Alan Salbiyev, RSO - Alaniya: I hurry to make process of digitalization of the region transparent and free from corruption
Alan Salbiyev, the chief of the department of IT of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, in the interview prepared within a special project of TAdviser and "Institute of development of the Internet" "Digital region" told about processes of digitalization of the region and problems which should be solved on this way.
What is digitalization and what digital priorities of the region
What do you put in the concept "digitalization"? What, from your point of view, does it differ from the concepts "informatization" and "automation" in?
Alan Salbiyev: As for informatization and automation, obviously, it were auxiliary processes which facilitate work of the specific person or group of people on accomplishment of different transactions in any sphere for achievement of specific result. If, for example, automating work of the accountant, bought the Felix machine earlier (an editor's note – the calculator, the arithmometer, most widespread in the USSR), then later there was a system which at first calculated, then considered, gradually turning into an accounting system. Informatization as process, represents creation of all infrastructure that automation became possible.
Digitalization – absolutely other high-quality process, because more than informatization and automation, requires reengineering of the existing processes. The world contracted to the level of small "rag" now – there are no more obstacles to that the serious computing needs to satisfy with rather modest price. While the computing resource became cheap, and communication systems allowed to make this resource available, then the ideas which only were in dreams of pioneers and enthusiasts of informatization and automation, slowly became realities. And the first, than digitalization qualitatively differs from automation and informatization - it is an opportunity to create digital platforms.
Digital platforms – a basis of any ecosystem, they allow to automate not some specific processes, but the whole segments of our life, as much as possible reducing transaction costs, increasing the speed of interaction and increasing availability of services and services. In it the digitalization economy consists – due to decrease in transaction costs the efficiency significantly increases, and per unit of resource costs we receive much more, than in economy of a dotsifrovy era. It concerns not only the economic relations, it concerns any area of our activity – state, public, business.
Therefore in our republic all these processes, with different degree of intensity and demand, slowly, but we begin – somewhere mentally, somewhere culturological, somewhere technically, technology, obrazovatelno, etc. – to put the whole complex of the interconnected problems in motion, - all these, appear, monumental tasks connected with relationship of citizens with each other, citizens and business, the power and citizens.
We began with an educational segment, very seriously we approach training of specialists because any revolution requires at least the minimum awareness not to turn into anarchy. And, on the other hand, that there were more or less prepared consumers of all that digital paradise which we are going to build in our republic.
Whether there is in the region a program or the strategy of digitalization? If yes, that what its main directions? What paramount tasks?
Alan Salbiyev: The Republic of North Ossetia-Alania became one of the first regions which at the end of 2017 adopted the Concept of development of digital economy of the region. This important, decisive, the document was accepted on December 29, 2017 at the level of the government of the republic. It costed us great efforts. Development of the document was preceded by very active expert work of the project office started in April of the same 2017. We created it some of the first, and in it to us too one of the strongest experts of Russia – Alexander Selyutin greatly helped. Then we were included into very strong consortium on NTI operating based on the St. Petersburg Polytechnical university of Peter the Great.
The preparatory stage was already completed, began a stage of implementation of the concept. Principal directions of digitalization of the region it is possible to call the following:
The first is IT infrastructure. We in the context of the federal program develop large-scale building of communication channels, we connect the socially important organizations to broadband access in the Internet. We will make the high-speed Internet not only in the socially important organizations, but also the high-quality stable relation which can be used not only locals, but also those who invest in these territories in terms of development of a tourist cluster, production, recreational and so forth at last will reach the most remote back street of the republic.
The second direction is qualitatively new services on the basis of platforms. Here we also do not invent the bicycle, and in collaboration with stronger successful practicians, competence centers, for example, such as city of Moscow, actively we prepare for implementation of the digital platform for communication of citizens with the power – the project which in Moscow is called "Our city" plus "The active citizen". We integrate all this based on the single digital platform "Our Region".
