en English

San Jose, Palo Alto, Moffett Field, Mountain View. September 21, 2016. On the second day of the Slovenian Business Development Delegation to the Silicon Valley, Delegation’s 26 representatives from various industries as well as research and academic institutions visited Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, NASA Ames Research Center and BCG Digital Ventures Center.

Jimm Grubb, Chief Technology Evangelist at Cisco, gave a welcome address by pointing out several facts that are going to change the world: "In this world, 5 billion people still do not have access to the Internet. In the next five years, they will be all connected. Each of us has a supercomputer – smart phone in our pocket. Everything is connected. The speed of innovation is incredible." In 2015, the Silicon Valley spent as much as USD 122 billion for innovation.

Peter Hajdu, Managing Director, Cisco Central Eastern Europe at Cisco Systems, emphasized that Slovenia is fortunate to have Minister Koprivnikar, who understands the importance of using technology for the good of all people. He also added that the business community is playing a large role here: "We actually believe that Slovenia has all the right ingredients to utilize technology better. What is very critical now is to actually increase the appetite and interest of the business community and Government in terms of absorbing technology better, because the consumer adaptation has already happened.”

Željko Radilović, an entrepreneur and owner of Preskok gave his views on the visit to Cisco: "What I remember most is the need to add a digital layer to everything we do and which is not yet supported by digital technology. This is a confirmation that we are doing things the right way, which was also demonstrated by several examples of how the acquired data was used to optimize operations and add value. It is important to know what type of information you have available and how to gather and group it with data from other platforms to find a new added value."

Suzana Leben, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Telekom Slovenije: "The main realization is that technologies enable many things, but in principle, people and data are still what needs to be connected and used for an improved experience and application in real life."

The presentation of Hewlett Packard Enterprise included the latest achievements of their experts, which are enabling better, more efficient and higher quality business operations. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a high-tech company. With its broad portfolio of solutions, services and products in the field of information technology, it allows users to optimize existing IT environments and transform the applicative solutions. In Slovenia, they have been providing innovative technologies of the future and enabling the domestic economy to achieve the necessary business transformations. The mission of HPE in Slovenia remains committed to the same objective, even after its transformation into Hewlett Packard Enterprise operated by Selectium, with the new owner Midis Group.

Iztok Klančnik, General Manager HPE operated by Selectium: "I am convinced that today's presentations of my colleagues of Hewlett Packard Enterprise additionally strengthened our position in the group of those innovative companies in the world that help the modern economy to remain in the best shape and to be able to keep pace with technical and other changes that are happening in our society in general."

A special surprise was prepared for the participants; three Slovenians who had a significant influence on the development of HPE, were also invited to the meeting. Zvonko Fazarinc and France Rode were a part of the HPE story from its very beginnings and are certainly Slovenes, who had a significant influence on the development of Silicon Valley. Bojana Fazarinc, Zvonko's daughter, was even the global director of corporate marketing for a period of time.

Matej Čer, entrepreneur and owner of Avant car, upon meeting the legends, said: "It is a great motivation to see that someone with our roots can penetrate, succeed and be acknowledged in such a complex world. But what inspires me most is the mindset of these people.  I can see how simple and honest they are and giving oriented."

An extremely interesting experience was the visit to NASA Ames Center, where the participants had the opportunity to meet dr. Jacob Cohen, Chief Scientist, who said that the outer space allows for a completely different view on the life on Earth.

Alex Dukic, partner,  BCG Digital Ventures Center,  presented an unprecedented methodology, developed in 2 years of connecting startup companies and corporations. Participants were impressed.

Iztok Seljak, Chairman of the Board of Hidria, stressed:" Digital transformation, in light of the exponentially growing mass of available data and growing cognitive abilities to process, analyze and use this data, is disruptively changing all processes that we know today. This includes production activities, including automotive manufacturing and production in all its segments."

"In addition to numerous other high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, BCG Digital Service routinely, with carefully devised processes and methods, addresses the needs of large global corporations and its users, on a daily basis. BCG Digital Service is constantly innovating, developing new business models and turning them into commercial success stories, thereby changing the faces of entire industries and sectors right before our eyes. For Hidria as well as for the entire Slovenian and European automotive industry, it is essential that in addition to technical and technological innovation, we also significantly raise the pace of innovation of our business processes and thus retain global leadership positions, " Seljak further added.

"We met a group of experienced professionals, who have in the past invested in startups and implemented a number of innovative projects at the highest global level. Now they are transferring their knowledge together with global trends within BCG Digital Ventures, onto their clients," summarized Enzo Smrekar, Managing Director and Board Member of Droga Kolinska. "The approach is based on a strong focus on user experience. We were introduced to several excellent examples from different parts of the world and different industries and became familiarized with different practices that could also be implemented at home."

"On selected cases, our guests got to know what digital transformation is really about. Under the unique conditions of digital disruptions, enabled by Digital Ventures development and innovation centers worldwide, innovations of strategic importance are being shaped. A digital strategy is therefore much more than a document or a piece of paper. It is a result of a constant innovation process that takes place in cooperation with our clients," highlighted Melanie Seier Larsen, Principal and Member of the Executive BCG team in Southeast Europe.

In the upcoming days, the Delegation will visit the following companies and institutions: Microsoft, Salesforce, Uber, Celtra, Tesla, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Stanford University and the official opening of the ABC Accelerator in the Silicon Valley.

The Business Development Delegation is organized by AmCham Slovenia, with the support of the SPIRIT Slovenia Public Agency.  Delegation participants will gain an insight into the thinking and functioning of the leading development centers and companies, which are establishing the key platforms for digital transformation. The Delegation will also consolidate the "Slovenia – a Green Reference Country in Digital Europe" initiative.

After last year's Delegation to the US, led by the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, PhD, this year's initiative came from the businesses themselves, under the auspices of AmCham Slovenia. These businesses are aware of the momentum and opportunities offered by the 4th Industrial Revolution, but at the same time know very well that it is essential to adapt, and even more – to play an active role – without waiting.  With the support of the Prime Minister, this year's Government Representative, joining the Delegation, is Boris Koprivnikar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration, who is also coordinating Government efforts in the field of digital transformation under the "Slovenia – a Green Reference Country in Digital Europe" initiative.

More information about the Delegation can be found here.