December 16, 2016

Digitalization creates opportunities and social equality

Kimmo Alkio

President & CEO , Tieto

Historically, every revolution has advanced human civilization. Innovation, new technologies and new value creation potential have increased the quality of life, increased life expectancy and advanced societal wellbeing. The current transformation triggered by digitalization feels – quite rightfully so – almost revolutionary. This does not, however, necessarily mean a huge difference from earlier periods of transformation that businesses and the society likewise have had to come to terms with.

Like many earlier social revolutions, digitalization, too, encourages social progress. As digitalization goes on, businesses and society in general will be able to create innovations at a faster speed than before and solve problems previously seen as unsolvable. Businesses find new ways of creating growth and welfare. At its best, digitalization helps to create socially equal services to everybody, not focusing on new and innovative forms of business only. In the next few years, we can expect organizations coming up with new services that will create social value: real time doctor’s consultations for social care services, automated VAT payments for the SME sector and personalized online consumer services. 

At the core of this shift is data. Digital revolution is characterized by unlimited growth potential utilizing data. Topics like robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality come up in more as they are most common technologies underlying new innovations. Algorithms and machine learning help structuring and maximising the use of data, thereby improving predictability and customer insight.

With the volume of data growing exponentially, what now matters is how to use that data to innovate new growth. As the digital revolution progresses, willingness to share data, open ecosystems, open API economy and development of new consumer services will become increasingly important for all businesses. Innovative solutions that break industry boundaries are created all the time. In order to keep pace with the speed of innovation, we should adopt fast and agile ways of working used by start-ups and co-create more together. The now widespread hackathons are a brilliant example of how businesses generate new ideas by working together with different industries.

Digitalization also creates new disruptions. New technologies and business models spread globally faster than ever before. The winners of the digital revolution are those who know to look ahead and can benefit from innovations in a value-enhancing way.

Reasonable investments from private and public sectors alike are required to speed up the change. Time is money – the old truth is still relevant in the digital age. Organisations must boldly face the challenges and possibilities of digitalization, learning to co-innovate along the new start-up spirit.

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