Journey towards digital business

Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board at SIBUR Holding, spoke at the Open Innovations Forum, an international event focusing on digital economy.

As part of the business programme, the participants talked about digitisation, blockchain, big data, cybersecurity and a variety of smart services.

The 7th edition of Open Innovations, an international forum held in Moscow on 15–17 October 2018, as always brought together a broad range of stakeholders representing corporations, national authorities, the academic community, leading experts from different walks of life, students and entrepreneurs.

This year the central theme of the forum was Man at the Crossroads of Technological Revolution Trends, with all the discussions focusing on five key areas: productivity, habitat, education, health and entertainment. As part of the business programme, the participants talked about digitisation, blockchain, big data, cybersecurity and a variety of smart services.

Dmitry Konov, Chairman of of the Management Board at SIBUR Holding, spoke at the Smart Country: National Strategy plenary session, a discussion centring on the challenges posed by the digital modernisation of a nation. The session was opened by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's Prime Minister, with the list of speakers including Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, and representatives of the world’s leading businesses such as Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board of Directors at ABB Ltd, Arkady Volozh, CEO of Yandex, Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman, Ann Cairns, Vice Chair at Mastercard, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

Participants of the Smart Country. National Strategy panel session.

The implementation of digital technologies requires additional training for employees and changing the established processes.

Dmitry Konov talked about “thousands of people who take a years-long journey to shift from traditional to digital business” and shared the Company’s experience in introducing new technologies and solving the problems associated with digital transformation.

Mr Konov noted that having the right algorithm in place only accounts for 10–20% of the success, as the implementation of digital technologies requires additional training for employees and changing the established processes.

He also shared his thoughts on the role of predictive analytics in identifying production risks and opportunities and gave a few examples from SIBUR’s history. For example, streamlining initiatives and the ability to predict a critical volume of production disruption factors helped reduce the number of shutdowns in six months from 19 to 1 at the Tobolsk facility alone. It stands to note that one shutdown costs the Company approximately RUB 20 m.

The Forum participants also discussed another challenge facing the business community and national authorities alike – putting in place an adequate regulatory framework to encourage the spread of modern technologies.

The business community and national authorities face the common challenge of putting in place an adequate regulatory framework to encourage the spread of modern technologies.

The internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotisation can significantly reduce the workload, but they also require material regulatory changes to become a reality. For instance, the introduction of digital permits to conduct repairs at hazardous facilities could considerably reduce the necessary labour input, but the applicable law requires that hard copy logs be kept.

According to Mr Konov, he could go on forever with similar examples. It is therefore of critical importance for businesses to discuss those issues with the government today in an attempt to hammer out digital legislation.

“We are benefiting from a variety of long- and short-term positive financial impacts that confirm that we are doing the right thing, but they are not our goal per se. We are fighting for the people. The further we go in that direction, the less labour is wasted within the Company, and we find ourselves in a situation where we can confidently stand against our competitors (including the international ones) which offer their employees interesting, intellectual and stimulating work. We see that transition from a traditional petrochemical business to a digital model makes us more attractive for the people around,” Dmitry Konov commented.


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