Interview. 30 years after its birth, the Internet has totally transformed our lives. Not just our personal lives, but also our professional lives. Companies are experiencing a moment of upheaval and continuous adaptation.
On the occasion of this anniversary and the transformation that digitalization means for companies, our Sothis colleague, David Revesado, Digital Transformation Business Manager, has taken part in the Es Radio “La mañana en Valencia” programme with María Caballero.
As Revesado states, “The Internet came, not only to become a part of our lives, but also to revolutionize them. When it was launched, not even the creators themselves were aware of what they had on their hands, because it was still a way or system to exchange information and communicate. However, the consequences of what it has meant for our lives, both personally and professionally, can be seen every day”.
-If we are told that we cannot use the Internet for a full day, we feel overwhelmed, right?
True, we already feel that way just by thinking that we’ve left out mobile phone at home. When I participate in talks at schools to guide them on how to advance in their careers, I ask them to think about things that weren’t around when I was their age, and the last thing that occurs to them is the Internet. To give us an idea about the importance of the Internet, the latest generations are born assuming that everything revolves around the Internet, connectivity and being permanently connected with other people.
–It’s 30 years since the Internet was established, but despite that, do you consider that we are not fully educated to use it as we should?
The point is that there is a concept that is emerging, as it emerged 50 years ago, illiteracy. Now we are talking about digital illiteracy. People who are not capable of accessing the Internet. And afterwards, awareness. How we should use the Internet, at what times of out lives and how to do it safely. Millennials, or new generations, are not interested in what is behind technology, they are only interested in being connected; and we must be aware of the risks involved in certain things. For example, connecting to a public Wi-Fi has its risks. The most important thing is to know how to use it safely.
-The Internet in companies is also a tool that enables evolution, is it not?
We are in what is called industry 4.0, companies have to take the plunge, if they haven’t done so already, to adopt all the competitive advantages offered by this technology and turn it into a service. Traditionally, we have incorporated certain devices to improve, but now we talk about technology as a service. We have the technology, when we need it, to improve our purposes, in the case of companies, for improving sales, production, etc. In short, to look at technology as a service.
-Companies optimize resources by digitalizing the company.
There are many advantages, but mainly we refer to a scalable and elastic environment. In other words, we are not able to foresee where we will be in three years, but, in the event of needing to grow or recede, the technology must be there for it. It allows us to focus on the business of how to produce more, how to sell more, how to reach customers; it allows us to analyse customer behaviour, where to direct sales, strategies, etc. It allows us to facilitate innovation, since we don’t have to worry about the technology behind it, we must focus exclusively on the business. Technology belongs the cloud and the companies that are promoting it. This results in the concept called “time to market”. In other words, how long does it take me to get my product on the market and in the shortest possible? It means identifying market trends, taking advantage of them and getting them on the market as quickly as possible; because technology allows us to do so, as it is a facilitator.
-Everyone talks about “the cloud”, we all know it exists, but what is its role?
The cloud does nothing more than turn technology into a service. We shouldn’t worry about knowing what’s behind it, just install the application, for example, and see if it works. There is no need to worry about anything else; just about how security is managed. (…) Worry about having access to the technology anytime and anywhere, that is precisely what the cloud is. Only with an Internet connection can we access all the information, whether in the personal or professional field.
-So that people understand, it is as if it were a virtual hard disk that is in the air and that, regardless of where we are, allows us to access the information that is there.
Exactly, but not only information, applications too. In the end, all you care about is what you need to work, what is needed for day-to-day life without worrying about the technology behind it. The cloud is a service that is offered to us so that we don’t have to worry about what is behind it.
-With the establishment of the digitalization that Sothis offers, and 30 years since the birth of the Internet, are you aware that people are still a bit suspicious of their privacy and dumping information in the cloud in case it disappears at some point? In other words, do people still prefer to save the information on a USB?
Yes, and that’s not because it’s safer. Sometimes, having it beside you, on a USB or on the system, has nothing to do with security. That concept is difficult, precisely due to the security of the data. There are many regulations and data protection laws, which are aimed at ensuring the safety of users in that regard, and the fact that the data is uploaded to a site that is not known, is a bit daunting. But it is true that there are many regulations that cover the manufacturers themselves, as they will be concerned about providing us with a service, with the security that is required at a regulatory level, because it is part of their work.
-By having a cloud that we can access from anywhere, Sothis establishes the possibility of working without actually being in the company building.
The digitalization of companies has many advantages, including changing the traditional work concept. We are not only referring to working from home, but technology is the facilitator behind any element of the company that we can think of. For example, imagine a marketing department that has to promote the company, imagine what technology can offer. We can work from home without needing to use the office computer, only the staff and Internet access is needed. This leads to the elimination of paper, filing cabinets, invoices, etc.
The traditional concept has been transformed and companies have no other alternative than to adopt this. Companies no longer have the option of whether to see it clearly or not, since the competitor already sees it clearly. The one who doesn’t see it clearly will be left behind when this continues to evolve.
-What digitalization does for companies is to fully develop its main task, leading us to maximizing resources. If my competitor jumps on the digitalization train, we have to do so too, isn’t that right?
(…) Precisely, the differential value of technology is that it makes us an agile competitor. In a company that is capable of being prepared to face the changes that occur on the market, at the pace they occur.
– Is the digitization of companies established sufficiently in the Autonomous Community of Valencia? Are we aware?
There is a certain level of awareness, but the level of adoption is very low; especially in SMEs, which is the bulk of the companies that we have here in Valencia, where investment in technology is still seen as an expense, rather than as a competitive advantage. At a government level it’s the same old story, steps are being taken, but slowly; it isn’t what the market itself is demanding. We work precisely in this line, between small and medium companies, trying to raise awareness and demonstrate the competitive advantages offered by technology.
-We talk about how wonderful the Internet is, but we must be careful because misuse can make us very vulnerable. Precisely, cybersecurity is one of the services you offer.
Here the way we have to raise awareness is by asking a simple question. The way we have to raise awareness is not to think about whether I will be affected, but when I will be affected? This must reach the level of assumption that we intend, not to cause fear, but to make them aware that it is a reality out there (…). Awareness is the most important thing, to think that we have a “weapon” at hand which we must know how to use. In Spain and in the Valencian Community in general, we have companies that are reactive, not proactive, when it comes to dealing with security incidents (…).
Everything is developed as technology advances, but it must be done with security and awareness. We work at that level, personally and professionally. One of the main breaches is produced by company users, for example, due to the typical email that we don’t stop to think whether it is strange or not before opening it. Companies must take the necessary measures so that, at a user as well as an infrastructure and technology level, the company is prepared and safe.
-And if not, that’s why Sothis is there, which is an honour for Valencians. Currently there are more than 700 of you at Sothis, in more than 35 countries, and little by little, your goal, in a nutshell, is to make life easier for all entrepreneurs, right?
Indeed. As you’ve pointed out, we are in a process called the digital transformation of companies, and what we intend, in the Valencian Community and in the national expansion that we are carrying out, is to make companies competitive, both nationally and internationally; and for this, the message we communicate is to be technology facilitators. Transmit the idea of “focussing on your business” on how to produce better, how to sell more; that I will be the engine of production and sales. Sothis focuses on doing what the company needs.
Do you want to listen to the entire interview? Don’t miss it! Click here.