SPIEF-2018 participants discuss problems and prospects of digital business transformation


The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was held on May 26, 2018, featured an annual IT breakfast ‘Digital business transformation. International experience and practice in Russia’. The event, which was organized by RVC, RAEC (Russian Association for Electronic Communications) and Russoft, brought together representatives from development institutions, major Russian and foreign companies that offer different IT products and apply modern technologies in business. The meeting participants discussed international experience, best Russian practices and the role of state support in the implementation of new technologies.

According to the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC), the IT industry in Russia is developing ahead of schedule, the share of digital economy in the national GDP has already achieved 2.42%. The export of Russian software increased by 15% last year. According to ‘Russoft’, it will demonstrate at least the same growth in 2018. According to experts, digitalization is settling down in the world economy so firmly and rapidly that almost any business should undergo digital transformation to be able to compete and survive.

In his opening speech RVC’s General Director Alexander Povalko noted that current activities in digital transformation are underway in all areas, from educational programs to support of IT developers:

‘We have a comprehensive financing tool – venture funds created by RVC and dealing with IT solutions. Within NTI we support NTI Competence Centers which emerge at the premises of universities and science entities in order to develop ‘end-to-end’ technologies. This will create human communities to overcome challenges of the digital economy. RVC also participates in the activities of the group tasked with forming technological reserves and research competencies under the program ‘Digital Economy of the Russian Federation’. The task of the group is to create a mechanism to support and overcome gaps in technology and to build up national competence in nine ‘end-to-end’ technologies.’

Biometric platforms are one of the leading ‘digital’ directions, which Russia is actively exploring at present. The technology allows you to verify your identity without using passwords and submitting documents and to store personal information. The experts say that a spiraling power of this technology is unstoppable.

‘Present-day machines understand us, recognize us by face and voice and communicate. In the future, passwords will be replaced with biometric technologies. But there are also new challenges - the danger of information hacks, and the technical service industry in biometrics is developing to respond these threats. We have been working on it for a while now and are ready to cooperate with foreign colleagues, even within the ‘road maps’ of NTI, where these solutions are in active development,’ said Dmitry Dyrmovsky, General Director of the Center for Speech Technology.

‘The world is changing very fast. Non-digital businesses will be gone in the near future. Unless transformed, they will cease to exist. And not everyone will be able to solve this issue on his own. Companies need expert support to get advice on digitalization, strategic partners to track all trends in IT and digital transformation,’ said Svetlana Balanova, IBS CEO.

‘We have seen transport companies transform their business. They switched to GPS-service and now can track travel of their vehicles. Whether business is a success or failure today largely depends on how companies process data and use cloud services. Now we have artificial intelligence and blockchain coming. Russia is investing significant fundsin these fields’, said Shannon Poulin, Global Market Technology Implementation Director at Intel Corporation.

According to experts, successful implementation of digital technologies in businesses requires common comprehensible application standards, openness and joint participation of major IT companies in the development of new solutions. The most important conditions to success are to train IT specialists and company personnel to work with new technologies, to develop a digital culture and understand the importance of innovations. Thus, according to a survey conducted by Microsoft Rus, only 17% of Russian respondents find a level of digital culture to be acceptable in their organizations

‘If we do not train staff, do not change people’s minds and not implement new technologies, we will lose our customers,’ sums up Pavel Ershov, the company's operating director.

Given the political situation in the world, experts also noted the importance of introducing technologies that are resistant to sanctions.‘ Vladimir Rubanov, the managing director of Rosplatform, shared his proposal in this regard:

‘We have come up with an idea to create Russian technological products based on an open source code. The second way is a deep transfer of technologies to create Russian products. If we get a full source code of international top technologies, all appropriate tools to work with such code, and we get all the rights to use them at our discretion.

Carlo Rosotto, a leading specialist in information and communication technologies, the World Bank's regional coordinator, stressed that digital transformation is a key to competition. The country needs a policy that can quickly adapt to technological changes, including the digital economy.

‘It is very important to expand cloud technologies in machine building industry, heavy industry,’ the expert said.

‘The expansion of digitalization will largely depend on support of start-ups in the country’, says Pavel Gudkov, Deputy General Director of the Innovation Promotion Fund.

‘A big problem for venture funds is shortage of projects rather than money. New ideas, people, companies should play an key role in the development of digitalization. It is necessary to create conditions for more start-up to emerge in the IT sphere. This should be clearly laid out in the state policy,’ the expert said.


About RVC

RVC JSC is a governmental fund of funds, the Institute of Development of the Russia's venture investment industry. The main objectives of RVC JSC: promote creation of Russia's own venture capital industry and execute functions of the Project Office of the National Technology Initiative (NTI). The authorized capital of RVC JSC is more than 30 billion roubles. One hundred per cent of the RVC capital is owned by the Russian Federation represented by the Federal Agency for Management of State Property of the Russian Federation (Rosimushchestvo). The total number of funds formed by RVC JSC has reached 26, their total size is 35.7 billion roubles. The share of RVC JSC is 22.7 billion rubles. The number of innovative companies approved for investment by RVC funds has reached 223. The total amount of monetary funds approved for investment is 18.2 billion roubles.

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