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Dina Tsybulskaya, Crnogorski Telekom CEO

Government Should Back Local Companies

In order to accelerate the digital transformation process, it is necessary to continuously improve the investment environment for the technology sector. Montenegro recently saw the presenting of concrete measures and laws for stimulating investment in innovations, and it is crucial for their application to continue

By following the standards of Deutsche Telekom Group, Crnogorski Telekom began applying preventative measures against COVID-19 as early as February.

“Continuity in providing services to clients was the priority, as we perform activities that are of public interest. This included reorganising the work of shops and in the field, procuring protective equipment for employees, which we had in sufficient quantities even during the period of shortages on the market, which enabled us to help other companies and some government agencies on several occasions,” says Crnogorski Telekom CEO Dina Tsybulskaya.

“The new circumstances have further emphasised the fact that we, as a company, have advanced in the digital transformation process.”

Which of Crnogorski Telekom’s smart solutions and innovations were the most sought after by businesses and the government?

– Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve been participating in the Government’s complex educational project related to remote learning, while we realised numerous donations and helped the public sector and the economy during the first wave by increasing the capacity of internet access.

We have developed our Cloud Call Centre as a professional call centre solution for small and medium-sized businesses, and there has been great interest in tools from our business portfolio, such as Microsoft Teams and Office 365, which allowed companies to easily organise their work. We have also developed new tools that are yet to be fully implemented: Cumulus, an application for digital accounting; and Folder X, for the management of digital documents and archives.

We see Crnogorski Telekom as a company that provides partners and clients with proven and reliable digital solutions, but that also provides all stakeholders in the society – including citizens and both the public and private sectors – with unobstructed and reliable access to the network

How can Montenegro speed up its digital transformation?

– The pandemic has resulted in the economy sustaining severe blows recovery from which will be slow, so it is necessary to find new business and regulation models in order to motivate investments where they will have a real impact, thus moving the (digital) economy forward. Times have changed and the approach to regulating the telco industry should also change.

Today regulators should treat these companies as local partners in building the digital future. The role of forming the digital future is taken over by major international players (Google, Amazon, Netflix and others) that don’t pay local taxes, don’t employ local people and are fully beyond the control of local regulations. Yet they are winning.

This is why governments should support local companies in their search for operational and investment efficiencies (various forms of cooperation between operators; the off-shoring part of operations). At the same time, the Government of Montenegro has the means to ensure that local subscribers are winning from these models. There are also clear schemes to ensure that the surplus is reinvested back into the benefits of the digital society at the local level.

This revision of regulatory practises, together with a focused effort to promote the digital economy, will change the country. For example, digital solutions should be promoted from the highest addresses as the first, or even only, choice of citizens, and not as an alternative to traditional ways of doing business. Only in this way can the essential digitisation process be accelerated.

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