And the third direction is services on the basis of digital platforms which as much as possible pull together citizens and the power, citizens and business, business and business – all market participants in the different industries – without transaction costs, without intermediaries. We have not enough so far such services which would provide sustainable development of our region. And here I very much like ideology of sustainable development which can be formulated as follows: make now so that we spent strictly rated quantity of resources sufficient for our life activity and that our descendants had too everything that they lived rather qualitatively.
Therefore without retrofitting and digitalization of production processes, processes of distribution and production of any goods and services we will not do. Of course, we expect our project office which is headed by the famous popular writer of digitalization, very strong expert – the vice rector of the St. Petersburg Polytechnical university of Peter the Great Alexey Borovkov. We hope for it in terms of digital rearmament of our industry. We should develop so-called "digital factories of the future", should be engaged in development of competences for production of digital doubles who reduce the price of production, significantly increase quality. Only thus we will be able to increase labor productivity and, of course, competitiveness of the made goods.
Very long road is necessary to us: it is necessary to convince not only the authorities making decisions, but to convince also our citizens that it is not the next toy, not the next "art whistle", not the next conjuncture under which will master a lot of national money, and anything as a result will not turn out. Unfortunately, it happened, and, I hope, this to consider passes us. At least, at the regional level everything that depends personally on me, I will do, "I will shoot back to the last digital cartridge".
Whether you connect digitalization of the region with its sustainable development? How it is possible to describe this communication?
Alan Salbiyev:The concept of digitalization in many respects formed the basis of Strategy of social and economic development of the region till 2030, helped to interweave digitalization into each industry block of strategy very organically. Strategy was directed to federal executive authorities, to the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, received their positive decisions.
Recently the government of the republic took out strategy by the special law on regional parliament, and the law passed the first reading. We hope that in September, 2019 the republican law Strategy of Social and Economic Development of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania where red thread registers digitalization, it will be finally accepted, and we will already begin our official, normative supported, work.
We wanted to leave from object thinking to more global. It turned out that if we want to use digitalization for sustainable development of the region, the planning horizon should be at least ten-year-old. And therefore till 2030 digitalization in all industry blocks is specified in terms of sustainable development of the republic. Unfortunately, it is the first efficient document of strategic planning developed according to the ideal law on strategic planning where digitalization would be registered in a context of sustainable development of the subject so far.
This problem is relevant for all, including our resource-extraction subjects. Because the era of hydrocarbons is not eternal, sooner or later there will be a question of alternatives of sustainable development. And we see on the example of the countries of Near East as they diversify the economy. For this reason the subject of digitalization should be presented in strategic documents in terms of sustainable development that, unfortunately, yet is not present though we actively propagandize this ideology. The idea of sustainable development should penetrate and federal projects of digital economy of the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, so far we see dominance of object thinking. But we hope for improvements, for improvement and evolutionary transition to a better type.
As secure, in parallel with the law which will approve the strategy of social and economic development of the subject we together with an initiative group of deputies in parliament started the law on support of digital economy of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. In September, I hope, there will take place the second, final reading. We made it within the subject's powers to announce certain initiatives in the field of lawmaking. Unfortunately, there is no such law neither at the federal level, nor in one territorial subject of the Russian Federation. The document sets rather serious preferences for those who will be engaged in digitalization in the territory of the republic, including representatives of business, expert community.
In the conditions of high uncertainty and high turbulence we understood that it is necessary to undertake it, not to wait "for favor by nature", and since spring of 2017 before it became a mainstream, we try to advance events. Generally, we move as Alexey Ivanovich Borovkov tells, step-by-step, iteratsionno solving the designated problems.
