Vouchers for digitization 2021
We are at the stage of digital development, when most Slovenian companies already know that they have to do something, the problem is that they do not know exactly what is needed and how to do it with appropriate results.
Businesses are well aware that they need help with their digital transformation. The main problem is that they do not know where to get the right professional advice and how much it could cost you. The answer can be found in the catalogs of digital experts, which can be found on the website of DIH Slovenia – Digital Innovation Hub of Slovenia. In it, they will find the right experts for their digital transformation, aided by the ratings given to them by companies that have worked with them in the past. The indicative values of their services are also listed.
To make it easier for companies to hire these external experts, the state also provided financial assistance to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the Slovenian Enterprise Fund (SPP) in the form of two instruments: Digital Vouchers and P4D 2021 – Incentives for Digital business transformation. For both SMEs, companies receive a 60% subsidy of invested funds, or for the first instrument up to EUR 9,999 per individual voucher (companies can obtain 3 different vouchers), and for the second even up to EUR 100,000 in grants.
In this article, let’s take a look at the first instrument that covers digital vouchers in the following areas:
- digital strategy,
- digital competencies,
- digital marketing,
- cyber security,
In particular, the first and last vouchers or the results of the activities included in them will also benefit companies in the second instrument P4D 2021 – Incentives for digital transformation of companies.
Digital strategy voucher
The digital strategy must contain a well-defined answer as to how the organization will move from the current state without or insufficiently developed digital business, to the desired state with the introduced digital. The path is basically a digital transformation and digital strategy plan where exactly the organization wants to get and how it will get there.
The digital strategy must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines of DIH Slovenia, as it will ultimately assess its adequacy, which is the basis for the payment of the subsidy by the SAA. It must contain at least three sets:
- assessment of the situation in the field of digitalization of the company,
- preparation of a plan for the development of digital capabilities of the company,
- preparing a strategy for a digital strategy company with key areas.
Above all, companies must be aware that digital strategy is not an extension of IT strategy, but an upgrade and integrated part of business strategy, so it derives from the business of the company and its customers, only then adds the capabilities of digital technologies and digital solutions. That is why companies need the help of an experienced external expert to prepare a digital strategy, who should have at least 5 comprehensive digital strategies ready. An external consultant to prepare a digital strategy must first have a good understanding of the business part of the whole story, both external with the characteristics of the digital economy and digital customers, and internal with the characteristics of processes and culture of the organization. It is also imperative that he has been involved in the preparation of the business strategy before.
Voucher for raising digital competencies
The voucher enables co-financing of the costs of training management and employees in order to provide appropriate digital skills and thus increase digital competencies. At least 20% of the company’s employees must be involved in training with a selected external contractor.
The training included in the voucher should cover different levels of the company (management, individual departments), different business roles and a range of knowledge tailored to them, from understanding the characteristics of the digital economy and achieving a competitive position in it, to calculating the return on digital investment. and digital projects, to know the capabilities of digital technologies for business purposes, to name just a few of the most important content.
It is important that the set of digital competences and the corresponding training included in the digital competence voucher match the digital strategy and the activities deriving from it.
Digital Marketing Voucher
The purpose of the voucher is to introduce or upgrade digital marketing and includes the following possible areas:
- new websites + testing,
- new mobile applications + testing,
- own online stores,
- own reservation platforms.
Guidelines for the preparation of each of these areas are published on the DIHS website.
As with all vouchers, it is important for this voucher to be based on a digital strategy or a digital marketing strategy and to take into account the customer perspective.
Cyber Security Voucher
The incentive in the form of a voucher is intended to increase the cyber security of the company. Co-financed:
- conducting a system safety review, including the preparation of a safety and technical report with troubleshooting recommendations
- the cost of producing an intrusion test, including the production of a technical report with examples and a technical report on the corrected errors.
How to get a voucher
The process of obtaining any of the listed vouchers is very similar and not too complicated. It consists of only a few less extensive forms with most company information. The creative part is just a justification for why the company needs a voucher and what it will achieve with it. The procedure is as follows:
- the company selects the appropriate expert / external contractor from the relevant catalog for each voucher and agrees on cooperation with him;
- the company prepares an application to the public call of the GTC;
- in the case of a digital strategy voucher, the company must first obtain a positive opinion from DIH Slovenije before submitting the
- application that it is appropriate and eligible for this instrument, which is attached to the application via the SPS ePortal;
- after the SPS invitation to sign the contract, the company must return the signed contract to the SPS within 8 days of receipt.
How to use a voucher correctly – useful tips for using vouchers
Of course, it is normal that many Slovenian companies have never prepared a digital strategy in their existence, as it is a response to new business conditions, or conducted a cyber test related to new technologies. The fight is likely to have already carried out some training in the field or activity covered by the digital marketing voucher.
In order for companies to make the most of the acquired funds with effects in their operations, they must:
- prepare business starting points and goals that you would like to achieve with the help of an individual voucher, such as:
- We want to prepare our organization for new business conditions in the digital economy, which means that we will keep current customers and acquire new ones, help each other with business decisions with appropriate data solutions, increase productivity, monitor production in real time, etc.;
- we would like to understand the behavior of our customers and adapt the appearance of our brand to them;
- We would like to ensure secure operations without cyber intrusions, as we are a strategic development partner to important customers from abroad.;
- we would like to acquire those digital competencies that will most benefit our future business development in the digital economy;
- choose the right contractor who:
- has a good rating in the corresponding DIHS catalog;
- it also has relevant references on its website. This should of course also have the contents covered by each voucher, e.g. If you are looking for an expert to prepare a digital strategy, and you will find descriptions of IT solutions on the website, this will probably not be the right external expert for your company.;
- will proactively want to know as much as possible about your business and will not only offer its services or indirectly even IT / digital solutions;
- with an external expert to precisely define the final results, value and period of implementation of activities according to the selected voucher;
- activate management and all key business roles, not just individual specialists in the field of individual vouchers;
- actively participate in the implementation and not just wait for the initiatives of the external contractor.
SPS public call for vouchers 2021
Companies can expect the announcement of the opening of the public call for digital vouchers in February 2021. You will find the announcement of the opening on the SPS website.
It is expected that the application will not be much different from the previous ones, so companies can start preparing, especially if they later apply for P4D 2021 – Incentives for digital transformation of companies.
We wish you plenty of success.
Aleš Štempihar, director of Askit d.o.o. and consultant entered in the DIHS catalog of Digital Experts and Digital Competence Training
Askit d.o.o. From the very beginning, it has been entered in the catalog of Digital Strategy Experts and in the catalog of trainings for raising digital competencies. So far, it has worked with over 20 companies. It has a rating of 5 in the catalog of digital strategy experts – out of all 5 companies that rated it. However, digital strategies have been identified by DIHS as examples of good practice.