Digital Transformation: A New Chance for Montenegro's Economic Growth

By , 14 Jun 2019, 15:31 PM Business
Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic on digital transformation Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic on digital transformation TeleGroup Montenegro

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Digital business transformation is a relatively new term in the domestic market, which is currently very much talked about, but still, there is little knowledge about the same. What it implies and how it can contribute to the sustainable development and growth of companies in the digital age and what are the steps for successful business transformation are revealed by Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic, CEO of TeleGroup Montenegro. This company is already a quarter of a century engaged in the integration of technology and business, and from 2013, it helps business users to connect, digitize, automate and protect their business most optimally.

Companies around the world, including Montenegro, are faced with the challenges of digital transformation. What does it really imply and what is the biggest challenge facing companies in the 21st century?

Digital transformation is indeed a relatively new term in the domestic market that is much talked about, and there is little knowledge about or an even better understanding of its essence. People often put the sign of equality between digitization and digital transformation, which is incorrect and can point the company in the wrong way. By introducing ERP or CRM you have not transformed your business, you have somewhat improved the way you work and automate certain processes, which is essentially a digitalization process. On the other hand, the multilayer process that implies adapting your business model to the digital age where interaction with the customer and creating value for the user, I dare say, is digital transformation. One would say, what is this change in the mode of work compared to ten or twenty years ago when it is logical that the user is always in the foreground?! The difference is enormous, in my experience.

We live in a world where the user dictates the game - wants the best possible service or product at the best price with the utmost convenience of consumption. Customer reviews on our products and services have a much greater impact on the public than ads of the brand itself. In order to survive, it is necessary to create this new value for the user. Companies often glorify their own products and think that the previous success is guaranteed and because of this, a priori do not want to change anything in their business. Because of this way of thinking and business based on the principles of the economy of the past century, companies risk their survival. Is there a bigger challenge?!

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 Which are the most important steps for successful business transformation? Do companies need help in this process, or they can do it all by themselves?

There is no universal manual to become a modern company from a conventional one in a few steps. One of the most important things in this process is the ability of companies to create a new value for the user, to quickly change in accordance with the characteristics of the contemporary market and to put their ideas on the test through continual communication with users, because they are the only ones competent to verify ideas no matter if they are about creating a new product, service or new way of delivering it. Many business theorists will say that only startups can make worldwide tectonic disturbances on the market. However, the facts deny this. There are a number of good examples of companies that have emerged in the pre-digital era, and timely understood the rules of a new market game such as General Electric, Toyota or, say, the Britannica. They started, at the right moment, the process of transforming the business model to provide to the user, who is more demanding within the spheres of digital technology, additional value for the money invested.

This process is not easy. It is most difficult to change the awareness of people in one organization. On this path, the companies above had the help of a consultant whose task was to revive the entrepreneurial way of thinking, the one who brought them success at the beginning of their work. Today, within the TeleGroup system, we have a team of innovators that are made of certified digital transformation consultants. Our mission is to help companies, regardless of their size and business, to provide new growth paths through the innovation of products, services or a complete business model that is in line with the 21st-century economy principles. We believe that this is a chance for the growth of the domestic economy. 

Digital technologies are a driver of innovation. How much is the Montenegrin IT market up-to-date in terms of tracking technological trends and introducing innovations and how it is positioned in relation to the countries of the region?

The IT scene in Montenegro, like most countries, is directly dependent on economic and business conditions, so it can be said that in Montenegro, with little delay, there are developed and provided services at the regional level. With the development of the economy and its need for further progress, the domestic IT sector is working to innovate its own bidding and develop tools that will enable companies to work more efficiently while reducing operating costs. However, much more state support is needed in terms of creating formal prerequisites mostly from the aspect of regulation, in order to allow undisturbed work to organizations within the digital economy. If you look at what has happened in China for the past 10 to 15 years, if you look at how much economic growth has been achieved through services driven by modern technology platforms, it is clear to you that this is the time that gives everyone a chance to make a revolution. Because, as Erik Ris says, innovations are not reserved for some sort of chosen circle of people, but the ideas that change the world are often hidden in the most unexpected places.

Specifically, Montenegro has high-tech companies and is experiencing growth in the domestic IT sector but faces a serious lack of professional staff. Our talented IT professionals of all profiles go abroad where they are offered much better conditions not only for earnings but also professional training. One way that the domestic IT industry is advancing and retaining quality people is to develop its own innovative products that will have a greater share in overall growth compared to outsourcing services. This is a creative part of a job for which young people go overseas and which can bring companies a dazzling success, and production on order itself cannot be such for sure. That is why we are delighted that in Montenegro, there are innovative technology startups which are trying to make that difference.

It is also necessary to support both the state and the economy in order to develop a home-grown startup ecosystem, and young people to get the chance to make great things in the country where they were born. One of the positive examples is the Association of Montenegro Managers, which through all its activities, especially through the Digital Transformation Board, is trying to foster innovation and a new business perspective to make everyone achieve more.

Through the development of IPTV platforms and innovative TV applications, the company TeleGroup has shown that telecommunications operators can provide sustainable development in the digital economy era where the end user dictates the game. What kind of innovation is this?

I will give you an example of one Telekom operator in the region who has decided to expand its portfolio and offer enhanced IPTV services to keep the lead position in the target market. What did we innovate? We have been working on innovating digital television services. First, we responded to the primary user request and implemented the most up-to-date IPTV multiscreen platform that allows consumers to watch video content on any smart device. But in that process, we have gone a step further. Along with their video team, we've been thinking about what video services are going to make them more competitive than other operators in the region.  

After a thorough analysis of the current state of the market for IPTV services in the region, the ability to experiment and test new ideas quickly, we have developed innovative TV applications that enable citizens to surf on favorite social networks on ordinary TV and then buy TV packages while sitting in the armchair without going to the branch office and modify the subscription model, record and watch missed TV content up to 72 hours back, have a video, mosaic channels, watch the news and favorite sports forecasts and other similar things the user used to have on his smartphone, and now that same experience and the ultimate multimedia experience on their TV. As a result, our client has gained steadily the number of new users, thus we as a technology partner fully responded to the requirements and helped create this new value for the user.

Cybercrime is a much-talked-about topic and we agree it represents a severe challenge to the world's largest companies. Hacker attacks are getting more and more common and the impression is that companies in the digital era face the challenge of preserving the security of their information systems and keeping their data safe. How can TeleGroup company respond to these challenges?

Information security is facing a huge challenge in the 21st century. The motives for attacks are increasing, and how hackers come to data and how they use them to gain their own interests are more and more creative and innovative. And despite black statistics and publicly available data on how many economies are losing ground around the planet due to unauthorized intrusion into systems, there are still many companies in the region that do not invest in protecting their business. People are fooled and think that t it will not happen to them, they are unaware that just as these thoughts go through the head, the hackers are messing up with their emails or websites or business applications …

We fight each day against the attacks, and we are not a global corporation. I particularly highlight this due to the small and medium-sized companies that are irresponsible in relation to this reality. We live in a connected world and preventive security strategy is the first and most important step that every smart company is undertaking. Therefore, this is the first thing we work with the customers - or we're starting it from scratch or the existing “cybersecurity strategy” we bring to the level of today's frames. After that, we are designing and implementing "cybersecurity" solutions that will drastically reduce security risks and provide maximum protection at the user's network level, data, and the most important applications, because the biggest risk today is right here - in the world of business applications.

Nobody and I underline absolutely nobody can guarantee that you will fully apply the latest technology tools to completely protect your business. Unfortunately, along with the technology development are also growing the security risks that need to be understood and to have the ability to manage them.

Text by Promo, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

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