Mikhail Bulgakov said: "All of us are mortal, and focus that suddenly". Considering frailty of life, my task – to make so that digitalization of North Ossetia – Alania became "Alano-nezavisimoy" (it I about itself). At first we faced complete misunderstanding from our possible opponents some that is called who are rather influential and got used in "to catch to muddy water a lot of fish". The last decades of stay at a wheel their "catches", it appeared, were rather serious, exactly thanks to the fact that "water was muddy". We used this period of misunderstanding, and we managed to carry out a number of sensible initiatives which cannot already be rolled away back. And, despite everything, despite personal risks, I hurry, I accelerate that to make process of digitalization of the region the most transparent, free from corruption, to accountable inhabitants of the republic, with absolutely clear cases for each person – that everyone understood what benefit personally for it will be brought by digitalization in each case.
I am confident that the maximum increase in transparency of actions of the power and society – a basis of sustainable development, and the movement it should be mutual, mutually respectful. Our task – to give technologies and tools which will allow to implement this mutual respect between the power and citizens. Here then we will lay the powerful foundation for sustainable development not only our subject, but also the whole country if other subjects of our power follow this example.
The main goal of digitalization of Russia is an ensuring sustainable development of our power for a medium and long-term outlook. I think, at the level of meanings all this is understood, at the level of a normativka we began, let our initiative will be picked up further.
As technologies change a state administration
What your priorities in the field of digitalization of a state administration?
Alan Salbiyev: Among sign projects I would note the digital platform on transport - it is Yandex. Transport. It is very relevant for us because since 2017 the organization of passenger traffic legislatively from municipal level is transferred to region level, and now the region completely is responsible for this direction. Therefore the complete solution, requirement for which ripened so that in the near future we will start it, is necessary.
Further – the whole group of digital solutions which will allow to increase transparency under the authority of municipal and regional property. In this sphere we, unfortunately, have no special achievements, we want to tsifrovizovat it. The digital region in terms of digitization of lands of any categories, certification of objects which on these lands are located, up to pokhozyaystvenny accounting conducting town-planning activity, etc. is a complex of the interconnected systems which will allow to increase transparency of all relations connected with the state and municipal property and also with property of citizens. By some estimates, only implementation of the household book can increase by 30% collecting of municipal taxes due to increase in a taxable basis and fixing of this base that in the conditions of the subsidized budget, of course, is interesting to us.
The important stage of digitalization of the region for us is an establishing order and ensuring transparency in very many spheres. It was the tough initiative of the Governor of North Ossetia, and without his political will, constant control and the help we, of course, far would not leave because we mention all spheres where relationship developed decades, and establishing order in them requires a certain will and even fearlessness. But the quicker we will make it, the it will be better for the region, including taking into account the purposes and problems of sustainable development of the republic. In our activity it is necessary to think not operationally, and a little bit with a view to eternity – we also are engaged in it.
What priority projects in the field of digitalization of interaction of the power and citizens?
Alan Salbiyev:We began with an educational segment. For this purpose started Yandex. Lyceum, we start mass courses of increase in digital literacy now. Several years we draw in a row special attention to persons of a retirement and pre-retirement age, we train them within the program existing at the state level. We very actively work in the direction of education also because without training of specialists, without training of the qualified consumers of digital services we far will not promote, our efforts on digitalization will be useless.
One more important project is connected with tourism development. We develop the loyalty program and hospitality within the strategy of development of tourism in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. We attentively study experience of regional colleagues, with special attention we look at examination of the city of St. Petersburg because we in the field of tourism by it am not present equal, tourism more informative, more intellectual there. No offense meant to our sea regions, but in St. Petersburg, after all, there is more deep examination. In particular, we look behind their project "Uniform Card" which works also for inhabitants of the region, and for tourists. She turns on many programs, different preferences and so forth.
Obstacles of digital development
What difficulties, first of all, should be solved for acceleration of projects and processes of digitalization?
Alan Salbiyev: All opportunities and all problems come through other people. Unfortunately, having support from the head of the republic, we face that some colleagues very painfully treat that we "enter on their territory" – the sphere of their powers, the sphere of their activity. Or we see that not always we manage to obtain a qualitative feedback, reliable information – not always in it malicious intent, just ever nobody was engaged in it.
