Be a Digital Superstar

Tips from Vlad, Head of Digital Technology at Kyivstar

Have you heard that people have been asking chatbots on dates? That’s quite funny.

At Kyivstar, there is a chatbot named Zoriana helping the team. While it’s not the goal for Kyivstar to have people ask Zoriana on a date, it’s happened. To Vlad, who runs the digital technology department, this is proof that Zoriana is holding real conversations — that the technology is working for the company.

Recently, we sat down with Vlad to talk about Zoriana, what’s going on at Kyivstar, and other things. During the talk, we gathered six insights from Vlad on how to become a digital superstar. Here’s the advice he has:

1. Shake hands with a robot

What’s wild is that scientists are doing studies to actually analyze the effect of a handshake between a human and robot. Some hypothesize that it could build trust and cooperation — just like a human with human handshake does.

The point here is that you must engage with new technology that can make life easier for your customers. You can’t be reluctant. Just approach it with an open mind.

For Vlad’s digital technology team, Zoriana is a great example of how embracing technology can lead to incredible things. The chatbot functions using natural language processing technology, which helps it understand and interact with humans.

To date, Zoriana has thousands of dialogue trees (and counting), and is equipped to navigate naturally through a conversation to address a customer’s needs. Vlad and the social media team are constantly expanding Zoriana’s dialogue library and teaching the bot how to customize conversations. Because the more in touch the chatbot is with customer emotions, the quicker issues can be solved.

“Zoriana offers so much more than Q&A,” exclaims Vlad. “To improve the bot, we’re constantly analyzing interactions Zoriana is having with customers on our website, social media, and other outlets. We’re also using those interactions to gain insights into what customers want!”

Fear not! Chatbots and other artificial intelligence aren’t here to take over the world. They’re here to help. Greet them with a handshake.

2. Get your hands dirty

While observing from the sidelines can give you good insights and perspective, sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty. It’s the only way to see everything clearly and understand what it takes to solve the toughest challenges.

When you ask Vlad about what led him to Kyivstar, he echoes similar ideas. After university, Vlad worked as a consultant at a business incubator before moving to a digital advertising agency as a project manager.

“As a consultant, the chance to advise startups enabled me to grow a lot. But I wanted to work more directly on projects, so I moved to the agency,” recalls Vlad.

At the agency, Vlad helped clients achieve goals and learned a lot about what it takes for a project to succeed. Eventually, he joined Kyivstar because he wanted to do more with his own hands.

“At Kyivstar, everything comes out of my vision. It’s so exciting to create a strategy and drive its evolution,” exclaims Vlad.

As you can see, being a digital superstar isn’t about staying nice and clean. It’s about diving into the heart of the action and learning from your experiences.

Meet Vlad.

3. You can’t move mountains without help

Well, unless you’re literally a giant, you can’t move mountains without help. You need the right tools and the right team. Then, you can literally move mountains (or perhaps figuratively if you’re not in the mountain moving business).

What’s the connection here? It’s that great things can happen when you partner with the right people. As head of digital technology, Vlad believes this is very important.

“When I began working here, our digital department was just starting,” explains Vlad. “We’ve focused heavily on building the right team structure and getting the right talent.”

The digital technology team has front-end developers, project managers who as well as UX designers, and content managers.

“To turn Kyivstar into a truly digital company, we must have a variety of great talents,” attests Vlad. “I also want people who are familiar with customer needs, because being digital is all about making lives easier for the customer. That’s why we’ve transitioned a lot of call center people to the digital department.”

To be a digital superstar, you need the proper team. You also must remember the customer — and bring on those that understand customer needs. That’s why you’ll find lots of call center folks taking on a more technical role in the digital department at Kyivstar.

4. Don’t just build sandcastles

Check out some of the world’s most amazing sandcastles. You’ll be inspired to head to the beach and make one yourself.

If you want to be a digital superstar, you have to do more, though. Vlad recommends making tackling real problems the priority.

“For instance, we’re doing a lot with big data. But we’re not just building sandcastles,” exclaims Vlad. “We’re doing tangible projects and seeing where we can bring value to customers.”

From figuring out the best location for physical stores to tailoring offers for customers to building credit score models, Data scientists are using data in all sorts of ways. It will be exciting to see how it all evolves.

This practical approach to digitization is why you’ll find Kyivstar participating in events like Digithon, which helps startups turn an idea into a real product. As Vlad notes, Digithon promotes operating in an agile way by showing startups how to focus on solution-oriented ideas, test rapidly, and utilize real data to validate ideas and products.

“Basically every industry is represented,” says Vlad. “Digithon inspires ideas as well as teaches how to get a product to market successfully and efficiently.”

Now, that’s some solid advice for the digital age. Sure, build sandcastles and see the beauty you can create. But the main focus should be on practical solutions.

5. Find your Bitcoin!

You’ve probably heard about Bitcoin’s rapid rise in value. Maybe you’ve even read articles that tell you that, if you had bought $1,000 USD of Bitcoin in 2010, your net worth would be like $35 million today.

“I wish I could tell my younger self to invest in Bitcoin!” jokes Vlad. “But I think a bigger lesson here is to see trends that will stick and invest your time and resources appropriately.”

It would be nice to go back in time, but that’s not possible (yet). What we can do is get ready for the future.

“At Kyivstar, we’re doing a lot to prepare for the future. For instance, we’ve revolutionized our office design,” notes Vlad. “It’s truly a modern workspace. The design is open, and there’s a great balance between collaborative spaces, quiet areas, and leisure spots.”

With a design that inspires creativity, teamwork, and discipline, Vlad and the team are giving themselves the right environment to make magic happen. That’s how an opportunity like Bitcoin in 2010 can be seen and realized.

6. Listen to the music

Being a digital superstar is tough work. You need a work-life balance to keep you fresh.

“When I’m not working, I’m listening to music. You may find me at music festivals throughout Europe, like Pukkelpop in Belgium,” tells Vlad. “I also love to go out and sing karaoke.”

So, go out and dance to the tunes. Or sing your own song. Just soak up the pleasures of life — because that’s what will rejuvenate you.

Greet success in the digital age

Take Vlad’s insights to heart, and you’ll be equipped to become a digital superstar. Then, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy life — and chat with Zoriana. Doesn’t that sound awesome?