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?!
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
The tugboat "TAAPE / A-633" of the French Navy sailed to the Port of Bar during a three-day visit to the Navy of Montenegro. As reported from the Ministry of Defense, the crew of the ship "TAAPE" with the representatives of the VCG Navy laid a wreath on a memorial plaque dedicated to the crew of the container "DAGUE" that sank at the entrance to Port Bar in 1915.
"SR TAAPE / A-633" Chamois class is a tugboat has been used in operation since 1983. The ship is 41.02 m long, 7.50 m wide, 550 t displacement, 3.18 m gauge, and the maximum speed it achieves is 14 knots.
The French navy ship will leave Montenegro on Friday.
Text by Vijesti online, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
The civic initiative "Save Sinjajevina" will organize a gathering in Savine vode on July 12th protesting against the intention of the Ministry of Defense to establish a military polygon in the area of this mountain.
"The new protest on July 12th will be in a place that would be directly endangered and devastated in the event a military polygon is established. We are informing the citizens that in addition to the official part of the protest on the 12th of July, they will be able to enjoy the beautiful nature. We will organize a walk to the Jablan peak, while the interested cyclists will be able to enjoy the ride to the beautiful and intact areas of the mountain which the Agency for Nature and Environmental Protection has estimated should get the status of a nature park. Sava lake can be reached by bike on several sides, and we will recommend the track from the village of Lipovo, through the village Potrk to the lake. The trail is demanding for cycling, but it is not too difficult for hiking," said the Civic Initiative.
The GI announces that signage for the petition will be organized at the protest demanding the proclamation of Sinjajevina as a protected area and the abandonment of the intention to establish a military polygon in the territory of that mountain.
"With the petition we demand: to proclaim Sinjajevina as a protected area, that Sinjajevina should continue to be used by cattlemen, the affirmation of Sinjajevina as a tourist destination, supporting the development of Sinjajevina as an agricultural property, branding agricultural products from Sinjajevina, protecting cultural heritage, tradition and archaeological sites on Sinjajevina and informing citizens on the right to a healthy environment," the Civic Initiative stated.
Text by Vijesti online, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
With the new bill of laws adopted by the government, smoking will be completely banned in closed public and working areas, and in the future, it will not be possible to pay taxes in order to allow smoking in some parts of the facility.
The final judgment about the proposition of the law on restricting tobacco products will be by the members of the Assembly of Montenegro.
Health Minister Kenan Hrapovic pointed out that the Prohibition Act strictly forbids consumption in any part of the closed area where work is done among other things by state and local authorities and services, premises where health, educational or cultural activities, social protection, sport and recycling, trade, food processing, food storage, recording and public broadcasting, as well as in the premises where meetings and public gatherings are held.
"More importantly, smoking is not allowed in any room or part of it where food and drink are consumed. So, in the parts of cafes, bars, restaurants serving drinks or food, it is strictly forbidden to smoke," Hrapovic said.
He said that by adopting a new law it would no longer be possible to pay a fee for smoking in some part of the object. Hrapovic said that there is a possibility of determining a special part of the space that the owner specifies for smoking only, for which the conditions of isolation, surface, position, and equipment will be clearly defined.
The Minister of Health said that the payment of monthly fees for the use of tobacco products in catering facilities, in the amount of one euro per square meter, did not give the expected results. He said that in less than seven years only 2.7 million euros were collected from these taxes. World Health Organization (WHO) head Mina Brajovic said that all types of tobacco are toxic to health, including new ones that function according to the tobacco warming principle launched by the tobacco industry.
Brajovic pointed out that the WHO signatories of the Framework Convention on the control of tobacco use from 2018 agreed to recommend the need to prevent the initiation of new tobacco products.
She said that the Scientific Committee on tobacco use, as the advisory figure of the US Food and Drug Administration, with an absolute majority of votes, concluded that there is no scientific evidence that by completely switching from cigarettes to the use of new tobacco products can reduce the risk of illness from diseases associated with smoking.
Text by Ana Komatina, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
12 June 2019 - The fight against organized crime, terrorism and illegal migration was the main topic of the bilateral meeting in Ljubljana between the Minister of the Interior Mevludin Nuhodžić and his counterpart from Slovenia Boštjan Poklukar.
The two officials agreed that Montenegro and Slovenia are two friendly countries, and that cooperation between the two ministries of the interior is traditionally good. On this occasion, Minister Nuhodžić was grateful for Slovenia's support to Montenegro in fulfilling two of the most important foreign policy goals – membership in NATO, which Montenegro has already achieved, and membership in the European Union.
As the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro reported, Minister Nuhodžić assessed that the cooperation between the two police organizations had yielded good results. Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of further strengthening the cooperation between the two departments to provide a high-quality response to common security challenges, but also to prevent all forms of crime.
