and quickly.

“What impressed me a lot is digitalization and automation. Many services are available online. Everything is clear enough. In institutions, everyone is ready to explain, help to understand, answer questions. Therefore, I would say that there were no problems with the bureaucracy. Ahead of us is the opening of the company, taxation and more complex things. But I hope there will be no more disappointments.”

About the IT sector of Uzbekistan

The IT market of Uzbekistan, shares Alexander, is developing rapidly. In his opinion, the market is growing, the state is actively participating in this, digitalization is penetrating the work of state bodies.

“I see the amazing development of Telegram and its use both internally, by the public and by businesses. Unfortunately, almost immediately after moving to Uzbekistan, I managed to get pneumonia here and ran into medicine. I was most impressed with the work of the clinic in terms of digitalization and automation, all communication was built through Telegram. That is, the time of making an appointment, appointments, a list of medicines and tests, a list of doctors who also need to be examined - all this was duplicated in the Telegram bot, reminders came. It's very comfortable. In Moscow, I have not seen this. For example, the appointment the doctor wrote to me by hand, there was an incomprehensible handwriting, but there is nothing to worry about, because all the information immediately comes to the Telegram bot.”

From the negative experience in the IT solution, Alexander notes Yandex.Maps.

“I can’t find answers to the necessary simple questions in the Maps. For example, the work schedule of some institution. I even thought about doing such a project: going to institutions and adding high-quality and reliable information to the Maps. I definitely understood that this is not enough for business. Perhaps the population does not particularly demand for this, that is, the consumption and communication model is slightly different. That is, it seemed to me that here people prefer to ask each other, to communicate. They do not have such a need as in Moscow, where there are a million points per square meter, and without Yandex.Maps, a business will not survive, because it will simply never be noticed in life.”

The specialist is very pleased with the work of Payme. It is very convenient for him, as a user, to use this application.

“It's cool that it's so ubiquitous that businesses are taking it too. I can forget my wallet, ask the establishment if they have Payme and there will be no problems. There are many services in the application itself, including payment by QR code, which is blocked at the level of banks in Russia. I also have a keen interest in Uzum as a market and marketplace, everything they do is quite interesting.

What is sorely lacking in IT solutions is the Internet sphere in terms of services. For example, OLX, as I understand it, a platform where you can solve absolutely all your tasks (I bought furniture and appliances there, and hired cleaners, and searched for nurses), does not always work well. And the lack of a mobile application and a proper interface is a inconvenient.”

Another inconvenience, Alexander continues, is the blocking of SIP channels.

“I have not yet tried to work with local providers, but I could not set up Moscow telephony without a VPN, which did not let me down almost anywhere in the world. Here it caused a big problem. Now I have almost completely abandoned calls and switched to Telegram chats. By the way, about Telegram: I encountered such a problem as a delay in notifications. They come to a lot of people with a big delay. Often this creates problems, especially when waiting for an urgent call. And it is not clear what this is connected with, neither VPN nor anything else helps. Apparently, the peculiarities of building networks or filtering traffic affect.

The digitalization of private clinics, banks and other industries is at a decent level. Alexander has been to a lot of countries, so he has something to compare with.

“All household services, taxi orders, food orders, etc. — everything is on the level, everything is very comfortable. And in general, Uzbekistan has chosen the right course for IT development. The very existence of IT Park, the benefits, opportunities, connections that it provides, already indicates that the country is on the right track. I am sure that if I want to establish cooperation with IT Park now, they will quickly answer me and help me. For example, in Russia I have no idea how I can get a response from some body that supports small businesses. Because there are so many appeals that it is very unlikely to break through among them.”

Tell us about your experience

Uzbekistan made an incredible impression on our guest.

“Long before Uzbekistan, I traveled to Kaliningrad. There is an opinion that Kaliningrad is a small Europe. I went there with the expectation that this is a European town, but ended up in an average Russian city. Expectations were greatly inflated, and when they did not coincide with reality, disappointment occurred. Since then, I stopped expecting something from cities and countries, so I went to Uzbekistan. And the more I was impressed by reality. I really like life in Tashkent, I don’t see any problems here, discomfort in terms of domestic or legal issues there, in terms of entertainment and communication.”

Alexander is satisfied with the quality of the Internet. He does not rule out that it depends on the area of the city, since some acquaintances complained about the speed of the network, but he had no problems. Our hero is also satisfied with the roads and traffic in Tashkent, and he did not cash out money at ATMs.

“I confess that at first I was embarrassed by the exchange rate, because it was different everywhere. This difference raises many questions. As for cash, in Moscow I practically did not use it, but here I already had to. Now I use the map and applications more and more often, it helps.”

The first month of life in Tashkent became an exciting adventure for our hero. He says that this time was a kind of positive turmoil associated with the move, there were many new acquaintances that grew into the formation of a community, which even made it possible to organize several events with the invitation of speakers.

“This is such an active moment in life when you need to get hooked, when you understand that communications and connections are everything for us. Therefore, the first thing I did was try to get some kind of acquaintances and contacts of people. It's very cool when you meet open people who are ready to help along the way. It generally changes the thinking and perception of the world.

I would especially like to note the organization of all events for relocants. This non-profit project has brought together so many people. In addition to meetings and events, chats were organized where anyone can ask a question and find something important.”

As for the bazaars, Alexander describes his impressions of them briefly: an interesting experience.

