Peter Wostner, who is in charge of smart specialisation at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, said the question was not whether Slovenia would transition to industry 4.0 but when. But he prefers the term automation.
He said that countries which focused on digitalisation and automation, saw an increase in productivity and employment.
"I'm not saying that all countries and regions will win in this battle, but I am saying that Slovenia has a strong position in this field - both geographically and in terms of know-how.
"The latter is crucial; Slovenia boasts very good institutes and universities and excellent companies," Wostner said at the event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).
A company that has embraced digitalisation quickly and strategically is energy company Petrol, several participants pointed out.
The head of innovative business models and digitalisation at Petrol, Miha Valentinčič, said that digitalisation was very important in the company's retail segment, where digital applications were used to make purchase easier.
He said the company was offering additional training to its staff but was also faced with staff deficiency.
Staffing issues were also presented by partner and co-founder of the company D.Labs, Tilen Travnik, who pointed to the differences between the older generations and the so-called millennials.
The latter crave for an encouraging and stimulative working environment, he said. "Millennials want a job that gives them a purpose in life. More than high pay they want a job that is satisfying."
According to Travnik, the jobs of the future are those that cannot be automated. But there are jobs whose automation does not make sense financially and those that cannot be automated, he pointed out.
Data show that Slovenian companies are increasingly going digital. More than a quarter of companies (26%) with at least ten employees have a high or very high index of digitalisation. Two years ago, there was only 18% such companies, the Statistics Office said on Monday.
Digitalisation at companies involves digital operations, automation of business and connection between systems and devices.
In 46% of the companies, more than half of employees have access to internet on their computers, almost four-fifths of the companies have employees use a portable device with internet access such as laptop, tablet or a smart phone.
Some 20% of the companies employ IT staff, 84% have their own web site and 34% have a link to social networks on their website.
About 17% of the companies use medium or advanced cloud services, 62% send electronic bills and 22% pay for on-line advertising.