Miodrag Kostic







Business education and consulting

Digitization challenges in Serbia my article on digital transformation survey

Last year, my company VEZA d.o.o. Business Knowledge, in cooperation with Poslovni Softver company implemented a project to support the development of private sector in Serbia “Private Sector Development” PSD. We researched and analyzed the preparedness of Serbian enterprises for digital transformation and digitization. This project was implemented by the Development Agency of Serbia RAS in cooperation with the USAID United States Agency for International Development. During the research, the following questions were asked:

  • How much are you using business software solutions and digital business models?
  • What is the level of preparedness at your company for digital transformation?
  • What are the problems when using digital technologies and what are your needs?
  • What needs to be done to speed up digital transformation so you can have visible benefits?
  • The survey was conducted in the period February-March 2018. The research involved 27 companies.

Research analyses of the state of digitization in Serbia These are some of the research results:

  • A survey on the use of computers in Serbian companies shows that 100% of companies use a computer, regardless of the size, activity or location of the company. However, the percentage of employees who use the computer every day is significantly lower compared to the EU countries.
  • The percentage of IT resource allocation for Serbian companies (on average 0.5% of revenue) is several times lower than the EU average (4.0%).
  • It is encouraging to note that 100% of surveyed firms have a good connection with the Internet. It is mainly about broadband internet access. Most of the companies use cable networks (63%), followed by ADSL internet access (40.7%).
  • All surveyed companies reported individual IT budgets of less than € 5,000 per year, so that the combined (joint) budget of all companies is only about € 50,000 per year. On the other hand, the estimated business revenues of the surveyed companies amount to about EUR 20 million, so IT budget share in total company revenues is, on average, less than 0.25%.
  • Only two companies out of 27 respondents said they had their own server, which indicates low LAN network coverage and poor connectivity of their computers.
  • The analysis shows that only 4 companies (14.8%) electronically sell to other companies, 4 companies receive orders through a website or mobile application (14.8%), while only 2 companies or 7, 4% have Business 2 Business web portal.

What is the conclusion of this research and analysis? The good news is that the digital transformation of companies in the south of Serbia has already begun. Of course, even without this research, we know that they have just begun their journey to reach the level of digitization in advanced Western countries. There is a huge space for the improvement and full implementation of digital technologies and business models. Recently, global digital disruption and increased competition has forced Serbian companies of all sizes, especially SME-s, to start working on improving their competitiveness, most often by digitally transforming their businesses. What are the challenges of digitization in Serbia? At our most recent CDT digital transformation project in December 2018, while working with four Serbian SME-s, I have discovered that their biggest challenge is to change their perception that digitization is only the use and application of software. Unfortunately, when buying a business software package, most Serbian companies treat the procurement and implementation like they are purchasing “toilet paper”. For them, it is only important that the software is purchased, installed on computers, or on the local networks, and then it is forgotten. They do not see that installing software is just the first step and its application and use the next more important step. I witnessed that in some companies the use of the Google Calendar had a much greater impact on improving organisation and efficiency than the implementation of some very expensive and sophisticated software solutions. The conclusion is that most Serbian companies that have already implemented some of the very best software solutions do not use them well. Their employees do not want to use them, or those who want to use them do not use them properly. Unfortunately, they do not realize that the installation and implementation of software solution does not automatically implies its successful exploitation. As we know in practice, the application issue is never a question that can be answered with YES or NO. It is always a certain % of performance (which is usually in a range of 30% to 70%). Also, to create a masterpiece you do need good tools (software), but much more than that you need a master craftsman (motivated employees). The most difficult task of a digital transformation consultant is not to determine which software is needed and how to install it, but how to get it accepted and used by all employees. How much are companies in Serbia prepared for digitization? The main problem is that their current business models and business processes are not optimized for the use of sophisticated software solutions, and very often they do not have the effect of improvement for which they are applied. They need to understand that digital transformation is not an application, but a change (transformation), and we know very well how “easy” is to make any changes in Serbia. Nowadays this is often called “lipstick on a pig” phenomenon. Many companies in Serbia believe they are successfully implementing digital transformation, but in reality they are not prepared for it and they are using it as a makeup, just to hide their weaknesses. This is also the problem of the best and most advanced companies in the world, and Bill Gates himself said about it:

  1. Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.
  2. Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

Meaning: First, optimize your business models and business processes, and then install and use software solutions. The best software in the World will not help you if your business models are not effective and if your business processes are not efficient, or if your employees do not: “Do the right things at the right time, in the right place and in the right way”.

