Digital solutions are bringing customers closer

Friday 1 December 2017

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Digitalisation is impacting all industries and companies. The ones that can keep up are getting more efficient and closer to their customers and suppliers.

A seminar arranged by IVA’s Business Executives Council provided specific examples of the way in which the digitalisation wave is rapidly changing companies. This is true for companies manufacturing advanced production equipment to produce electronics and displays, like Mycronic, as well as those in the digital games industry, such as Paradox Interactive. Big banks like Swedbank, or traditional construction companies like NCC are also in the digitalisation race.

But focusing on efficiency improvement and process development is nothing new for companies that want to be at the forefront. For Lena Olving, President and CEO of Mycronic, digitisation is basically an in-word.

“This industry has always focused on development and efficiency improvement. What’s new are the sensors, which are both effective and inexpensive, and 4G, which is enabling the huge amounts of data that computers can handle these days to be communicated quickly,” she said.

This is creating opportunities. For Mycronic, which is present in around 50 countries, this means digitalisation of the entire flow – from market demand to the aftermarket. The data gathered when customers use Mycronic’s devices makes it possible to improve and enhance them for the benefit of both customers and suppliers.

“But companies need to open up their systems so that new solutions can be created. We also need to convince people of the benefits,” she said.

For Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive, which develops and sells computer games to end-consumers globally, digitisation is a linchpin in the company’s business model.

“At the beginning we put games on discs which were then distributed. This model prevented us from making big profits. But in 2006 we launched our downloading portal which enables us to receive payment immediately,” he said.

Downloading technology also allows Paradox to constantly monitor what, how and when the users are playing the games.

“Our customers also help us to develop our games. They’re co-creators. But this also presents a challenge. How can we put the power of 2.5 million players to use?”

Fredrik Wester is convinced that in just a couple of years the games industry will be selling more than the film and music industries combined.

But he doesn’t think that the games should be too artificially intelligent.

“We need to make sure that players don’t lose too often,” he said.

It is basically a myth that big banks are old fashioned and lack the capacity for innovation. This is according to Brigitte Bonnesen, President and CEO of Swedbank. They are actually working together to develop new services. Swish, bank giro, bankID and the classic ATMs are concrete examples of this.

“In the past the other big banks were our competitors. Now we can be partners in some areas. Banking services are also being developed in cooperation with fintech companies,” she said.

Many companies not in the banking sector are now offering services which, not so long ago, only the four big banks were providing. Izettle, Apple Pay, Klarna and Lendo are just a few of the 80 or so new ventures that Swedbank has to contend with.

“These days there are a great many players in the payment and loan service market. But what happens if a customer of a small bank is in a fix?”

Banks and games companies hold a big lead in the digitalisation race, while most construction companies seem to be just waking up.

“Productivity in the industry is not at the top. The industry is inefficient and accounts for large amounts of material waste. There’s not a lot of automation and robots aren’t doing the construction work,” says Anders Torell, Head of Business Transformation & Digitalisation at NCC.

But he pointed out that all construction companies are working on improving their processes. As is NCC, which has quickly developed a platform called Loop Rocks to manage the recycing and re-use of fill materials, soil and gravel.

“Private individuals and businesses can register in an app if they have or need fill materials. They can get in touch with each other and choose the option that is located closest to them.

The transport costs are shared, and rocks and gravel do not end up in a landfill.

“Everyone wins – and so do the environment and the climate. If we are fully successful we’ll challenge the industry,” said Anders Torell.

The company Loop Rocks, which was launched in 2016, established a presence in both Denmark and Finland in 2017. 

 

Author: Pär Rönnberg