Leap into the Future: A Vision for Romania 4.0
With a daunting mandate, Sebastian Burduja, The Minister for Research, Inovation and Digitalisation has an ambitious program to ensure Romania’s digital landscape shares the values of transparency and good governance into the future.
The week that was
The week-long Bucharest Technology week began with a series of six key summits addressing the step-by-step processes and growth strategies Romania has undertaken to actively nuture through policy and incentives.
From a focus on preparing the Romanian business community for the Metaverse, to Software Architecture, Human Resources, Retail summits, perhaps the key event was the premier Innovation Summit that set the tone for the week.
Opened by Minister Burduja, the Innovation Summit was packed with industry heavyweights, including remarks by the Deputy Mayor of Bucharest, Stelian Bujduveanu, and representatives from Tech Week sponsors Bosch and Cognizant Softvision.
The final three days saw exhibits at the Tech Expo in Constitution Plaza, just in front of the towering Palace of the People. After an hour schmoozing with the tech cognoscenti, I couldn’t resist checking out the new Ford Mustang EV, bringing back fond memories, now embodied with thankfully cleaner technology.
Above: Speaking eloquently on the main aims of his portfolio, Minister Sebastian Burduja kept the assembled techies engaged at the final big day of the Bucharest Tech Week in June 2022
An engaged Minister
Burduja speaks with the moderated assurance of a capable technocrat, with a flair for meaningful engagement with his audience. Coming across as a more relevant Macron, his near hour-long presence on the big-tent stage on the final day was both interesting, informative, and at times inspired.
Indeed it is rare that I’ve seen anyone navigate a slide presentation with such gravitas, and he’s clearly across his portfolio, having impressive depth of knowledge in his areas of Innovation, Research and Digialisation.
Romania’s tech future would seem to be in surprisingly capable hands, as evidenced by the Minister’s comprehensive treatise outlined in “A Plan for Romania”. This is Burduja’s fascinating book which I purchased and read last year as part of my lockdown reading list. Definitely worth a read.
Fixing the number 27
Probably one of the more important pushes championed by the Minister is that of Digitalisation daily Romanian business and public life. He’s stated previousy the getting the Romanian public institutions migrated to the Cloud is “not the secret to getting rid of papers, it is not the silver bullet.”
His point is that interoperability between government departments can save us all from being asked for the same information over and over.
In carrying out normal business activities here in Bucharest, all too many times have I been confronted with the absurdity of various main departments and agencies not being able to effectively access vital data.
One slide he cheekily flashed up on the big screen for the crowd simply said “27”. The crowd was invited to elaborate on the significance of that number, and after a few punters had their (sometimes comical) guesses, the Minister revealed it was, sadly, Romania’s ranking in the EU for substantive progress on digitalisation.
Dealing with Digitalisation
As we deal daily with the successes and pitfalls of supporting our clients’ internal and external business operations, the subject was germane to the cybersecurity and secure web solutions we offer here at Hanco.
While our UK-based small-to-medium enterprises clearly have less frictional costs in moving forward with digitalisation efforts, in Romania, such costs (I’ll call it “systemic opacity”) are generally more challenging.
Burduja has stated severally that Digitalisation is a national priority. The laundry list of steps required to bring Romania up to the middle of the pack will need intensive education of the business and government stakeholders, and of course the policies and funding to get all that accomplished.
With Burduja at the helm, I must say my confidence in that goal is bolstered.