I consider the most important problem total misunderstanding of the purposes and problems of digitalization. Many, even very educated, skilled, with life experience people, both in imperious corridors, and in business, and among citizens, not up to the end understand the importance of processes of digitalization as long enough live and already saw any campaigns which were followed by enthusiastic "chirping", but came to an end with nothing. There is a fundamental scepticism concerning next as it sees, initiatives of the state which, perhaps, will not be especially effective and productive. People work as worked decades, all this digitalization is not necessary to them. Many think of pension, many think of some other things, and they do not want to change something in personal way at all. Therefore we try to carry out educational work in this direction and to do it from different levels – and from the level of the new May Decree of the President of Russia on the national purposes and tasks, and from the level of his public speeches and messages. How essential attention is paid to digitalization that it is that saving key which will allow to increase both labor productivity, and competitiveness, and quality of life. It is not a whim, this requirement of time and if we want to remain in family of the developed countries which though something mean and something solve, we shall satisfy to this requirement.
What do you involve regional competences in digitalization processes with?
Alan Salbiyev: Now we are at an agreement signature stage on digital economy with the federal center: there is a splitting of indicators of the regional level, we on a closing stage of a discussion on these or those indicators. We signed two of five agreements, under three agreements compromise is reached. And some mechanisms of support of regional competences are registered in them – agreements will oblige us to render assistance to those companies which are engaged in technologies of digital economy. This mechanism will allow us to crystallize different separate competences in a certain uniform powerful force.
The following tool – the same mentioned regional law which we advance now. After his statement the bylaws directed to support of projects in the field of digital economy which will give tax eases to the companies developing "digit" will go and will give preferences in many things, including access to the state and municipal infrastructure, including the land plots, etc.
So we enough systemically advance mechanisms of support of competences of conditions of digital economy.
What measures of support for development of digital initiatives do you expect from the federal authorities?
Alan Salbiyev: I would begin with the most vulgar and banal – that to the region of a distance of money.
But, at all not excepting this factor, I will tell the following. The federal authorities lack system ideological development of a question – it is visible on many things, on many discussions. Perhaps, it is connected with the fact that "at first we get involved in a fight, and then – as hard will take out". Unfortunately, in my opinion, to digital economy there was exactly this situation: told "it is necessary to tsifrovizovat", but in absence even of world experience, valid and adequate, in the conditions of absence of thorough investigation of our domestic competence centers (and until recently they just did not exist at the state level). Only on an end of the second year of program implementation "Digital economy", tectonic shifts began: there are numerous Competence Centers, fermentation of minds begins, regions at last began to involve in discussion.
I consider the most important achievement of a present command of the Ministry of digital development of Russia under the leadership of Konstantin Noskov that they began to accumulate competences from the regional level, began to bring together us, to us to listen. But nevertheless occurred so that the task was set somewhere a year earlier, than it evolutionarily began to be deliberated to be comprehended. And just now the federal center using regions, our feedback, began to pack "digit" into meanings, the certain ideology clear including in terms of sustainable development of our power. As all this only begins, there was a backlash between the fact that officially it is already time to report for something, and in the conceptual, semantic, ideological plan we only begin to understand what the shell and as to approach it is. Therefore I would like bigger understanding of regional problems from the federal center. And I would like that they at last passed from object thinking to more large-scale, state. They on the way to it. Without the system coordinating ideological methodical function of the federal center regions will not cope. All of us look towards the federal center, we look for solutions, they are developed, and very much imposes us that they are developed taking into account our opinion. I consider that the federal center needs to accelerate and if we something can help, are ready to do it, we do and we will do.
Still it would be desirable bigger understanding in achievement of those indicators which we should reach by 2024. And here too a situation so far rather indefinite, but we see all steps which the federal center takes, and we understand that this uncertainty is discussed. Perhaps, we demand too much, but in this plan it is necessary to accelerate too. Because time goes, we watch processes which happen in the world, in other states, and we understand that we are at the decent level so far and rather solidly we look, but the odds should increase. And resource and other providing is put when already the ideology is clear, the purposes and tasks are clear, all road is drawn and the rest is always on the mind of federal heads, already – "trick".
