Digital transformation: the time of the first

Digitalization is considered to be a socio-economic transformation, which will be caused by the massive introduction and assimilation of new technologies for creating, processing and transmitting information. But what exactly of the diversity presented by technology companies can be attributed to digital technologies (DT, digital technology)? Today it is a subject of active theoretical discussion, experts and analysts have not yet reached a consensus even on the question of what stage of technical and economic development mankind has actually reached.

Microsoft sees the greatest prospects in the massive introduction of technology platforms, that is, sets of compatible technologies, products, channels and ecosystems for their use. The main elements of these platforms are mobility, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and technologies for processing big data, business intelligence and machine learning. According to Microsoft chief economist Preston McAfee, the cumulative impact of these technologies will lead to a gradual “transformation of products into services”, an expansion of the value chain, as well as “lengthening human capital supply chains” staff and attracting specialists to work as needed.

A bet on intelligence

Business is more interested in the financial effect of the introduction of certain DH. Concretization is offered by analysts of the World Economic Forum (WEF), who tried to predict the cross-sectoral positive effect that the coming digital transformation will cause. Five cross-cutting topics were covered: IT, HR, finance and accounting, supply chain and procurement management, and R&D (research & development).

Cloud computing alone will reduce the average cost of IT maintenance by 25-50%. In the longer term, great hopes are pinned on quantum computing.

In corporate finance and accounting, costs can be reduced by an average of 40%, mainly through the use of cloud accounting systems and artificial intelligence technologies. The active introduction of such forms of digitalization as virtual collaborations, peer-to-peer reputation assessment systems (see the glossary), digital remote interviewing and new web portals for search and hiring staff.

A special study of how digitalization of business is developing in Russia and in the world was carried out at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE). It notes that the effect of digital transformation is expressed not so much in a quantitative increase in labor productivity, but in qualitative changes in business models, the very nature of doing business, its manageability and flexibility.

Leading foreign analysts expect that as the presence of digital technologies expands in various segments of the economy, there will be an abrupt growth in the indicators of the economic efficiency of the use of DH. And right now the world is on the verge of such a leap.

promising direction is the creation of intelligent predictive repair systems. With big data technologies, you can get an accurate forecast of equipment wear in real time.

Digitalization laboratories

Almost every economically significant country in the world has its own program for the development of the digital economy today.

In the fall of 2017, the European Commission announced their intention to invest € 30 billion in digital innovations as part of the special Horizon 2020 program. One of the recognized leaders of the EU in digitalization today is the Netherlands. The country’s status as a digital leader has been ensured by the rapid development of broadband Internet and next generation access networks (NGA networks). The Netherlands has been implementing the Smart Industry Action Agenda since 2015. A feature of the program is the creation of effective ecosystems (smart ecosystems), networks of private companies and scientific and educational institutions. In practice, this is the creation of field laboratories (field labs).

objects of industrial and technological infrastructure, within which private companies and public research organizations jointly develop, test and implement effective solutions and products of the smart industry. An interdisciplinary approach is used: field labs should ensure more effective collaboration between high-tech companies and research organizations from a wide variety of industries, services and agriculture (the ago-industrial sector in the Netherlands is one of the main consumers of new technologies).

Research company TNO (one of the organizations – coordinators of the Smart Industry project) notes that the program for creating a network of new field laboratories aroused the greatest enthusiasm from the regional authorities, who saw in the project an effective mechanism for the growth of smart specialization and clustering of subordinate territories.

The case of the leading German industrial concern Siemens is also interesting. Following the adoption in 2014 of a new development strategy for Vision 2020, top managers of the company have repeatedly announced their intention to purposefully strengthen Siemens’ position as a global digital company. One of the priorities of Vision 2020 is the gradual transformation of Siemens into a digital industrial enterprise.

Siemens management expects that by the beginning of the next decade, the company’s digital business will grow at a double-digit CAGR. At the end of 2016, Siemens revenue from the sale of various digital services amounted to more than € 1 billion, about € 3.3 billion were brought by software solutions and products (software solutions).

State task

The digitalization of the economy in Russia has acquired the status of a state task since last year. In July 2017, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation approved the state program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation” by a government decree.

In a recent report of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the key results of 2017 in terms of the development of the digital economy are the regulatory regulation of the relevant state program and the creation of an action plan that provides for the development of fifty-three bills and two fundamental concepts in 2018-2019. The first concept will relate to the comprehensive legal regulation of digitalization issues.

This year, the ministry begins to remove legal restrictions in key areas of public relations that hinder the development of the digital economy. The tasks are to form a unified digital environment of trust, stimulate digitalization, and improve the rules for access to state information systems.