Stober, Poltavets & Associates Managing Partner says Ukraine needs a chief technology officer

January 13, 2017. Stober, Poltavets & Associates.

Stober, Poltavets & Associates Managing Partner says Ukraine needs a chief technology officer Stober, Poltavets & Associates Managing Partner Ivan Poltavets believes that Ukraine has a large pool of well-educated information technology entrepreneurs in the making and thriving IT businesses.

In his analytical article “Ukraine needs a chief technology officer now” Ivan considers the role of the government in introducing advanced IT services in Ukraine as well as stresses the need of the professional technology officer to manage the whole process. Ivan explains what precisely should be the officer’s sphere of activity; and the institutional requirements of the person in the role in order to deliver successful government leadership.

“Perhaps it is now time to consider the establishment of a fully-fledged chief technology officer role for Ukraine, as the best way to embrace advances in technology, and implement best practices,” says Ivan.

Please read the full article in the PDF attached.

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Shaping the narrative in a ‘post-truth’ world

November 26, 2016. Stober, Poltavets & Associates.

Shaping the narrative in a ‘post-truth’ world A few days ago, I was invited for an event in Geneva, Switzerland about Litigation PR and the role of communicators in the judicial process. The event was organised by Voxia communication – a leading Swiss PR agency, and a partner of Stober, Poltavets & Associates. The idea that it is worth investing in PR, so as to impact the case, is not a straightforward one. It very much depends on the type of case involved, and it raises some interesting questions.

Are the plaintiffs public individuals? Is there a public interest in the case, which goes beyond the legal arguments? What kind of judicial process are we talking about? What are the communication traditions of the respective courts? It’s important to answer these questions before determining which approach to take. The whole issue depends very much on the specifics of various legal traditions. The Swiss legal system, for example, is historically seen as immune to public interference, and there is little media coverage of individual cases. According to those skeptical of Litigation PR, this is because prosecutors and judges maintain their independence from the State – in terms of public scrutiny and appointments – and processes are more oriented towards negotiation between the parties. There is, therefore, an inherent resistance to transparency and this could work against the effectiveness of PR. In other systems – in the French legal tradition, for example – magistrates are more politicised and there is a tradition of talking to the media during cases. These factors have an impact on the effectiveness of engaging with PR, in relation to ongoing cases.

Having said that, it is also clear that even in Switzerland the concept of Litigation PR is gaining traction.

I think that one of the key reasons for this is social media. We must all endure its overwhelming presence and influence, and it creates an environment where there is little room for going ‘under the radar’. It is more or less impossible to keep anything secret; otherwise – especially for public personalities or companies – the brand will be affected. This is not, of course, the same thing as being able to influence legal negotiations, but perhaps that is beside the point. The important thing is to provide a post-judgement narrative. In a ‘post-truth’ world, public opinion can be as important as the legal outcome. This trend is having an impact on the Swiss system. It is interesting to note that in our practice such considerations are already well established.

Some time ago we were involved in a commercial dispute, where two international investors stood up against each other in a CIS market. The legal arguments were already pretty solid and although the legal team managed the dispute resolution process, it was very soon clear that PR needs to be included into the process as well. Notwithstanding the outcome of the case, they also had to protect the brand, and the shareholders, in the long term. In that situation, PR became an integral part of the case itself.

I think it is clear that Litigation PR will be an increasingly important practice area for communication professionals. I also see the increased use of so-called ‘mixed teams’, consisting of both legal and communications personnel. It’s inevitable. In the ‘court of public opinion’, the judgment is bound to be a mixture of legal and emotional arguments.

Marcus Stober,

Partner

Stober, Poltavets & Associates

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Is Ukraine headed toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

September 16, 2016. Stober, Poltavets & Associates.

Is Ukraine headed toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution? It's unfolding all around us, and it's expanding rapidly. It's a socio-economic and technological revolution, and it relies heavily on the emergence of macro trends, such as the IT Cloud, mobility, big data and the evolution of social businesses. It's being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and in order to move along with it, and be competitive, Ukraine needs to establish an efficient legal framework to accommodate it.

Ukrainian policy makers currently have ‘on their plates’ a proposal for strategies to regulate one of those strategic pillars – the IT Cloud.  In reality, ‘Cloud’ technologies mean external data storage, and the capacity to harness the immense computing powers of Cloud computing. This opens up the possibilities of more efficient IT spending – by reducing the need for expensive capital investments – and more efficient maintenance of IT assets. By deploying a ‘Cloud-first strategy’, governments and businesses can deliver fast and secure on-demand storage and computing power, while also reducing costs.

In Ukraine, analysts estimated (in 2014) that the current Cloud economy represented a meagre 8.5 million USD. With the right regulatory and business conditions it could become a growth story. It is in the government’s interest, therefore, to create a business and policy environment that will stimulate and maintain the development of Ukraine’s Cloud market. To this end, Ukraine MPs recently introduced a draft law into Parliament – a law that could boost the local market, and open it up to international Cloud providers.

Law No. 4302 would make it possible for governmental agencies and companies to procure Cloud services from private businesses, including those that are non-resident. Ultimately this could allow for data to be processed and/or stored outside Ukraine’s borders.  Proponents of the draft law say that outsourcing to private and professional IT companies is a more efficient method of processing and storing public data. Critics of the law, on the other hand, fear that opening up the government Cloud market to non-resident providers will place Ukraine’s fledgling data centre industry, as well as government data, at risk.

As a side note to this central argument, there have arisen several other issues related to how the draft law suggests public data be managed. For instance, non-resident companies already host certain kinds of open data, such as the website content of public institutions, and Facebook channels of government agencies. It is a current requirement, however, that data containing the personal information of Ukraine citizens is to be stored within national borders. The proposed new Law No. 4302 requires only material related to State secrets to be located within the country.

Proponents for the law also argue that the management and storage of databases belonging to government entities, such as the police, customs, and tax authority, would greatly benefit from a movement to the Cloud. The theory is that having such data in Cloud storage would improve interconnectedness, reduce interference, and thereby enhance security and reduce the risk of corruption. Critics, however, argue that outsourcing data management to private businesses would incur additional management risks, and create problems related to clarity of ownership, and issue management.

The law is now being debated in the Parliament, and is expected to be moved forward during the autumn. The final outcome of the legislative process is still to be determined, but already there is a clearly evident ambition to upgrade legislation so that Ukraine can propel itself headlong into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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