The number of companies, employees, total revenues and exports of the ICT sector in Croatia is growing, and the main challenge is finding an adequate number of IT experts. This situation is also visible in KING ICT, a company that in 2018 confirmed its status as one of the leading system integrators in the region, with nearly a billion kuna in revenues and 500 employees. This was the message of Plamenko Barišić, CEO of KING ICT at the opening of the Open Integration Day conference in Zagreb.
An analysis of the global and European metrics indicate that Croatia is at the very bottom of the digital parameters and R&D investment development scales, according to Barišić. The Croatian ICT sector is prepared to actively participate in implementing reforms and executing the Strategy for e-Croatia 2020 and similar projects, but warns of the need for a consensus surrounding key topics, regardless of the political option.
Barišić sent a message to the institutions, concluding, “We want a country that is a strong and reliable creator of the strategic framework for development, we need an education system that is appropriate to the digital age, and a stimulating innovation environment and the conditions for creating innovations. We want an attractive entrepreneurial climate that attracts and stimulates, instead of one that rejects and slows things down.”
“The key aspect of a successful digital society is developed digital infrastructure,” stated Bela Virag, partner in the global consulting company Artur D Little. Virag stated that digitalisation of infrastructure and logistics can reduce operating costs, and the 5G mobile network will make a substantial contribution to that, as it is many times faster than the current fourth generation network. The development of the 5G network will help to automate tasks, digitalise campuses and develop predictive analytics.
300 MILION FOR INVESTMENTS
Hrvoje Stojić, director of the department for economic research from Addiko Bank Hrvatska warned that the Croatian economy is growing slower than other economies in the east of Europe. “We are at the very bottom for the export of services and we work too much given the value of what we create. It is necessary to invest in digital technology, as it brings more revenue, and in robotization of tasks in order to increase profits. Robotization also opens the door to higher paid jobs,” said Stojić. He also stated that Croatia currently has EUR 300 million for investments and technology available within the European funds for stimulating start-ups, implementing educational reforms, and further loosening of the tax load. Despite the lack of consensus, there are a series of positive examples in Croatia that indicate the potential for cooperation between different sectors, especially between science and the economy. Professor Dr. Darko Chudy from the Dubrava Clinical Hospital, and Professor Dr. Bojan Jerbić from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture of the University of Zagreb revealed some of the details about their collaboration on the RONNA robot, which is now in its 4th generation. “When we started building the RONNA robot, people asked us why we were doing this, why we don’t just buy one in the US. However, this cannot be bought, and we decided to set off on the adventure of development.” A team of engineers, designers and doctors all worked on building the RONNA robot, and this is a project that proves what this type of synergy can accomplish.
Andro Galinović, president of the ISACA Croatia Chapter spoke about the one-way nature of digitalisation and the problems that transformation could cause to organisations. He concluded that it is up to each of us to decide whether we are prepared to accept the risks, address them, and implement full digitalisation, or whether we will opt for the status quo.
The participants of the round table entitled “Digitalisation of operations – challenges and how to recognise them?” was moderated by Ivan Maglić, director of Gartner Adriatic/Calisto, agree that digitalisation is an ongoing process. “We conduct digitalisation in order to optimise internal processes and to improve user experiences,” stated Eugen Paić – Karega, a member of the management board of Zagrebačka Bank. Tihomir Šibalić, director of the company Enna Infosense, agreed, stated that there are always sources of resistance to digitalisation within the system, and this is best addressed through education. “Within our company, we created an internal organisation centre to teach our colleagues about the benefits of digitalisation,” he concluded. Bernard Gršić, State Secretary of the Central State Office for the Development of a Digital Society revealed that the e-Citizen service would be further expanded by the end of the year. “The state is working to improve digital services and improve ties between institutions. By the end of this year, we will enable mobile access to the e-Citizen services.”
At the Open Integration Day, KING ICT presented a number of novel solutions of the company and its partners aimed at the digital transformation of operations. Lectures and workshops primarily focused on digital infrastructure, cyber security and automatization of the economy. Among the solutions presented in the Demo Room, the solutions intended for cyber security was the most popular, followed by the solution for advanced video analysis surveillance concept, KING SFERA, an emergency situation management solution, customer inquiry management system and many others.