Asseco experts sum up 2021 - the time of digitization of many areas of life
2021 is a time of unprecedented digital acceleration. The demand for e-services triggered by the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated technology processes by 5 to 7 years. In the past year, projects were implemented in IT that normally would not have happened or would have been postponed. The increase in importance of e-services was observed, among others, in public administration, health, trade or professional services, for example on the capital market or when concluding transactions electronically. Social acceptance for e-services and the level of citizens' awareness of the possibilities of using them have also increased.
State registers increasingly computerized
In public administration, there has been a dynamic increase in the demand for digitization and automation of public services. Increasingly more official matters could be handled online, and the trusted profile is already used by over 13 million Poles. Important projects that became operational this year include mPrawo Jazdy or mObywatel (mDriving Licence and mCitizen). The importance of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) has increased on the map of public digital services.
Last year we implemented projects which allowed to introduce further e-services in public administration. From our perspective, the most important was the takeover of the Good Start program (the so-called 300+) by ZUS. We implemented a central solution with full automation of process handling for 98% of submitted applications, which made it possible to use the program without a visit to the office and reduced the costs of program handling in subsequent years. Currently, ZUS is building next solutions for handling 500+ and Family Capital Welfare benefits. Another important project for us was the launch of the National Debtors Register ordered by the Ministry of Justice as well as the completion of implementation of the Digital Border for the Ministry of Finance - says Sławomir Szmytkowski, Vice President of Asseco Poland.
A breakthrough year for eHealth
For the digitization of the health care system, 2021 was a landmark year. In the last 12 months, e-prescription or e-referral became operational, and medical phone advice became the norm for lighter illnesses and ailments. In January 2021, the obligation to keep medical records in electronic form was introduced, and in July – to index five documents on the P1 platform. Also important was the introduction of the Prevention 40 PLUS program, which must be reported electronically in order to be billed by a physician. Still an obstacle to full implementation and use of the so-called EDM is the lack of a mechanism to enforce its use, which results in the lack of widespread compliance with these obligations.
In 2021, the most important event for us was the establishment of the company Krajowy Operator Chmury Medycznej (National Medical Cloud Operator - Cloud for Health) specializing in the digitization of healthcare. It executes implementations of electronic medical records (EDM) in the cloud and allows us to offer our customers the latest technological solutions. Last year we also carried out large-scale IT projects in 15 hospitals supervised by the Ministry of Health. Under the project of integration of the nationwide TOPSOR system with our AMMS solution, we implemented a new customer service system in over 100 hospitals across Poland, says Krzysztof Groyecki, Vice President of Asseco Poland.
New developments on the capital market
The digital acceleration was also visible on the capital market. We could observe many new phenomena which had an impact on its development, such as financial institutions building an offer taking into account the needs of passive investors. The importance of robo-advisory services was also growing and brokerage houses were implementing modern platforms for access to brokerage services for retail investors. Integration of online and mobile platforms with banking solutions, as well as digitization of onboarding of stock market investors are becoming increasingly common. An important event last year was the WSE's announcement of the implementation schedule for the new stock exchange system WATS. There is also a growing expectation of financial institutions to "cloud" the IT solutions they provide.
2021 is a very intense time of digital transformation on the capital market. We implemented many complex projects for clients that brought a major technological change. One of the most important events for us was the implementation of a new generation of solutions, including the ePROMAK NEXT and mPROMAK NEXT web and mobile platforms in the Brokerage Office of PKO Bank Polski. We also started work on the next generation of the main PROMAK NEXT brokerage system, which we will be able to present to our clients in 2022 - says Artur Trunowicz, Director of the Capital Market Division at Asseco Poland.