Role of public-private partnership and import substitution in digitalization of the region
Whether you are going to use model of public-private partnership for digitalization of the region? Give examples of tasks for which solution the PPP can be applicable or is already applied.
Alan Salbiyev: In addition to the mentioned projects, there is still a set of platforms which we now actively advance. Here we are patronized by ANO Tsifrovaya ekonomika with Evgeny Kovnir at the head, with the area director Alexander Zorin. We selected several solutions, the most relevant for the republic, and in the form of public-private partnership (the benefit, the profile law is adopted) we are going to implement them.
As far as did the region progress in import substitution of information technologies? Give examples of the most noticeable projects.
Alan Salbiyev: Since 2016 when I was not in a circuit of public administration yet, in a private individual order we began to escalate this question on the subject's level. The partnership agreement with a number of the largest producers of domestic solutions was signed, with great success we approved them. In 2018 our pilot project on import substitution became the winner of the most prestigious, in my opinion, Russian professional tender of Prof-IT. We piloted operating systems, office suites, devices in terms of their suitability for use at the level of regional and municipal authority – in the different directions we tested about ten products. With the ITMO university trained about 10 thousand public and municipal servants, teachers in the selected domestic goods – rates were organized, listeners received appropriate certificates. Here many thanks at that time to the dean of faculty of retraining of ITMO Mikhail Raykov, he met requirements of us, and it was made non-paid.
We the first in 2016 started uniform technical support of domestic software at the regional level. To the user all the same – someone uses the operating system of one producer, the office suite of another, antivirus protection of the third, document flow of the fourth, still some services of the fifth. But when at the user something happens, he will not rush about on these producers, on their technical support services. Therefore we made uniform HelpDesk. Therefore regional examination on import substitution exists, we precisely know what in this direction is required to us.
But we faced absolutely for us an unexpected problem – unavailability of our importozameshchatel (I call them so) to collaboration, to interaction with each other. It was rather difficult to be made, but we achieved that developers began to interact with each other, to integrate the products, to provide their compatibility. And we were surprised by unavailability of our technical producers to collaboration in terms of technical and processing compatibility, in terms of promotion of some acceptable rates which would allow to obtain, for example, very conveniently licenses with annual prolongation if necessary.
I to the last try not to address public accusatory rhetoric, but directed many efforts to fight against our importozameshchatel. With many built up the constructive relationship. With some spoiled the relations, they did not hear me. But now, after three years, I with satisfaction see periodic messages that company A with company B combined the products, began to think of paketno to provide the complex license on a flat fare for prolongation as service and so forth. Generally, motions began, our backlog of 2016 yielded the fruits. Life forces.
But I am struck, of course, by such psychology of our importozameshchatel. Why surely life should drive you into a corner before you begin to move? And what to you prevents to estimate all risks on distant approaches, to understand that you resist to transnational giants which on development of the products put billions of dollars and millions of man-hours? I speak about it and on public actions, and in individual conversations, rather strictly requiring processing compatibility, requiring development of single service batches.
After all I hope that next year we will manage to bring an indicator of purchase of domestic software to 60% in the state and municipal bodies and the organizations, but not to make it without flat package fares of different producers which would not go beyond the price label of the same Microsoft. Budget process is put for three years and if we have, conditionally, 1 ruble on prolongation of a packet of Microsoft, then we cannot select 1.5 rubles for import substitution. Import substitution should be or 1 ruble, either is cheaper, or in general is free – let the state will help them.
There are such problems, and all this against the background of, to put it mildly, nonideal quality of products. Having studied a huge number of solutions which are in the market, I can tell that according to many solutions we, actually, will act as beta testers of absolutely unsolved products. Therefore to us should pay extra more likely, but not we should pay.
