Promising developments. Why Metinvest Digital needs an internal R&D center
Companies that have embarked on the path of digital transformation, in order to increase competitiveness, need to keep up with the times, to be at the forefront of innovative technologies
Metinvest Digital, as an IT business partner responsible for a comprehensive program of digital transformation of the largest Ukrainian mining and metallurgical group of companies, Metinvest, is increasingly faced with situations when not all requests that a business addresses can be satisfied by the existing solutions market. Searching, analyzing, evaluating, prototyping and implementing innovative technologies requires a separate approach. It is for these purposes that Metinvest Digital has created an internal R&D center, a promising development center.
R&D Metinvest Digital is classically based on two key principles: research and development. They complement each other. As part of the research direction, the team is engaged in technology scouting and primary technology testing (sandboxing). Scouting helps identify and study specific innovative solutions, as well as analyze them against business requirements and sufficient maturity for potential implementation. Initial testing is a continuation of scouting. R&D specialists test and evaluate how the declared indicators and characteristics of technologies correspond to reality and, in general, can be integrated into the existing IT landscape.
The second direction – development – includes both prototyping and the creation of a finished product or solution. Because technology innovation projects can be too risky, time-consuming and costly, the R&D team uses the proof of concept process as a tool to identify potential weaknesses and challenges before full implementation.
In both directions, the principle of Co-Innovation is actively used, which involves the creation of a partner innovation ecosystem and cooperation with other companies both for the search and evaluation of new technologies and for the development of prototypes of innovative solutions with the aim of their further implementation and replication.
‘In complex corporate structures, effective digital transformation is impossible without R&D. In fact, we have created an internal, but at the same time open to external stakeholders, platform for rapid testing of innovations at the request of the business based on the proof of concept approach. The ecosystem we have created unites our internal centers of expertise, vendors, developers, startups, etc. We pilot projects in so-called emerging technologies, where there are no ready-made solutions: artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotization, computer vision, and so on along the Gartner hype curve ‘, – says Sergiy Detyuk, CEO of Metinvest Group.
Benefits and results
If we talk about the focus of R&D, then the emphasis is mainly on testing developing technologies, which are heard by everyone, but at the same time, not everyone understands how they can be implemented and at the same time recoup the investment. The internal center for advanced research R&D allows Metinvest Digital to:
— quickly test new technologies;
— make mistakes at the stage of testing hypotheses, and not at the stage of project implementation;
— invest based on confirmed data;
— develop internal expertise and competencies;
— to improve the efficiency of resource management.
R&D was created a year and a half ago, but it already has achievements. The division has worked through more than 32 business requests, has developed nine prototypes of solutions using RPA (robotic process automation), is engaged in the creation of virtual assistants based on artificial intelligence, analyzes the possibilities of using computer vision technology at metallurgical enterprises to build predictive models for analyzing the sinter manufacturing process, control systems cold rolling processes, control and condition of steel-pouring ladles.
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