“In fact, I was there only a couple of times exclusively in the form of excursions. I rarely cook anything myself, so there is no particular need to buy food at the market. But as a cultural phenomenon it was interesting, so we looked at several bazaars. It's an interesting experience, it's very colorful. By the way, some of the prices were pleasantly surprised. But I’m still more of a shop lover, so I only went to the bazaars as a tourist.”

Alexander had a chance to be a tourist not only at the bazaar, but also in some cities of Uzbekistan.

“I went to Samarkand. Samarkand is simply beautiful. Registan and all other historical places are a separate art from which you get visual pleasure. I like it when some modern, but at the same time beautiful buildings are built into the urbanism of the city. The aesthetics and the rhythm of the city in general are fascinating.

If we talk about Tashkent, I liked TV Tower and Tashkent City. When we first went to Tashkent City, we walked there with excitement. Awesome place. I really love modern spaces. And the only thought was: we want to live here. There were several of us with families, so we rented a large apartment for very sane money directly in the City with a view of the park, amazing fountains. It is a special pleasure to go out into the park in the morning, run there, walk, and in the evenings admire the fountains and illuminations.”

Alexander plans to go to the mountains, and first of all, to get to Amirsoy. And now - just enjoy life in Uzbekistan, including nightlife.

“I quickly got acquainted with the nightlife from Uzbekistan, because at about the same time when I arrived in Tashkent, several people from the underground parties arrived, that is, party organizers, DJs, I was impressed by the nightlife. Now here, in my opinion, the underground is actively emerging. It is interesting that many people know each other, it is very easy to get to know people. In Moscow, everything is a little different, so this contrast is very striking.”

Alexander notes, cold winter, which no one promised and everyone said that it had never happened before as somewhat negative experience.

“In general, I did not encounter most of the negative aspects, fortunately in the complex where I lived, electricity, water, and heating were not turned off.

People, openness, warmth, communication, engagement - I would note these things at the level of such a cultural code, a strong difference from Russia. It is not yet clear how to do business here, that is, I see both pluses and minuses, there is still a certain backlog, but I plan to study the Uzbek market in the near future.”

Alexander also notes that at first everything was a little cheaper.

“Compared to Moscow prices, it was much cheaper here. At first, it was very comfortable, we didn’t hold back, we practically didn’t even look at the prices in restaurants. Now the spending of funds and the choice of some establishments are already beginning to be noticeable. At one of the events for relocants, the head of a large digital agency in Uzbekistan spoke about life in Uzbekistan. Then he said that it is not much cheaper to live in Tashkent than in Moscow. At the time, I strongly disagreed with him. But after 4-6 months everything became something like this. But I'm sure it's all temporary."

What do you think of the local people?

Alexander goes all positive when talking about the local people.

“I have poor English for communication in English-speaking countries, and in Uzbekistan there are no problems with the language, many people know Russian. It's so great when you are understood, when there are no language barriers. Thanks to this, it was possible to get to know people more, to understand how they think, how they communicate. Uzbeks are very open, sincere. And in comparison with Moscow, humanity, human communication, and so on – it’s a whole new level here. The people are very friendly and sincere.”

He managed to learn a few phrases in Uzbek, but as he notes, now English is a priority.

“I would like to focus on English. I see that there are a lot of educational centers and language courses here. Literally on every street these centers are visible. It also impressed me.”

Uzbek cuisine evokes exceptionally positive emotions in Alexander.

“Legends can be written about Uzbek cuisine! It's something incredible. Despite the fact that my relatives once lived in Uzbekistan, and I myself spent enough time in Uzbekistan as a child, so the dishes are generally familiar to me, but here everything is cooked differently, tastier. I would like to highlight the kebab. I don’t know how it is seasoned, there are certain notes of aroma and taste in the kebab that are not in those options that are prepared in Russia. I am ready to eat this kebab with onions every day. In general, the food is very tasty, I have not yet run into a single tasteless dish. I think that would be basically impossible."

Alexander is not certain about how long he plans to stay here.

“Summer scares me a little. Plus 50° is not so easy. So for now I'll look at the summer, as far as I can withstand it. But in general, I would live here until the end of winter for sure, and then we will see.”

He recommends to his friends to come to Uzbekistan.

“I am already inviting my friends and acquaintances, at least for some small vacation. Relatives came to visit me, and soon a business partner will come for a few days. I always share my impressions of Uzbekistan with everyone, and I do it with such sparkling eyes, which is interesting to many. The only thing I would note is that Tashkent lacks sights and view areas. Having some big parks, authentic cafes, interesting unusual places where one could organize a two-day tour for someone who is visiting the city could be good.”

A specialist will definitely take pleasant memories and a few souvenirs from Uzbekistan.

“I keep some minor, but memorable things. For example, a ticket to some interesting event, a business card from an interesting conference. That is, I collect some insignificant things, but which are connected with a specific place, a specific situation. The main thing is that I will take with me the emotions that I received from life in the country.”

Alexander is open to cooperation and is currently looking for doctors of various specialties, and first of all, dentists, oncologists and clinic managers.

“I need doctors for medical tourism, especially oncologists. For each of these people, I have my own suggestions. Write me on Telegram for cooperation.”

If you also want to become on the spotlight of our special column, drop a message to the mail: s.mamedova@it-park.uz.