‘Our Mission to Be the №1 Digital System Integrator in Russia’ – IT Company CEO

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Monitoring - Sputnik International
The Roscongress Foundation Management Board for Work with Innovative Projects is for the first time in Moscow holding a series of closed industry meetings of owners and managers of big Russian and international businesses.

The events will be held in the format of a СEO Club and will be devoted to the digital transformation of particular branches of the economy. Only the CEOs and CDOs of the largest Russian and international companies will participate. Participation will be by invitation only.

The innovation partner of the project is the CROC Company, a system integrator of a new kind. The company has strengthened its traditional competencies in the field of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) infrastructure development with new ones, such as digital consulting in developing a digitalisation strategy, organising customers' internal transformation, digitalising individual functions, and developing digital products and services based on consumer experiences.

Sputnik: Could you tell me in more detail what the company CROC does?

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Boris Bobrovnikov: Originally, we were a system integrator, 27 years old in Russia, not too old but we see that the traditional business model of system integration is coming to an end. It's not over, it could survive another 10-20 years or more, but we have to add something. And if we are talking about how to find what to add and what to do, we have to do it systematically; the good process is a digital transformation process, which helps you understand more about yourself, I mean the company.

So our managers and all our employees start negotiating about what we have to do and which direction we have to go in first; secondly, what we have to improve, what we have to manage, what we have to do better and what to stop doing. Nobody can tell us what to do. So we decided to do it for the company and that's the question about medium-level management, about their wishes, about their knowledge, about their vision of the market, because the model of the top management is already done. We built the company, we run the company.

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The company is quite successful, but to do something else we need to ask other people. The other people are top minus one, top minus two — that is the medium-level management, who are involved in [the] company's life, who are at the front with our customers, our partners, our vendors. So they do business sometimes much better than we do, normally.

So we give them moderators, we give them trackers, just to make that agile group more productive and quicker and let them go. So we start with approximately 100 questions, which are not a pain but are questions or topics on what we can do to improve. That is their main question, what we can do to improve our knowledge, our vision — what to do better.

So we start with a few of those: 5, then 5, then 5 and now we have already done maybe 20 initiatives based on a 6-week cycle. After that, we have the exact questions, exact answers and pilot projects to test those answers. Thereafter, we start to implement those answers which have successfully passed the tests and the pilot study. It is a very good and interesting process.

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It gives a huge drive for the whole company. And then the whole company starts to generate new businesses. We started CROC Digital, we have improved our CROC Cloud, [and] we have started a business accelerator. Actually, we have started a new sales life-cycle, because normally we work on projects.

The client has their own requirements: we build a system, collect the money, and then [we provide] service support — easy. But now we are going to the customer and say "guys, let us look at your customers, at customers of our customer. What can we see there? How can we help you generate more money from your client base and build new digital instruments to do so?" So a client will gain benefits as instruments and finally new revenues from their resource and their own clients.

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Roscongress Foundation’s Innovation Project Management Directorate’s Business Breakfast - Sputnik International
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That is a different point of view. That is a new discourse. It helps a lot now in this new world [that] we have become a digital system integrator and we start[ed] selling this digital consulting and digital transformation to our clients because they need it. The clients understand that the old model is nearly over and that they have to find a new one. While talking to the banks today, the new model is coming. It is already around us.

So we have to do it everywhere, in each industry: insurance, machinery, everywhere.

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Sputnik: So far, CROC has expanded its operations with two new business units — CROC Digital and CROC Cloud Services. Could you explain what these units do?

Boris Bobrovnikov: The CROC Cloud Service is our cloud. So we have added a business accelerator there. The business accelerator helps us find new partners, mostly based on the SaaS model (software as a service). So we collect new vendors, sometimes from start-ups.

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We collect new vendors just to have a bigger portfolio for our clients and let our clients get competitive features with new solutions, even if it comes from start-ups. Just to help find the best one and to be sure that this is the correct one, we have a business accelerator, a special process, especially for start-ups, to let them grow or not grow.

And the CROC Digital Consulting is a new department that helps our clients understand their needs and start the process of business transformation. Let's say that it is digital consulting. Originally, we collected some people from BCG, from McKinsey, from other Big Four companies, just to have to consult. So now our clients can have the whole line of service: from consulting, up to collecting new digital instruments from us. So the whole line of activity.

Sputnik: How would you assess Russian success in the field of IT today?

Boris Bobrovnikov: How to say, normally Europe and the US spend up to 5 percent of GDP on IT, let's say digital. Now Russia has approximately 1 [percent]. So we have plenty of room to grow. Well, that is not bad, that is not good. That is the reality, but at the same time IT is an international mechanism and digital, of course, is an international mechanism.

So if some Russian companies start doing something, they are doing the same as any company worldwide. So just let us spend money on it and the economy will grow faster, unlike right now.

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Sputnik: In your view, what is your contribution to Russian successes in the field?

Boris Bobrovnikov: We do not contribute — we are in business, we are working on our own business. So we are a part of the market. So we try to be number one here, as everywhere [else].

So if you are not number one, you can't collect the money. So we try to be number one everywhere, and now the digital system integrator will show the way to other companies; it looks like in Russia, not only in Russia maybe, [it will] show the way as to how to transform the system integrator business and, of course, we are checking new instruments, starting with the digital transformation of ourselves.

So we are testing and have a pilot project in CROC and will then deliver our knowledge and our success stories to our clients. So that is our mission now — to be [a] number one digital system integrator in Russia.

Views and opinions expressed in the article are those of Boris Bobrovnikov and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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