BSC Business Support Center and the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) are implementing a joint project of “Shaping the Digital Economy Agenda in Armenia”. 8 private-public dialogue meetings (PPDs) are planned in the frames of the project. The first meeting of the PPD series was held on May 23.
Panel discussion “The business digitalization and current opportunities" aimed at ensuring the dialogue between representatives involved in digitalization processes over the implementation of a digital transformation strategy.
During the meeting, conceptual questions about digitization were raised, which helped the speakers to conduct an effective discussion and bring out the current situation, opportunities, and scope of activities of the public and private sectors in the digitalization agenda.
The event started with the welcome speeches delivered by:
– Haykuhi Gevorgyan, RA Ministry of Economy, expert of the department of knowledge based economy.
– Luiza Ayvazyan, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Head of Office, Armenia Branch․
– Samvel Gevorgyan, BSC Business Support Center, founder and director․
Below are the details of panelists:
– Arshak Kerobyan, Head of Digitalization Department, Ministry of HTI․
– Narek Aleksanyan, Business expert, Founder of Chief Solutions Generator․
– Arthur Karapetyan, Digitalization expert, Founder of TextnPayMe․
– Olga Semyonova, Cybersecurity expert, Grant Thornton Armenia․
– Karen Martirosyan, Business expert, Partner at Avenue Consulting Group․
A brief summary of the meeting can be found below:
1․ The role of the public sector in the digitization process
– Digitalization of state processes will create opportunities for digitalization of the private sector. The services that will be provided by the public sector should be affordable, accessible, and ensure cooperation of private sector organizations, citizens and the public sector.
– The driving force of digital transformation is the state. According to the representative of the public sector, supporting organizations and structures will be developed that will ensure comprehensive digitization of all processes.
– Now an architecture is being created for the state system, that will coordinate the communication between state structures. This process will be facilitated by the study and assessment of digitalization initiatives, state-level control, as a result of which the initiatives of various international and local organizations will be more effective and targeted.
2․ The role of the private sector in the digitalization process
– According to experts, the involvement of the private sector and willingness to support the state is important in digitalization processes. Each structure has its own contribution to the digitization and security of the system. From this point of view, data security and cyber security are critical issues. Cybersecurity is the responsibility of each party, both in private and public sectors.
– According to experts, digitization is an engaging process. To achieve widespread digitalization, there must be opinion leaders who will infect others with the idea of digital transformation and spread the use of new technologies. For example, the success of online stores can be inspiring for stores to go digital, offer online sales and services.
– Trust and transparency play an important role in the digitalization process. In order to win the trust of the buyer/client, it is suggested, for example, in the case of online sales, to make the process transparent, provide the costumer with the quantity of the assortment available in the warehouse, send updates during the entire process of delivery, inform on the steps and the deadline.
3․ What can drive a business to go digital?
– For small and medium businesses, there are certain problems in the export process. In the case of small businesses, it can even be devastating. Thanks to digitalization, these businesses will have the opportunity to go to the international online platform, offer their products and services to a wider public, avoiding logistic problems and large investments.
– According to the expert, the value of digitalization is the ability to make decisions based on data, which can interest businesses to make a digital transformation and increase the effectiveness of their decisions.
– During the digitalization processes, entrepreneurs will have a feeling of being left out of the general flow (fear of missing out), which will contribute to the digitalization of the organization and the use of technological solutions.
4․ What are the obstacles to digitalization?
– Digital transformation, like any change, causes resistance. The majority has no idea what is expected from them, what comes with digital transformation, and as a result, an impression of additional burden is created.
– There are many risks on the way of digitalization, which are due to the implementation of new systems and tools, the use of unfamiliar platforms. When an entrepreneur does not see the physical location of his data, there is a lack of confidence in the storage of data in the system and the leakage of data from that system. These technical issues can be an obstacle in the way of digitalization of businesses.
– One of the necessary components of digitalization is the use of modern technologies, which requires financial investments. When a businessman does not see the result of his investment, he avoids making it.
– It is wrong to think that digitalization will “save the world" or solve all our problems. For example, due to the difference in financial markets, the internal resources of IT organizations in Armenia hardly serve local businesses and do not offer innovative solutions to implement improvements within the state and contribute to digital transformation.
5․ Suggestions mentioned by the speakers in the implementation of digital transformation
– Create processes that will motivate businesses to go digital. It is proposed, for example, to provide loans with favorable conditions to those SMEs whose business processes are automated, to mediate their participation in international competitions and exhibitions.
– To implement improvement processes in the services provided by the state, which will help to highlight the gaps in the existing systems, monitor the performance of the implemented systems and feedback from users.
– To develop a platform through which the initiatives and measures implemented by the public sector structures will become available to the private sector and the society. The presence and branding of government bodies on social networks can promote the dialogue and effectiveness of cooperation between the public and private sectors.
– Study and evaluate digitalization initiatives, monitor that the processes implemented by various bodies, international and local organizations are targeted and goal-oriented.
The series of public-private dialogues (PPDs) is carried out within the framework of the “Shaping the Digital Economy Agenda in Armenia" project of the Business Support Center (BSC) and the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE).