DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Ecuador 2019 | ENERGY & MINING | INTERVIEW

The ministry's information and knowledge society plan focuses on encouraging digital transformation in companies, reinforcing IT industries, and strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Guillermo León
BIOGRAPHY
Guillermo León was appointed Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society in 2017 after a long career in the private sector in various managerial positions, in companies such as IBM Corporation, Uniplex, Maxus Ecuador, Unidatos, and Seratvoip. León graduated in electronics and telecommunications from the National Polytechnic University.

How are you digitalizing government interactions with citizens, and what is your agenda for the implementation of e-government services?

The ministry has two tasks: to make known to the public all the services available in each of the government institutions and the optimization of procedures from which we show citizens the catalog of public services. We are working with institutions to automate and optimize their processes and applications. In May, an executive decree was issued aimed at improving and optimizing processes such as the constitution of a company or other public procedures. A series of steps are necessary, and the decree obliges us to observe all processes to implement a methodology and establish the priority ones. There are around 4,000 processes, and a technical standard was created for institutions to register their processes in the database created by the Ministry of Telecommunications. From this platform, institutions can eliminate procedures that are not worthwhile, and we can see how to fully or partially automate those processes.

What is the anticipated impact of the new legislation for the IT industry?

Ecuador issued a new law on productive development, attracting investments, employment generation, and fiscal stability, which establishes benefits for new investments such as the exemption of income tax. The law defines new prioritized sectors like the development and production of software services and technological hardware, digital infrastructure, information security, and online services, which will promote new investments in the IT industry made by entrepreneurs in new or existent companies. This will positively impact the develop of the IT industry, since it will promote local offer of goods and IT services, encourage the strengthening of their human resources competences, incorporate innovation in their processes, and promote access to global markets with our support. These measures will create more sources of employment through digital transformation in companies and industries by the use and appropriation of ICT.

How do you envision building a sustainable digital economy in Ecuador?

Months ago, we presented an information and knowledge society white paper, which has five goals that our ministry seeks to accomplish by 2021 through the execution of several plans to implement the public policy in telecommunications and information society. The fifth goal about digital economy and emerging technologies includes all the necessary aspects to incorporate our country to the digital economy. ICT is important and must be incorporated into institutions and companies to automate them. For this purpose, our ministry has been working on an information and knowledge society plan, which has a dedicated program related to the digital economy with projects to encourage digital transformation in companies, reinforce IT industries, and strengthen innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems.

What are the primary ambitions of the ministry for the coming year?

Our vision is to become the reference in public management to lead all processes for citizens to access and generate information and knowledge, through the effective use of information and communication technologies. As for infrastructure and connectivity, we will promote its deployment, which will allow the coverage of telecommunications services to be extended in areas still unattended and stimulate migration to new generation and high-speed networks,through the universal access plan. Regarding e-government, we will bring the government closer to citizens by the use of ICT, with emphasis on priority attention groups, so they can have access to online services. With respect to the information and knowledge society plan, we will encourage the incorporation of ICT in companies in all their processes and structures to achieve the digital transformation. We will also incentive a culture of data protection in our citizens as well as constitute our country in a regional reference in information security. Finally, we will promote the development of digital skills in our citizens, as part of the strengthening of digital inclusion. Building an information and knowledge society is a complex challenge, and we will achieve it with the joint work of industry, academia, and civil society.