“Given a bad start, trouble will increase at an exponential rate” – Parouzzi’s principle

Digital transformation training digital roadmap workshop in Serbia Belgrade from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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Digital Transformation project training and consulting workshops for SMEs in Serbia

At the Center for Digital Transformation d.o.o. (CDT) In November and December 2018 together with Tijana Sekulic I have implemented digital transformation project – consulting / interactive workshops for Serbian SMEs: Mokrin House doo www.mokrinhouse.com, Slovo doo www.slovo.co.rs, Aledjo doo www.aledjo.rs, Panon doo www.kolysocks.com, facilitating digital transformation, creating digital road map, digital strategy and implementation action plans as part of the GIZ program – German Organization for International Cooperation, mentored by Austrian Chambers of Commerce – WKO https://www.wko.at/

Digital transformation consulting digital consultants serbia belgrade from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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Digital transformation workshop at Dare to Be Original Conference in Belgrade Serbia

At “Dare to Be Original Conference” in Marsh Open Space in Belgrade, Miodrag Kostic and Tijana Sekulic working as trainers and consultants for GIZ (GIZ- German agency for international development and cooperation), performed a digital transformation workshop for young Serbian entrepreneurs. The conference was organized to promote entrepreneurship development in Serbia by “Original” Contemporary Magazine for Students created by Novak Djokovic foundation. At the digital transformation workshop we have discussed with entrepreneurs what is digital transformation and how can they use digital technology and digital business models to successfully transform their businesses? Digital transformation training

What is digital transformation training interactive workshop belgrade serbia from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

Trening digitalne transformacije poslovanja obuka radionica from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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Certified Digital Transformation Expert by Austrian Chambers of Commerce WKO

At the award ceremony in Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Serbia I have received Digital transformation expert certificate issued by by Austrian Chambers of Commerce – WKO

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Digital transformation certification training in Serbia by WKO Austria



Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia has decided to establish the Center for Digital Transformation d.o.o. (CDT). Digital transformation is defined broadly as any change associated with the application of information and digital technologies in all aspects of the establishment and/or operation of (start-up) companies, public sector bodies, associations and human society as such. The project for the establishment and development of the Center for Digital Transformation is supported by the GIZ – the German Organization for International Cooperation, as well as the Austrian Chambers of Commerce – WKO. As part of this program, from June 22 to June 24 I have participated in Digital Consultants Certification Preparatory Training Modules – Development of Digital Roadmaps and Digital Transformation (Business Models & Processes).

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Employee communication tools for business Public seminar in Belgrade Serbia

We held public seminar on business communication tools in business at Hotel Astoria in Belgrade. The trainers were:

The training topics were:

  • How to evaluate the type of personality with the help of non-verbal communication?
  • How to apply models of personality types in improving team relationships, selection and development of employees, negotiating and selling?
  • How to influence colleagues and employees?
  • What is facilitation, and how to use it?
  • How to facilitate communication in a group?
  • How to use group decision making?
  • Feedback and how to implement it?

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Workshop facilitation and mediation for the meeting of entrepreneurs with representatives from Serbian institutions

As part of the GIZ (German Cooperation Agency) regional programme to strengthen the cross border tourism at the Middle and Lower Danube through the Danube Competence Center (DCC) we have performed workshop facilitation and mediation for the meeting of entrepreneurs in the tourism sector with representatives from Serbian Chambers of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Tourism of Serbia, Business Woman Association of Serbia and local Tourist Offices. The goal of the workshop was to find out and share: “What help and support is needed by entrepreneurs, and what services could be provided by participating institutions and organizations to address that needs”? The workshop facilitation was performed using “World Cafe” model.

Workshop in Rogljevacke Pimnice near Negotin in Eastern Serbia

Workshop in Rogljevacke Pimnice near Negotin in Eastern Serbia

Workshop for tourist entrepreneurs in Sombor Municipal Library

Workshop for tourist entrepreneurs in Sombor Municipal Library

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Career development workshop for young talents in Belgrade Youth Center

This was my 4th volunteering engagement at the Belgrade Youth Center where I held interactive workshop on career development  ”How to build successful career?” for talented girls at the Komercijalna Banka School for Talents in Belgrade Serbia.

