The Business Year

Elchin R. Aliyev

AZERBAIJAN - Telecoms & IT

Innovators at Work

President, SINAM

Bio

Elchin R. Aliyev graduated in March 1995 with a Doctorate in Engineering Science. From 1994 to 2004, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sinam-Invest. From 2003 to 2005, he held the position of Adviser of the Minister of Communications and Information Technologies on topics discussed in the World Summit Information Society (WSIS). From 2008 to 2010, he was Member of the Board of Directors at Azertelecom. He has been President of SINAM since 2004. He has also been Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Research Education Network Association (AzRENA) since 2000 and Head of Information and Computation Networks Department of the Institute of Cybernetics of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences since 1998.

What is the history of SINAM in Azerbaijan and your personal role in the company? From the very start, we focused on innovative approaches to ICT implementation, and this has […]

What is the history of SINAM in Azerbaijan and your personal role in the company?

From the very start, we focused on innovative approaches to ICT implementation, and this has set us apart from our competitors. Almost 18 years later, SINAM remains one of the largest providers of integrated ICT solutions in the South Caucasus and Central Asia region. The company has affiliates in the UAE, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia. We are active in the Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Our value proposition spans the entire value chain, from hardware implementation and software design to consulting services.

Could you list some of the projects that SINAM has been part of?

Over the years, SINAM has succeeded in the implementation of many large projects, especially in the area of e-government in Azerbaijan. In terms of the absolute number of individuals who have been using technologies introduced by SINAM within the government sector of this country, it is equivalent to more than 7.5 million users. Our solutions are used by the entire population of the country, and this makes us very proud. Also, our solutions directly or indirectly affect some 60% of companies conducting business in Azerbaijan. SINAM has implemented several dozens of projects in various government institutions, including the State Border Patrol Service, the State Social Protection Fund, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Education, to name a few. The most important projects include the introduction of banking service solutions for the national postal service, AzerPost. This solution was a pioneer project within the CIS. SINAM was a member of a consortium of global market leaders implementing this project. The excellence of the solution attracted the attention of other governments, and currently the consortium is about to implement similar solutions for the postal services of Ukraine and Moldova. SINAM is always on the lookout for the latest trends in IT in order to implement them in its solutions. Part of our business strategy includes the development of cloud-based services. The global trends in computer technology in the next few years will be in cloud-based solutions, and SINAM has made the transition to this strategy several years ago. I believe that in 2013-2014, most of the IT providers and services around the world will make a transition to cloud-based solutions. SINAM is also actively involved in penetrating international markets with its e-government solutions. We are actively working in Kyrgyzstan on projects for taxation services and land survey agencies in the country. We are most interested in countries that are actively implementing e-government solutions.

How does SINAM manage to source IT specialists in Azerbaijan?

Our company is in constant collaboration with universities and colleges that train IT specialists in the country. Students are invited for internships at our company, and the most successful students receive contracts to work in our company and grow professionally. We have close ties with Baku State University, the State Technical University, and Qafqaz University, which are the main sources of IT specialists for SINAM. Graduates from these types of schools should be creative, innovative, and capable of solving multiple problems.

How would you assess the importance of e-government solutions for Azerbaijan?

The efficiency of any government is based on the quality of services it provides for its citizens. The only way to provide these quality government services is through e-government. The development of e-government technology and ICT is given special attention in Azerbaijan because the government’s strategy is based on building effective and transparent relationships between the state and its citizens. The projects implemented by SINAM in Azerbaijan help enable this strategy, and we are proud that we are part of this process. At the same time, I argue that Azerbaijan needs to increase funding to build its electronic government. This will help to improve the quality of services, build the required foundations, and catch up with global e-government leaders. For example, Singapore has developed a program to introduce an electronic government scheme during 2010-2015 at a total cost of $2 billion. In Azerbaijan, the total budget for the same types of services is only $200 million. This is not sufficient if our country wants to become more efficient. I am sure that in the next few years, Azerbaijan will be spending more on the development and the introduction of e-government technology.

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