Digitization is Female

Published in Bizlife magazine 27.03.2020 • 10 min read

Empowerment of women is a common theme and a challenge for most domestic companies. However, at NIS, the attitude is quite the opposite. At this company, gender equality is seen as a great asset and advantage. This is evidenced by the fact that digitization, as a process that is of particular importance for the energy sector, both as a challenge and as an opportunity for development, is in the hands of the “prettier” sex. NIS employs 12 dedicated women in positions related to digitization, whose main task is to implement digital projects at NIS petrol stations in order to improve customer service and implement solutions tailored to the specific needs of customers.

Although the oil business is traditionally seen as a “man’s” business environment, NIS’s digital team is proof that this perception is often not in concert with the real picture.  For, it is, in fact, two women named Marija, two women named Sanja, Snežana, Hana, Violeta, Kristina, Jelena, Dejana, Milena and Aleksandra, who are creating the “future” of the customer service through their daily efforts, and contributing to the improvement of the customer experience of consumers through the process of digital transformation, currently underway in the company. Thanks to their involvement and dedicated work, today the portfolio of digital projects in the retail segment of NIS consists of 19 projects, some of which are in their final stages of implementation and will soon be available to consumers across Serbia.

NIS’ “female” digital (dream) team actually consists of female employees from two organizational teams – the Centre for Digital Transformation and Customer Service Improvement and the IT Sector of NIS’ Sales and Distribution Block, also headed by two ladies – Marija Halar and Snežana Đurović. In addition to gender-neutral competencies, such as expertise, knowledge, skills, enthusiasm and dedication, the women that represent NIS’ digital team are also distinguished by qualities traditionally associated with the women’s world:

“I believe that, in every endeavour, whether it be a life or business challenge, there is a so-called “Woman’s touch”.  Over the last couple of years, our digital team has done a great deal to improve the customer experience of consumers and implement new digital tools in line with the best global trends. While working on projects, features that are traditionally associated with the female world and which also help us in our daily work, such as systematicity, intuition, emotional intelligence, determination, and self-confidence, often come to the fore. Of course, I do not intend to diminish the performance of out male colleagues who are an integral part of the team.  Without their help, support and expert advice, we would not have been able to achieve our goals”, said Maria Halar, Head of the Digital Transformation and Customer Experience Improvement Centre at NIS.

Mary points out that she, as well as her entire team, is fortunate to work at a company that has recognized the importance of implementing the principle of equal opportunities and equality for all employees, and adds:

“As a leader in the domestic energy market, NIS is focused on implementing new technologies and using an innovative approach in all business segments. The constant aspiration to improve the processes in the company in order to enhance the customer service, and consequently contribute to the larger satisfaction of the consumers, encourages me to strive towards personal development and provides me with daily opportunities for professional development and improvement of competencies and knowledge”, said Halar.

In the framework of the digital transformation of the company, the IT Sector of NIS’ Sales and Development Block is in charge of concept development, creation of software solutions, as well as their practical implementation with an aim of improving the customer experience of consumers:

“Rapid technological changes require companies to constantly adapt and find new ways of maintaining a competitive edge. I believe that, in modern business, it is necessary to perceive each change as a driver, and each challenge as a new opportunity for development. For my team, designing and implementing applications that will change consumer habits and offer the user a simple and fast solution, as well as a secure and stable service, are a big challenge.  The goal we wish to achieve by enhancing our digital customer communication platform is not only an enhanced but the best possible customer experience for the consumers to whom we wish to offer the highest level of service at our petrol stations. Behind the achieved results are the hard work, effort and dedication of the entire team and our biggest reward and motivation is customer satisfaction with the quality of services provided”, said Snežana Đurović, Head of the IT Sector of NIS’ Sales and Distribution Block, who emphasized that she draws the energy that drives her and the strength for future victories from the support provided to her daily by her family and friends.

As much as there is a need to continuously be on the look-out for innovations, new technologies and digital tools in modern-day business, it is people and values that stand behind each successful process. The added strength of NIS’ digital transformation team lies precisely in strong and determined women who are, with their knowledge and skills, building the future, bringing new customer experiences and services tailored to the needs and expectations of every consumer.

Ilustracija: Bratislav Milenković

Illustration: Bratislav Milenković

Projects for the Future

The digital transformation process of NIS’ retail segment started several years ago when all customers had an opportunity to apply for an “On the Road With Us” loyalty card at NIS petrol stations. Today, users of the programme have access to the mobile app “On the Road With Us”, which was further enhanced at the end of last year, so consumers can now use an interactive map of petrol stations as well as manage personal information within their profiles. The company is currently also working on a pilot project that will provide an offer tailored to the needs of each individual consumer, based on advanced algorithms and new communication tools, thanks to improved customer service communication. In the coming period, drivers in Serbia will also be provided with a long-awaited application, which will ensure quick and efficient payment of fuel bills at the fuel dispensers. In addition, NIS is also a pioneer in introducing the option of picking up online purchases at the company’s retail outlets – package lockers, i.e. storage devices, have already been set up at 30 NIS petrol stations in Belgrade, in which couriers leave packages that customers are then able to pick up within two days from the date of receipt.