Uspeh u životu razvoj karijere dobar posao put do uspeha from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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Lecture at the Center for Career Development by LINK Group

On September 9th I held free public lecture on “How to communicate in a successful team” at the Center for Career Development by LINK Group. There were 40 participants from LINK Business Academy and IT Academy and over a 200 viewers over live streaming.

Video from lecture on teamwork at the Center for Career Development by LINK Group

Trening Ostvarite bolji timski rad – otklonite 5 smetnji u radu tima from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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Leadership workshop for students of ESTIEM LG Belgrade at Faculty of Organizational Sciences

On March 8th, together with Marko Burazor, we organized and performed a free leadership workshop at ESTIEM LG Belgrade student organization (European students of industrial engineering and management) at Faculty of Organizational Sciences at University of Belgrade.


Video from leadership workshop for students of ESTIEM LG Belgrade at Faculty of Organizational Sciences

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Sales negotiation skills public training in Belgrade chambers of Commerce

We have performed “Advanced sales negotiation skills” Public training in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce sharing our knowledge, expertise and experiences with participants from more than a dozen Serbian companies.

I performed this public training together with Marko Burazor.

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Customer relations and online marketing training for tourism service providers in Kladovo, Odesa and Kishinev

As part of the GIZ (German Cooperation Agency) regional programme to strengthen the cross border tourism at the Middle and Lower Danube through the Danube Competence Center (DCC) we have performed 8 interactive training sessions “Building relations with costumers in the tourism sector” and “Online marketing for tourism service providers” in Kladovo Serbia, Odessa Ukraine and Kishinev Moldavia in English language.

Also we have created 8 presentation for entrepreneurs in  tourism

http://danubecc.org/manuals-online-marketing-in-tourism-sector/

http://danubecc.org/manuals-customer-relations-in-tourism-sector/

Pictures from workshops:

Kishinev Moldavia

Odessa Ukraine

Kladovo Serbia

Odnosi sa klijentima u turizmu usluživanje gostiju turista trening za giz from Miodrag Kostic, CMC

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LEAN Methodology for Business Improvement Public training in Belgrade chambers of Commerce

We have performed “Applying LEAN Methodology to Improve Your Business” Public training in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce sharing our knowledge, expertise and experiences with participants from more than a dozen Serbian companies. I performed this public training together with Marko Burazor.


Video from “How to apply Lean methodology to improve your business?” public training in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce on 16-03-2016

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Career development workshop for young talents at Lady Center in Belgrade Serbia

This was my 3rd volunteering engagement at the Belgrade Youth Center where I held interactive workshop on career development  ”How to build successful career?” for talented girls at the Komercijalna Banka School for Talents in Belgrade Serbia.

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In-house Training in Conflict Management for the EU Delegation in Serbia Employees

My company Business Knowledge (Poslovna Znanja) performed In-house “Training in conflict management“ at the premises of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Belgrade, Vladimira Popovića 40/V Street  for the EU Delegation staff. We enjoyed good atmosphere and positive attitude of the participating EU Delegation employees.

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Contributing Online Video Tutorials at www.link-elearning.com website

I am creating online video tutorials at www.link-elearning.com. This video clip is on “How to present your products to retail sales customers?” as part of the online training course on “Retail Selling Skills”.

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Birthday selebration with my friends at KOGO on Danube river

I have celebrated my birthday at Kogo Lounge Bar on Danube river with my dearest friends.

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Public seminar “Successful case studies of economic security management” at Belgrade Chambers of Commerce

Together with Sasa Todorovic and Dejan Pavlovic, top economic security managers of the largest Serbian company NIS a.d., we have held public presentation “Economic security management” on June 17th 2015 at Belgrade Chambers of Commerce.  At the seminar  successful case studies of economic waste detection and prevention were presented to participating owners and managers of leading Serbian companies.

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Lean and Kaizen business improvement training for German company Gruner

Together with Marko Burazor, we have performed business improvement in-house training (Lean and Kaizen methodology) for supervisors and managers of Gruner Serbia company in Vlasotince. Great people, great experience.

Gruner Serbia in Vlasotince

The essence of LEAN and KAIZEN

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Sales tools to attract and keep important B2B clients public training in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce

Last week we have performed public training “Sales tools to attract and keep large B2B clients” in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce sharing our knowledge and experiences with participants from different Serbian companies. I performed this public training together with Marko Burazor.


Video from “Sales tools to attract and keep large B2B customers” public training in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce on 08-04-2015

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