Poland may become the European leader in digitization by 2023 – the latest report of the Sobieski Institute concludes
The wider use of Green IT solutions, the appointment of Ambassador for Cooperation with Global IT Companies and the creation of Poland's technological sovereignty based on domestic ICT products - these are just some of the recommendations of the authors of the report "Poland (truly) digital. 12 recommendations for the years 2019-2023". In this publication, the experts from the Sobieski Institute and the ICT sector propose concrete actions to be taken by political decision-makers so that in four years' time the national government administration will be among the European leaders in digitization, and Polish companies will significantly improve their position on the ICT solutions market.
The new technological revolution is a great opportunity for the Polish economy, but we need much more courageous contracting authorities on the part of the public administration. We can provide ourselves and next generations with a high quality of life and the opportunity to work in companies that will create innovative solutions with high added value. Whether or not this happens depends very much on how we use the opportunities offered by new technologies. Public administration, health, education, armed forces and energy must be leaders in the use of new technologies and their implementation in Poland. This will allow domestic IT companies to develop their products and build competitive advantage on an international scale - these are the most important conclusions of the Sobieski Institute's report, which has been prepared in cooperation with Asseco Poland.
The aim of the report is to present 12 recommendations, which should be implemented in Poland in the years 2019-23, to Polish politicians and decision-makers. We are hoping that in the next term of the Sejm, we will succeed in building a broad consensus among all political circles so that the Polish government administration will be among the world leaders in the digitization process and Poland and its domestic companies will significantly improve their position in IT-related areas– said Bartłomiej Michałowski, one of the authors of the report and the member of the Board of the Sobieski Institute, during a press conference organized at the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
The Polish IT sector must grow 3 times faster if Poland is to become the leader in digitization on a European and even global scale. It is alarming that in recent years the domestic new technologies sector has been developing more slowly than the whole economy. And it is the condition of Polish IT companies which will determine whether the state will have a partner in the process of digitization of administration and building innovation and technological sovereignty of the country. A strong IT sector is also a chance for us to create in Poland advanced products with export potential, which will contribute to Poland's GDP growth – said Dariusz Śpiewak, vice-president of the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the co-author of the report.
Innovation and digitization of the state have been present in the declarations and program of all policy makers for years. I am hoping that the publication of the report will help politicians look at these issues from a new, more practical point of view. I am convinced that the actions recommended by the Sobieski Institute may not only significantly accelerate the process of digitization of our country, but also contribute to the development of the Polish economy in areas which in today's world determine the position of the state, its sovereignty and the comfort of life of all its citizens. As the largest Polish IT company, we have been supporting and will support the development of such projects because we believe that in this way we contribute to the development of our country – said Sławomir Szmytkowski, Vice President of the Management Board of Asseco Poland.
12 recommendations for politicians for the years 2019-23
Among the 12 recommendations for the years 2019-23, the authors of the Report indicate the need to appoint a Plenipotentiary for Common IT Infrastructure of the State, who will also be the head of the IT Office of the Government. The plenipotentiary's task would be to implement horizontal tools and solutions (for all ministries) supporting public administration activities specified in the Integrated State Informatization Program and the Act on Common State Informatization Infrastructure. In addition, the experts recommend to significantly increase the number of implemented innovative projects by introducing the obligation of a specific number of innovation testing grounds for all ministries and strategic State Treasury companies. "From the perspective of an entrepreneur, especially the one who runs a start-up, a simple and fast path enabling testing of new solutions and technologies is very important. For companies that are just starting. Prolonged talks or negotiations cause additional costs” – emphasizes Dr. Przemysław Chojecki, the co-author of the publication.
The experts also draw attention to the need to apply public procurement law in such a way as to serve innovation and digital transformation in government administration, local government and companies where this law is in force. They call for promoting and rewarding decision-makers who are courageous, creative and open-minded in implementing innovative solutions. They also recommend building Poland's technological sovereignty on the basis of domestic ICT products, as well as supporting exports of technologically advanced products. „The Polish army is undergoing significant modernization and is implementing a broad investment program. Polish ICT companies should take a very active part in these programs” – says Filip Seredyński, the member of the Sobieski Institute Board and the co-author of the report.
According to the authors of the report, the state should directly conclude with global IT companies license agreements for standard software for all ministries, institutions and government agencies. Also, an Ambassador for Cooperation with Global IT Companies should be appointed, whose role will be to take care of the interests of Poland and Polish citizens in relations with the world's largest IT companies (as in Denmark). It is also necessary to implement solutions from the so-called Green IT area in administration and to use ICT technologies for constant monitoring and improvement of the natural environment of Poland.
In addition, it is worth developing mechanisms which, like the so-called social clauses in tenders, will give advantage to public sector solution providers which pay taxes. It is also recommended to develop digital competences of the society through further development of the National Educational Network, popularization of sciences related to the digital economy and the use of ICT in public services, above all in health care. „ICT solutions also have a huge potential in medical care of elderly people. The costs of hospitalization and care 24 hours a day in the long term are becoming a heavy burden for the public health care system” – says Dr Piotr Hańczyc, the expert from the Sobieski Institute and the co-author of the report. The last recommendation is to revive the Public-Private Partnership and to use the innovativeness of Polish private companies, especially in the field of transport, energy, municipal services and smog control.
The report also includes an overview of the international rankings that evaluate the Polish economy. They may be used to assess Poland's progress in the areas of innovation and the use of modern ICT technologies. The authors also give examples of how the projects currently being discussed in the public debate could contribute to the development of Polish ICT companies. „The reconstruction of the Saxon Palace should be used to create the Centre for the Future of Poland, where real solutions and virtual ideas of the future supporting medicine, security, energy efficiency and space exploration would be presented. The program to rebuild local bus transport should be used to create a central, intelligent travel planning system for everyone who wants to take advantage of new, local connections” – says Bartłomiej Michałowski.