Digital transformation. What to do if you don't want to get left behind?

Digital transformation. What to do if you don't want to get left behind?
Dmitriy Yakushev
Chief Commercial Officer

The digital transformation that everybody, from academics to housekeepers, is talking so much about today, calls for not only fundamental restructuring of companies and the ways in which they engage with their clients. It also means abandoning well-entrenched business practices that companies have been refining for decades and moving towards completely new principles of operation that are still emerging. Experts talk at length about why this is needed and where it's going to take us. But at the moment, perhaps, the most interesting issue that IT companies have to tackle is this: what is the proper way to use the new opportunities afforded by technology, which areas should be developed in order to make money off the digital transformation now?

- How can IT companies make money off the digital transformation?

If we were to put it in today's buzz words, the digital transformation is yet another stage of the industrial revolution that started in the mid-18th century when the big transition started from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. Every new breakthrough technology pours oil on this fire and information technology with its lightening speed development has become practically an equivalent of nuclear fuel for the industrial revolution. Technologies for gathering, processing and storing information have enabled companies to create completely new ways to serve their customers, boosting the efficiency of their business, but they are also creating new challenges and problems, especially in information security.

One thing is clear, though, IT companies simply can't afford to ignore the progress; they need to be flexible and adapt with the market, pro-actively developing their expertise, studying the business of their customers in great detail to find new ways to solve their problems for them. As the domestic market is lagging behind the rest of the world to some extent, domestic IT companies get to learn from both positive and negative experience of their foreign counterparts and apply those lessons at home by tweaking them to better fit the Russian mentality. This does not mean that IT companies that have been accumulating experience over decades need to drop everything and start doing something else by blindly copying their foreign colleagues. In most cases, the best thing about new technologies is that they let you expand upon existing solutions and products by improving and customising them to meet specific customer demands.

- What digital transformation solutions are you ready to present now?

Information security is as relevant as ever, as digitisation continues apace. The more complex and the larger your infrastructure the more likely it's going to experience malfunctions and the more opportunities it's going to offer to bad actors to break into your systems and networks. And that is exactly the reason why the market needs reliable solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure. One product that STEP LOGIC has to offer in this field is the SIEM integrated incident orchestration solution which automates the monitoring incident response function, information security and video analytics events and offers big data based operational analytics capabilities. In order to visualise KPIs that business can make sense of we suggest using various types of graphics (static and dynamic visualisation) as well as development of interactive 3D interfaces.

In addition, STEP LOGIC is conducting serious research in Industrial IoT. We offer innovative solutions for all basic industries: industrial production, retail, the banking sector, transport and others.

We've also got in our portfolio a number of comprehensive solutions for health and safety, including solutions that make use of our very own in-house RFID equipment. For example, a single system for registration and inventory of hazardous facilities and technical devices ensures site safety and personnel control. For example, our solution can automatically track all required PPE elements, computerise the inventory, keep track of its service life, and schedule the purchase of new sets while completely eliminating the use of illegal PPE. All PPE units are equipped with tags that can withstand up to 150 wash cycles. Certain areas of the facility are equipped with tag-reading equipment; all responsible employees have mobile tag-readers. This way, the solution allows PPE control and monitoring at any time and throughout the enterprise.

- Suppose a company decided to go ahead with digital transformation what would be the most natural starting point for restructuring its business?

You start by looking at your team and business processes. You need to get your head around the new consumer society and the new different rate of consumption. It's not just visionaries that can come up with new solutions that are needed, you also need to have business processes in place to help you minimise the time-to-market for those new solutions.

- How do you go about preparing and reorganising your business in order for it to be able to do digital transformation projects for clients? What needs to change, what competencies need to be developed?

As I already mentioned, you start with people and business processes. At STEP LOGIC, we always pay lots and lots of attention to these factors. The most important type of capital for us is our people, our team who share values and objectives. We value the competencies of each one of our employees, always trying to help them learn, self-develop and acquire new competencies. We care just as much about our customers. For example, at STEP LOGIC we have in-house QA department whose main job is to assess customer satisfaction and adjust the company's internal business processes to increase it. In our experience, this has been one of the most effective tools that has allowed us as an IT company to keep up with the digital transformation.

- Is there demand for consultancy services?

Consultancy is essentially becoming the core business for IT companies: customers often find it difficult to navigate through all the new solutions that often solve some local problem. They could expand their in-house expertise but that is expensive, involves expanding into non-core activities and is hindered by a shortage of skilled labour. The far more efficient solution is to hire experts as consultants as well as to outsource non-core activities to experts. Here, I would like to mention our Security Operation Centre service as an example, essentially being consultancy and outsourcing rolled into one, allowing customers to save a lot of money while getting guaranteed SLA. In situations where some entrenched prejudices or information security policy preclude the use of SOC, we, as experts who have to deal with information security on a daily basis, help our customers build in-house solutions.

- What are the main difficulties companies run into with this option? What's the best way to tackle them?

Perhaps the main difficulty that really needs to be mentioned is the mentality and the way business is done in Russia. The thing is that when you optimise business or production processes, which is, ultimately, the end game in digital transformation, the result is more transparency in the optimised processes. However, customers are often unwilling to leave their comfort zone and go through with radical change. Any transformation must stop at the top, so we often end up having to do big job with shareholders, telling them about success stories.

- Would you need new specialists? In what areas? Where do you find them?

Taking into account the current trends, what you need first and foremost is developers and architects, people that can create new solutions and know how to work with big data, as well as information security experts, since the more information you have the more difficult it is to protect it.

By: Natalia Basina

Source: CRN

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