BSC Business Support Center with support from the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) implements the “Shaping the Digital Economy Agenda in Armenia” project. On October 19, in the frames of the project the 5th public-private dialogue (PPD) meeting of “Digitalization: ICT-Consultants-SMEs Cooperation” was conducted.
The main goal of the meeting entitled “Digitalization: ICT-Consultants-SMEs Cooperation” was to bring together the three actors of digitalization, to identify the challenges and opportunities of cooperation, to highlight the role of the state organizations in the process of improving this tripartite cooperation.
As a result of the discussion, a better understanding of sector needs and possible solutions that the state can facilitate were highlighted. There were 45 representatives of SMEs, ICT and consulting sectors during the meeting.
Below are the details of meeting moderators:
– Consulting industry representative – Samvel Gevorgyan, founding director of BSC Business Support Center,
– SME representative – Davit Sargsyan, director of IT Spark LLC,
– IT industry representative – Arsen Mnatsakanyan, Essential Company, Business development specialist.
Below you can see a summary of all the thoughts expressed during the meeting:
1. Sometimes people have different perceptions about digital platforms and solutions. To avoid misunderstanding, each entrepreneur should visualize his business processes, present them to the IT expert, who will propose the necessary digitalization solutions according to the problems.
2. Consultants have not yet positioned themselves in the digitalization process as translators who ensure mutual understanding between IT and business representatives.
3. Consultants sometimes face a mindset problem. Sometimes, they have to assure the client that it is not possible to ensure competitiveness without innovation and digitalization.
4. Sometimes consultants also fall short, they might have a problem of capacity, lack of training and knowledge.
5. Sometimes decisions are made individually in organizations. As a guide, consultants should help entrepreneurs clarify their requirements, formulate a strategy, help make decisions transparently, efficiently and impartially.
6. Trilateral cooperation is very weak. Business and IT representatives do not accept the consultant as a connecting and important bridgeing stakeholder. The entrepreneur believes that he possesses the deepest knowledge of his business and tends to overlook the consultant's experience and the valuable insights derived from accumulated data, which could guide him in the right direction.
7. We do not have Armenian CRM, ERP platforms, and locally developed ones are expensive. Using the services of other countries' platforms may cause data security problems.
8. Sometimes there is a misconception about what a digitalization consultant can do. It should be clarified here that if there are problems in the business activity, the business model is not working well, digital transformation cannot solve all these problems.
9. A digital solution is presented superficially to entrepreneurs, so they do not understand the benefits, which is why they are unwilling to make this investment.
10. Sometimes, entrepreneurs approach IT companies and inquire about a digital solution or platform without presenting their business problem.
11. There is also a lack of awareness, businesses don't know that there are free tools that can serve them.
12. Sometimes IT representatives face the problem that people do not know which data can be transferred and which cannot. When choosing an online platform, entrepreneurs start to resist when providing data, they do not distinguish between personal or confidential data.
13․ During tripartite cooperation, there is often a problem of communication language and terms, the entrepreneur does not know the technical language of IT and vice versa.
1. Since the state cannot directly intervene in the process of business digitalization, it is suggested to develop a certain law, to understand what privileges can be provided to digitalized businesses. For example, in Germany, the state subsidizes and forces businesses to use the services of consultants.
2. It is proposed to create a tool for identifying business digitalization problems, which will help to reduce the time for consultants to study and identify business problems.
3. When establishing a business, an entrepreneur chooses a field of activity, it is suggested that the state obliges entrepreneurs to invest and use digital tools in accordance with the tax code for their activities.
4. The state orgaizations can make a referral based on its data and experience. For example, if a vegetable shop has been established and closed for several times in the same area, it is possible to guide entrepreneurs not to establish the same business there again.
5. The establishment of a communication platform by the government is essential for the identification and emphasis of sector-specific needs and requests. Through this platform, the government can effectively respond, initiate necessary actions, and provide appropriate referrals in response to these requirements.
6. A guide can be developed to lead entrepreneurs through the essential procedures required for launching a new business.
7. In the framework of digitalization, it is proposed to integrate all non-cash business transactions into the online tax system.
8. It is necessary that there should be support from the state to ensure the specialization of digitalization consultants, to train digitalization consultants.
9. Consultants can provide support to businesses to apply for state grant packages, and the state can encourage this cooperation with consultants.
10. It is recommended to the state to form a quality institute of digitalization service providers and consultants, which will be able to guarantee specialists, create trust for cooperation with business representatives. To carry out this assessment and qualification, it is necessary to rely on international qualifications and experience.
11. It is proposed to create Armenian versions of CRM, ERP and other digitization platforms, which will securely store the data of Armenian businesses. Based on some criteria, it is recommended to force businesses to implement the mentioned systems.
12. Due to subsidy or support from the state, it is possible to provide a free digital solution to entrepreneurs for a certain period of time, after testing and success of which, seeing the results of digitalization, the entrepreneur will be ready to go digital.
The tripartite meeting entitled “Digitalization: ICT-Consultants-SMEs Cooperation” will be followed by a meeting of public-private sectors with the representative of the RA Ministry of Economy, during which the above-mentioned problems and proposals will be discussed. Follow the BSC social pages to be informed about the next meeting-discussions.
The series of public-private dialogues (PPDs) is carried out within the framework of the “Shaping the Digital Economy Agenda in Armenia" project conducted by the Business Support Center (BSC) with support from the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE). To participate in the next PPD meetings of the project, subscribe with the link below and follow our announcements.