A year driven by the cloud
2021 was undoubtedly the year of the cloud. We saw the rise of cloud computing and a huge demand for cloud services. Due to the pandemic, enterprises were focused on maintaining business continuity and increasing cost efficiency, which translated into increasing use of on-demand, scalable cloud models. There was also growing interest in the technology from public institutions. According to McKinsey & Company, cloud computing solutions implemented in Polish companies and public institutions may bring an additional PLN 121 billion or 4% of GDP to the economy by 2030. An important event on the cloud map was the opening of the Polish branch of Gaia-X, a European project for the development of cloud technology. This is another initiative strengthening the trend related to the development and adoption of cloud technologies on the Polish market. September 2021 saw the launch of a new company within the Asseco Group, namely Asseco Cloud, which is dedicated to the provision of high quality cloud-based services and proprietary data centers.
In 2021, we carried out projects using cloud computing, among others, for clients from the health, trade and telecommunications industries. We signed an agreement with Amercian Heart of Poland, one of the largest providers of medical services on the Polish market, to migrate and maintain the comprehensive Asseco Medical Management Solution in the SaaS model. This system covers several dozen medical facilities and is delivered on the Asseco's cloud basis along with a range of professional IT services. We also continued our strategic cooperation with Dino Poland and supported the company in its digital transformation, by maintaining its key production systems and supporting the implementation of a new ERP system, among others. For the Polsat Plus Group and Netia, we implemented and adopted Office 365 and security solutions based on Microsoft 365 Security - says Lech Szczuka, President of Asseco Cloud.
Cyber security a priority
In 2021, like everyone else, the cybersecurity industry was grappling with the impact of the pandemic on business processes. The remote working model in most companies and institutions meant that the "attack area" increased significantly and it became necessary to manage risks in a very dynamic way and to constantly supplement cyber security solutions. In many cases, the actions of cybercriminals proved to be so effective that the losses of entities attacked, e.g. ransomware, were substantial. Attacks carried out by specialized teams acting in the interest of foreign countries have become even more dangerous. There is a growing awareness that effectively securing one's resources and business processes against cyber attacks is becoming a prerequisite for doing business. The National Cyber Security System Act, for example, helps with this, but there is still much to be done.
In 2021, we delivered and integrated solutions from leading vendors and supported customers in building processes in the area of incident management. We also joined a large research and development project and together with our consortium partners, we aim to create a unique solution to support companies with the most critical resources in combating the most dangerous APT-class attacks. We have also expanded our offerings with our own code security product that is unique in the world. As a result of these efforts, in 2021 we expanded our customer base to include more strategically important companies, including the launch of our partnership with the Polish Post Office. We believe that in 2022, after the completion of Cyber Defense Africa, a project implemented jointly with Asseco Data Systems, further expansion on foreign markets awaits us. We are preparing to support our clients in adapting to new regulations related to the amendment of the National Cyber Security System Act. We also hope to break new ground in the area of providing solutions for practical exercises on how to respond to cyber attacks, says Krzysztof Dyki, President of ComCERT (Asseco Group)
Trust services appreciated by business
2021 was also a landmark year in terms of awareness of the use of trust services, including digital signatures. Increasingly more companies are integrating it into their business processes and customer interactions, and it is also being used by executives in organizations. E-signature has become the beginning or an important part of accelerated digital transformation for many companies and institutions. There are still many challenges ahead for the trust services market, especially due to the lack of sanctioned regulations related to video verification, which hinders the development of e-signature providers on foreign markets, and also due to the amendment of the eIDAS regulation, which will affect this market at the level of the entire European Union.
In 2021, we implemented projects for clients that took their businesses to a new level whether in logistics, sales or customer service. The solutions we offered responded to companies' current challenges of digital transformation. Both mobile e-signatures, created on mobile devices or desktop computers using SimplySign service, and "card" e-signatures, created using a physical card similar to a sim card, were used. The key projects this year include the implementation of e-signature in Plus outlets, digitization of the process of signing lease agreements by Santander Leasing customers, as well as streamlining the logistics processes in Żabka Polska by implementing our qualified trust services - says Artur Miękina, Key Projects Sales Director, Asseco Data Systems.