Rustam Gilfanov: Without Digital Transformation, Companies are Doomed to Fall Behind

Digital transformation is not about introducing new technologies. It’s about profound changes in the business organization model. IT businessman and investor Rustam Gilfanov shares his view on how emerging technologies impact business.   

“Nowadays there is a lot of talk about digital transformation as some kind of new trend. However, it has long stopped being a trend; instead, it’s a new reality that requires deep reformation of business processes and interaction with customers,” says Rustam Gilfanov. “To be considered a modern digital company, it’s not enough to have a website, chatbots or apps. Digital transformation implies making investments in new technologies such as AI, blockchain, IoT, and data analysis. It also means a global transformation of the organization model.” 

While digital transformation is used in healthcare, education, construction, public administration, and many other areas, it is especially vital for business. Today’s customers expect to get quick and efficient solutions to their problems, and global switching to the remote working mode only confirms this thesis. A high level of service is becoming a default requirement. Rustam Gilfanov emphasizes that companies who are not ready to meet the demands of digital customers will become uncompetitive. Consumers will switch to high-tech companies that offer more advanced solutions and services (think Airbnb, for example). 

In total, there are three main areas for transformation: business models, customer experience, and operational processes. In practice, companies tend to transform these areas gradually, not all at once. Some companies shift the boundaries of business models, some create digital products, and others digitalize internal processes and raise the digital IQ levels of their personnel. 

According to Rustam Gilfanov, the key to success is management’s flexibility and ability to help employees develop their digital skills.   

Digital transformation should be handled by change managers and innovation managers who have both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are required for creating new business models, making big data analyses, and working with the latest technologies (such as AR and VR, blockchain, Internet of things, etc.). Soft skills are necessary for efficient communication with the team, partners, and customers — they include communication skills, emotional intelligence, design thinking, and digital psychology.   

From Gilfanov’s experience, a digital transformation should start with optimizing communications within companies. To do this, it is necessary to give up the classic cascade model when information is passed from the top down and increase horizontal communications. Digital transformation is inevitable even though it may be constrained by the lack of e-specialists, the lack of investments, and immature business processes. 

“Although compared to sticking to existing systems and devices, digital transformation involves more risks, the potential benefits may well outweigh them. It’s a fact that without up-to-date transformations companies are doomed to fall behind,” says Gilfanov.   

Short Biography 

Rustam Gilfanov is an IT businessman, a co-founder of an IT company, and an international investor. 

Rustam Gilfanov was born to a family of a military man and a teacher on January 6, 1983, in the village of Basim (near Perm). 

In 2006, together with his partners, Rustam Gilfanov established an international outsourcing company in Kyiv. Now the company is the largest financial, marketing, and gaming software developer. 

A few years ago, Gilfanov left his work in the IT company to devote himself to international investments in ambitious IT projects related to financial technologies, gaming, and video streaming. Apart from that, Rustam Gilfanov attaches great importance to developing charity projects in Ukraine. The biggest of them are LuckyBooks and Libraries of the Future. 

Rustam Gilfanov is married and has a daughter.  

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