Introductory paper to the special issue "Innovation Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies"
This paper analyzes the impact of disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, the internet of things, and blockchain, upon conventional banking professions and skill sets. Our conclusions are based upon a large array of data collected over the course of a survey of highly qualified personnel conducted in 2017-2018 using text mining, case studies, and expert interviews. The changing requirements for workers and their competencies were assessed taking into account the level of technological development (including the use of relevant products and services by Russian and international companies) as well as the probability of certain professional skills being substituted by automated solutions in the medium term. The results indicate that the impact of technologies upon various functional segments of banks’ operations is varied. While most of the analyzed professions are evolving towards broader functionality, others are sliding into the “obsolete” group. In the next few years, automated systems will take full responsibility for data collection and its initial analysis, though they will not replace bank personnel fully given that they simply remain tools that help boost workers’ productivity and efficiency, extend the information base, accelerate decision-making, cut costs, and reduce risks.
In the paper, there is the relationship between internal competitiveness factors and the perception of Russian SMEs’ level of competitiveness pressures examined, based on a secondary analysis of the RuFIGE (Russian Enterprises in global economy) survey data obtained in 2014 by 1,677 Russian industrial small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It comes out that neither the high technological level, nor the introduction of the CRM system, nor the availability of external financing are sufficient for Russian manufacturing SMEs to feel competitive on the global market. From the other side, those manufacturing SMEs whose main competitors are domestic enterprises, do count neither the technological level nor the presence of a CRM system to be necessary factors of competitiveness. Further, there are different «weight categories» among Russian manufacturing SMEs. SME owners, who work only in local markets, are immune to competition from large foreign companies and consider Russian firms similar to their own as main competitors. Those who work on the whole Russian market feel a high competitive pressure from foreign manufacturers.