But despite everything I activated all efforts finally to finish this task. The indicator should be executed, and the state should be independent of foreign solutions at all levels is a question of elementary security, sovereignty.
And so far, unfortunately, any university in Russia does not train the certified specialists in the field of use of domestic software. For example, we developed content for remote rates which we organized with the ITMO university on a complex of domestic programs. Still separate authorized centers train in work on the operating system of A or B, on office suite C, but, unfortunately, there is no university which in a complex prepares for work with domestic software. Also you know what all universities and the organizations of secondary education refer to? They refer to federal standards which, by the way, still in this or that type lobby use of foreign software. Therefore it is not necessary to expect them.
We act with own forces. I actively attract students of older years of profile specialties. Different motivations, generally moral character, somewhere using their healthy ambitions – as there are no resources especially, it is necessary to get out. We gather youth, we create competences. But, to a huge regret, for example, from 15 technologists whom ourselves trained on the programs developed by us remained only two – the others were taken away by the market because now the sharpest deficit of those who though understands something from domestic software.
Perspectives of replication of IT projects from the region to the region
Whether replication of successful IT projects of one region to other region is possible, in your opinion? Whether you had a similar experience? If yes, tell about it.
Alan Salbiyev: I already told that we will have a digital platform – as symbiosis of the Moscow solutions "Our City" and "Active Citizen". Here, of course, huge gratitude to Eduard Lysenko for understanding and support. Right now specialists subordinated to our regional government on IT and communication of the Center of Information Technologies unitary enterprise actively study this direction with specialists of Department of IT of Moscow. And I hope as soon as we resolve all legal, technical, organizational issues, we will announce start, we will systematically move – to implement, develop this major communication digital framework which will allow to increase transparency of authorities, will allow to create for citizens convenient services, mechanisms for the declaration of will that citizens saw that the power from hears that it reacts to all requests.
As far as will we apply experience of other countries in Russian regions? Whether you use it?
Alan Salbiyev: I am far from bone patriotism and from desire "shower with headings". Experience any is valuable, but, unfortunately, at us, at Russians, in mentality such "firmware" is of the cultural code at the level: we should step on the rake is a compulsory provision in order that we went further.
From experience of other countries I was disappointed in India because I was sure absolutely that on "digit" they very significantly promoted. Actually, in comparison with them, Russia is vanguard of digitalization. I was disappointed in Singapore because there as I understood them, absolutely marketing state with mad public relations. Yes, there is a lot of good, but in respect of digital services by it is far to perfection too. And I looked at experience of Estonia, studied it just while there was a crisis to electronic ID of citizens. I understood what from each experience needs to be taken little by little and to ground it on the domestic soil. Thoughtlessly, without cautions it is impossible to arrive at all.
I called Singapore, Estonia, in some things would call still Belarus, in some Kazakhstan. I have rather fresh analytical document over BRICS countries – it was interesting to me that occurs in Brazil, India, China and South Africa. I understood, as to us is, than is proud. Even Western Europe or the USA cannot serve in the current implementation as a reference point because at them everything is much worse, than at us. Russia promoted much further.
There is statistics on viewings, on download public materials and documents. And so the passport of the Digital Economy program is most popular with all foreign colleagues. So from all national projects of Russia "The digital economy" interests most of all. It turns out, on the contrary, many countries look at us – and that we thought up that we made.
Call three main signs of the digital region
Alan Salbiyev: The first sign is an existence of the serious and conventional competence center in this industry.
The second sign – existence of institutional opportunities for development of digitalization is a priority access to infrastructure, preference (tax, financial, preferential crediting, etc.), new educational programs at the level of the state and so forth. All infrastructure should be built for the most favored treatment of digitalization.
The third sign – the high level of readiness of citizens, readiness of infrastructure, because if everywhere there is no sufficient quality of communication channels if there are no sufficient computing powers if there is no understanding and readiness of people, then about what digitalization we can speak.
It seems to me, these signs in our country are answered by only two subjects now, will not call them.