Ayrat Khayrullin to enterpreneurs: The digitalisation tsunami will wash away everybody!”
The head of the Ministry of Digitalisation evaluated the digital maturity of Tatarstan businesses comparing it with a third grader’s knowledge
The management of IT Park together with the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation began to search for a new meaning of IT Park. The essence of the project is to create a point of interaction with businesses where an entrepreneur can find necessary information about digital transformation, supporting measures and ready solutions in this area. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about the first meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation and Kazan IT Park with businesses.
“Rewrite and form a new strategy of IT Park”
“I am not omnipotent to solve all problems linked with small and medium-sized businesses,” head of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation Ayrat Khayrullin honestly admitted opening the meeting. “However, we can focus on what is the activity of the ministry, those mechanisms that we can develop and use so that you will be more successful.”
For this purpose, the minister explained, it was decided to “rewrite and form a new strategy of IT Park”. The site is planned to be given “an additional intellectual meaning” so that it will become a site SMEs can come to and obtain information about solutions, services or supporting measures in digital business transformation free.
“We want IT Park to be designed for not only IT entrepreneurs but become a point of interaction of IT and entrepreneurship,” claimed Director of IT Park Aleksandr Borisov. “Your opinion about what is necessary in digitalisation is important for us. You often can understand more than we do. We can live in a glittering world that the real sector not always understands.”
According to Ayrat Khayrullin, after meetings with SMEs he would like to get feedback that would be used for an important document — Tatarstan’s Digital Transformation Concept.
“We have a global goal: society, the state and businesses must synchronise to understand what to do to live better in our republic, so that the economy will be more economic, labour productivity will grow, social benefits will be better and we will live in safety,” the minister claimed.
“Digital transformation is like the elephant from the parable — everybody sees it differently”
At the meeting, the head of the Ministry of Digitalisation tried to explain the audience how digitalisation absorbed all spheres of our life and why entrepreneurs should adapt to the changing reality as soon as possible and adapt business processes to it. To start with, Ayrat Khayrullin conducted a survey to find out how participants in the meeting understood digitalisation. Automation, convenience, effectiveness, availability, speed were the most popular answers.
“You probably know a parable where blind people who were approached to an elephant and asked to describe the animal. Somebody touched the trunk and provided another description. Digital transformation is like this elephant — everybody sees it differently. Everybody has a different focus, and it is fine. The task of our ministry is to try to connect this all to achieve an important goal — the focus of SMEs is important for us to develop the Concept,” the minister delivered a speech.
After that, Ayrat Khayrullin began to explain the audience why the process of digital transformation was inevitable putting examples from completely different spheres.
“How much do you think the storage of 256 GB of data (standard smartphone memory) would have cost in 1981? The value of data storage has cheapened 20 million times in 35 years. If we convert it, the 256 GB data storage system would have cost 4,5bn rubles in 1981,” the minister calculated. “This refers to why digitalisation completely absorbs us and why it is an inevitable process. The case is that technology dramatically cheapens and becomes more accessible. If you decided to set up a start-up in online banking five years ago, the entry point would be too high — $5 million. Now it is enough to have $50,000 that can be found through business angels, for instance. As a result, there is an exponential growth of innovations in IT.”
Then Khayrullin stated exponential growth of data generated around the world (now their volume is 500 MB a day per person) as well as the number of residents of the planet who have access to the network (12% in 2000 and 97% in 2020) and the number of smartphones in Russia (51m in 2015 and 106m in 2020).
“Digitalisation of the population changes their behavioural habits”
“Digitalisation of the population or, more precisely, clients, changes their behavioural habits. Businesses should consider it to create their strategy. Why is digital transformation necessary? To improve the quality of service. Your clients five years ago aren’t your clients this year and it what awaits SMEs from a perspective of a competitive fight,” the minister warned. “The fact that it won’t affect you or will bypass you is a wrong opinion beforehand. The digitalisation tsunami will wash away everybody!”
Ayrat Khayrullin mentioned the topic of relations of businesses and the state in his speech, but again, through the prism of understanding of digital transformation
Ayrat Khayrullin mentioned the topic of relations of businesses and the state in his speech, but again, through the prism of understanding of digital transformation. He is convinced that the state understands the possibilities of digital transformation better than businesses.
“People say ‘invisible state’, ‘invisible hand of the market’. It is a liberal theory in accordance with which the state should take a step aside so that a business will regulate everything itself. But it is different in digitalisation. Many processes here stumble over legal regulation. If regulation doesn’t catch up, no blockchain, cryptocurrencies or unmanned vehicles will appear in the country. Digitalisation is stronger when the state is strong,” the head of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation is sure.
Finishing the meeting, the minister claimed the necessity to help small and medium-sized businesses in digital maturity. In his opinion, “we are only in the third grade” now.
“It is impossible to ask a third grader to know algebra taught in the seven grade, but if there is a smart teacher, the seven-year programme can take three years. Our mission — functionary, IT Park, Innopolis, ministries — is to create mechanisms that will allow you to improve digital literacy, maturity and show digital opportunities that you could use in your business,” Ayrat Khayrullin concluded.