- News article -

New competencies needed as digitalisation advances in Finnish industry

25 Oct 2017

Companies are now investing in digitalisation due to the competitive advantage and customer value it brings and not due to cost savings. Finnish CTOs believe that the key challenge in digitalisation is to develop related knowledge and skills. The latest CTO Survey conducted by Spinverse, Tekes and Technology Industries of Finland focused on how digitalisation transforms Finnish companies.

Most (67%) of the Finnish technology leaders who participated in the survey believe that digitalisation requires novel know-how from current and future employees. Three out of five agree that the development of knowledge and skills is the key enabler of digitalisation in companies. Still, less than a fifth of companies have invested in related training for their employees.

“The unprecedented pace of change, advances in technology and new revenue models set new standards for the needed competencies. The contribution from companies and education on all levels are necessary to fill the skills gap. We have to try harder to remain at the cutting edge”, says Risto Siilasmaa, chairman of Technology Industries of Finland.

Aiming for added value for customers – new actors and business models, a threat and an opportunity

Most companies have already included digitalisation in their strategy. It is noteworthy that instead of cost savings, the majority of respondents (70%) prioritise adding value for customers and the development of new business models. The results of the survey show that especially a diverse product portfolio and new services create competitive advantage.

Three out of four companies consider new competitors and new business models as the main threats for their current business. Most respondents believe that there is currently no leading platform in their industry, but a third estimates that such a platform will be established in 2-3 years time.

“Companies need to change, as success and competitiveness will not be based on business-as-usual. Companies need to constantly ask themselves which business they are in. Change emerges from the willingness to understand the future and the ability to try and learn”, notes Jyrki Ovaska, CTO of UPM.

“The industrial digitalisation platforms are still developing. The solutions are industry-driven and we won’t necessarily even see dominant Google-like players emerge at all. There are plenty of opportunities still for Finnish companies – even to become a global leader,” comments Pekka Koponen, CEO, Spinverse.

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CTOs are growing their  R&D budgets

It is apparent from this year’s survey that a growing amount of companies are investing in R&D activities in 2017 more than in the previous five years. 49% of the respondents say that their R&D budgets will grow during 2017, while only 11% say that there will be budget cuts. The positive trend seems to grow stronger in 2018.

The CTO Survey was responded by 96 Finnish CTOs, widely representing the Finnish industry. 54% of the respondents were from SMEs and the rest form large companies. The survey covered a broad range of sectors, the largest of which was ICT and electronics (39% of respondents).

The results were published 25.10.2017 in the CTO Forum organized by Spinverse, Tekes and Technology Industries of Finland.  The CTO Forum is a community for CTOs and technology leaders to learn from their peers and benchmark against the best practices in the field. It provides a platform for networking across different industries and for companies of all sizes, raises the awareness of Finnish technology leadership and promotes visibility of CTOs and their companies.

A summary of the survey results here.

Read Tekniikka & talous news on the topic (in Finnish).

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