The government doubles down on digital transformation

6 july 2018

"It's important to create a training program for people who will be moving the digital economy forward in the regions. Training programs need to be developed for all levels of management: both for top managers as well as for people in charge of schools, hospitals and other socially-significant institutions," Konstantin Noskov, Minister for Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, said speaking at the conference Digital Economy: Breakthrough into the Future.

The conference was organized by the Analytical Center in conjunction with the Ministry for Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation with participation by the Autonomous Non-governmental Organization Digital Economy. Participants in the discussions included representatives of federal executive bodies, leading industry associations, scientific and business communities.

During the plenary session Konstantin Noskov reported that all the key ministries are going to get deputy ministers in charge of digital transformation.

The conference featured two panel sessions on the implementation of key measures of the Information Infrastructure portion of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation program. The discussion about a national data management system was devoted to the development of a single data collection and storage mechanism to ensure data relevance, comparability and suitability for data analysis.

"As the digital economy is booming, one of the most important jobs for the state is to organize proper data processing," said Vladislav Onishchenko, Acting Head of the Analytical Center. "The technologies that exist today are already capable of allowing us to use data analytics to support the decision making process not just at the strategic level but also at the level of day to day tactical decisions." The Russian public sector has a plethora of various databases with the result that all the data are in different formats and cannot be compared. "Realizing that, the state is now trying to create a single standardized data handling procedure through the creation of a National Data Management System," Mr Onishchenko added. "The objective of the National Data Management System is to create a single nation wide data management space for the state, the public, business and the non-profit sector."

Vladislav Fedulov, Head of the Department for Information Technologies and Communications of the Government of the Russian Federation, noted that the issue of trusting data was one of the most important ones: "Today Russia does not have a government body that would own benchmark information, meaning that we end up incurring additional costs at the federal level and often have no idea how to use the data collected by a specific ministry or government agency for a specific project. Creating a National Data Management System can help solve these problems but before we do that we need to decide who will collect data and how. The state must appoint a centralized data operator. At the moment there are two candidates for it: the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Communications. We also need standardized requirements for how to create and use databases."

"We have prepared a plan for the creation of a National Data Management System," said Deputy Minister of Economic Development Savva Shipov and thanked the Analytical Center for assistance, "But, we also need to create a system of references and classifiers, a big data management system, a predictive analytics system and an artificial intelligence system."

During the discussion, Elena Chernyakova, Head of the Department of Information Technologies in Public and Municipal Financial Management and Budget Process Information Support of the Finance Ministry, said her ministry was drafting a law on the systematization and harmonization of information in the Russian Federation. The draft aims to systematize and harmonize legally significant information of government agencies as well as reference, statistical and other data.

The concluding panel discussion of the conference was devoted to the creation of a general plan for the development of communication networks in the Russian Federation until 2024. The general plan being developed should allow state and private organizations operating across different industries to plan and coordinate their digital development in accordance with the real and future configuration and technical capabilities of the country's information infrastructure.

"If data is the blood of the digital economy, then communication networks are its cardiovascular system, in other words, it's the foundation of any economic process in a digital environment," said Vladimir Mesropyan, First Deputy Head of the Project Office for Implementation of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation Program. "In effect what we're saying here is that next year we're going to create a key geoinformation resource with an appropriate legal status that will define in no uncertain terms not only the current state and architecture of the communications network and infrastructure in the country but will also allow us to develop the most optimal development plans for this infrastructure for the medium term, taking into account the real needs of the economy sectors and regions of Russia."

The conference served as an intersectorial meeting point stimulating the representatives of the public authorities, business and experts to discuss the prospects of the implementation of the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation Program.