Minister of the Interior of Slovenia Poklukar confirmed Slovenia's strong support to the European integration of Montenegro, and in that sense announced the continuation of cooperation and assistance through new joint projects.
Speaking on organized crime and terrorism, Minister Poklukar pointed out that the Montenegrin security authorities are a strong partner of the Slovenian police. In this regard, the ministers agreed that successful response to security challenges requires close cooperation and continuous exchange of information between the police of the two countries, and agreed to intensify cooperation in this regard.
Speaking on the topic of illegal migration and the situation in that area from a regional perspective, the ministers agreed that migrations are not a matter of a single state. In that regard, they noted the importance of continuous and open communication of the police in the region and further strengthening of cooperation.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
12 June 2019 - In the four months of this year, banks have granted loans in the amount of 2,95 billion EUR in total. It represents a 2,7% decline at a monthly level, indicates the data of the Central Bank of Montenegro, as reported by Cafe del Montenegro.
The amount of the granted loans is 4,3% higher in comparison to the first four months of last year. As far as the deposits are concerned, they declined by 3,2% in April in comparison to March and amounted to 3,32 billion EUR. At an annual level, deposits increased by 1%.
“There has been a decline in deposits at the monthly level since Atlas bank has been excluded from the records,” explained the representatives of the Central Bank of Montenegro.
If deposits of Atlas Bank are left out from the total deposits in April, the savings increase at banking system level amounts 7,6% annually.
“Time deposits make up 32,3% of the total, whereas demand deposits made up 67,6%,” stated the Report generated by the Central Bank of Montenegro.
In mid-May, the Central Bank of Montenegro reported that thirteen banks that operate in Montenegro (apart from Atlas and IBM that went bankrupt) were in the plus 14,3 million EUR at the end of the first quarter. Every bank has made a profit except for Nova and Zirat. Universal Capital Bank had the biggest increase in profit. In comparison to the same period last year, its profit has increased by 13 times.
Banks have earned a total of 33,4 million EUR based on interests and 8,3 million EUR based on fees and commissions. Erste Bank has made the highest profit in three months – 2,4 million EUR. It has earned 5,5 million EUR based on interests and 579.000 EUR based on fees and commissions.
Read more about Business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
The custody department of the NLB bank from Podgorica, which controls the hidden owners of shares from the portfolio companies ZIF Eurofond, should in the next few days, on the demand of public notaries, block the remaining shares of this fund in favor of disagreeable shareholders to be offered for sale at the Stock Exchange in the process of execution of the several court judgments. NLB Bank is, in other words, the depository bank of ZIF Eurofond, which since December 2015 did not fulfill its legal obligation and paid disagreeable shareholders.
Among the most valuable shares that will be the subject of the sale, in the process of compulsory billing, there are majority shares of the funds of Solana "Bajo Sekulic" from Ulcinj and Izbor from Bar.
These are the shares from the portfolio of funds that have been pledged to the bank Alpinum AG - Vaduz from Liechtenstein a few years ago, as means for securing loans withdrawn, as confirmed by the Capital Market Commission.
Public executives Aleksandar Boskovic and Aleksandra Tomkovic Vukoslavcevic have made three decisions on the execution of two court verdicts to settle 28 disagreeable shareholders of ZIF Eurofond, which, according to final verdicts, amount to a total of about EUR 1.15 million.
In an earlier communication with the custody department of NLB and representatives of the Central Clearing and Depository Company (CKDD), the notary Boskovic was unable to immediately sell the remaining Eurofund shares because he received an answer that the fund is not their owner.
Last week, NLB representatives finally admitted that the remainder of the fund's shares is in the hidden aggregate account number 8 right in that bank and that they will respond in writing to this notary’s request "in two or three days" which has not happened to this day.
Ulcinj’s Solana is the beneficiary of over 13 million square meters of land in the hinterland of Velika plaza in Ulcinj. Izbor is a company from Bar which owns real estate in Bar, Podgorica and Cetinje. Out of the 161 disagreeable shareholders of ZIF Eurofond, about 70 of them had sued the fund a couple of years ago. The disagreeable shareholders initially demanded about €5.8 million.
Boskovic: Interest rate is still being calculated
The notary Boskovic told “Vijesti” that the procedures are in the process of obtaining accurate data on the quantity and type of actions owned by the executive debtor - ZIF Eurofond, which are registered with the CKDD. "In the course of the proceedings, the notary has taken all actions within his jurisdiction in order to enforce the collection of claims, recording the execution for all shares owned by the executive debtor. Execution decisions that, among other funds, were also executed on the shares of the executive debtor, were made in January and February this year. At this point, it is not possible to provide accurate information on the value of claims of executive creditors, since the solutions are determined by execution and to charge the interest rates calculated from the due date until the final payment, which remains uncertain. The sale of the shares that are the subject of the execution is carried out through an authorized shareholder on the stock exchange, after obtaining the amount and value of the shares. Also, I appreciate that by providing information on the identity of executive creditors and the number of their claims, the personal and economic interest of the participants in the proceedings could be jeopardized, protected by the Personal Data Protection Act," Boskovic stated.
Text by Milorad Milosevic, on June 12th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
Former Director of Invest Bank Montenegro Enes Kurpejovic is the chief candidate for the future executive director of Montenegroberza, as "Vijesti" unofficially finds out from several sources at the top management of the Atlas Group.
Kurpejovic has been working for Montenegroberza for a month as a deputy director, and the mandate of the current acting director Mirko Markovic is due to expire on July 15th this year.
The Board of Directors of Montenegroberza decided in the first half of January this year, after the implemented but not realized tender, to decide on the further selection of directors and secretaries of this joint share company, and for the acting director of the company appointed Markovic, a graduated computer engineer who is permanently employed at the stock since 2011.
Kurpejovic did not even take part in this tender for the election of the new executive director and secretary of Montenegroberza, where as many as 15 potential candidates applied.
Sources of "Vijesti" claim that the new deputy director of stock exchange enjoys great confidence in the President of Atlas Group Dusko Knezevic, whose several affiliated companies together with MNE stockbroker agent Aco Aleksic, mostly control stock market management.
The Board of Directors of the Stock Exchange subsequently took the position not to publish publicly the names of the candidates who applied for the last year's ad.
Potential candidates interested in submitting, as stated in the advertisement, "apart from their personal reputation and professional ability, were required to have higher education (with a minimum of 240 CSPK credits) and that under the provisions of the Capital Market Act (Articles 153 and 154) do not have any restrictions on their appointments".
This tender preceded the resignation of Gojko Maksimovic, former director of Montenegroberza, at the beginning of December, who has been employed at this position since 2011.
Text by Milorad Milosevic, on June 12th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
At 7.30 p.m. in Farum, the Montenegrin handball team will play against the Faeroes Islands in the penultimate match in the eighth qualifying round for the European Championship.
The win against the Faeroes, but also on Sunday in Podgorica against Ukraine, would bring Zoran Roganovic's players the second place and placement in the Championships that will be played in Sweden, Norway, and Austria next January. Montenegro can also be one of the four best third-placed teams, for which their match in Farum is of no relevance, but Ukraine must be defeated on Sunday in "Moraca".
Montenegro disappointed in the first duel with the Faeroes Islands with a tie at home (24:24), which is the only point of that selection in the qualifying group. Today, there should be no surprises.
"Certainly, these are the two most important matches. In the first duel, we did not play well against the Faeroes Islands, and now we have to have a more serious approach. It is important that we play smart, divide the time and celebrate against the Faeroes Islands and then against Ukraine and give the maximum to win. It is true that some players just joined the team two days ago and that it is the end of the season, but these are the two most important matches, and everyone will give the maximum to win the placement," said Stefan Cavor. Montenegro lost to Ukraine after the drama with the Faeroes (29:24), and as expected in Denmark (37:26), but the "Lions" caught the connection with a sensational victory against the Olympic and World Champions Denmark (32:31) in the previous round, and now on the wings of that triumph they want to win the remaining two games and achieve the goal.
However, regardless of the outcome of the match in the Faeroes Islands, Montenegro would definitely be a participant in the finale if they win against Ukraine, as one of the four best third-placed teams.
"We do care whether we are going to be the second or third. The better placement also allows us to get an easier group at the European Championship. When we already have a chance, we have to enter with 100 percent in both games, said the goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic.
Ukraine did well for 48 minutes against the favorites of the group, Denmark, yesterday in Kiev, who celebrated at the end with 33:30. By doing so, they helped the "Lions" in the fight for the second place, and now everything depends on Roganovic's team.
"It will not be easy. We saw in the first game that the Faeroes Islands are not the outsiders as we all considered them to be. They created problems also for Ukraine. We must focus and be ready, as we have been against Denmark, to gain victory. Only this time we are much stronger, we are in better shape because of the come-back of Nemanja Grbovic and right-back Branko Vujovic, and this is, in my opinion, the best of our selection, and we will be ready for challenges today and on Sunday, emphasized the side quarter-back Marko Lasica.
Simic: We must not underestimate the Faeroes Islands as in the first match
Goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic, a hero of the victory against the Danes, says the "Lions" will play without calculation, even though they are expecting an even more important match against Ukraine in Podgorica on Sunday.
"We will play without any calculation, and hopefully we will enter the wins in the final two games, which will bring us the second place in the group and the placement at the European Championship. The Faeroes Islands are not easy to beat, and Ukraine barely beat them so we must not underestimate them as in the first match. We have to do our maximum and win two points, and to be extremely prepared and motivated for the most important match against Ukraine in Podgorica," said the hero of the victory over the Danes, the goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic.
Text by Slavisa Zivaljevic, on June 13th, 2019, read more at Vijesti