Digitalisation can make Sweden more competitive

Increased digitalisation can give a boost to both companies and organisations. But we need a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges. IVA’s new project Digitalisation for Increased Competitiveness, which was launched in Almedalen, intends to fix that.

The project will focus on several aspects of digitisation. Proposals for strategies, policies and concrete measures will be developed. The project has three focus areas: infrastructure, talent supply and integrity. 

“Digitalisation offers great opportunities to both Ericsson and Astra Zeneca,” said Leif Johansson who serves as Chairman for both companies, when the project was launched. 

One of the consequences of digitisation will be that whole organisations will have access to more information. This will allow management to spend more time on overall strategies. 

“All change puts great pressure on management,” he said. 

But digitalisation also brings challenges. Patrik Fältström of Netnod pointed out a few of them. 

The quality and robustness of the internet are, for example, not adequate. 

“And in Sweden we have not had a discussion about which systems we should prioritise if something stops working,” he said. 

But they have done that in Estonia. There they have determined that the top priority is making sure that ATMs and telephony are functioning first. 

Digitalisation will impact the job market as well. But Samuel Engblom of TCO doesn’t think that whole job categories will disappear. Digitalisation will be hard to achieve in many areas. According to Engblom this will result in a change in the content of many occupations. 

Digitalisation will in any event require more skills and universities will have an important role here.

Tuula Teeri, currently President of Aalto University and as of November President of IVA, pointed out that the challenge facing universities is keeping up with the fast pace of development in digitalisation and turning research into education and useful discoveries for industry. 

Digitalisation also has an ethical aspect. Big data can be broken down at the individual level. Depending on how that possibility is used, the consequences could be either positive or negative for individuals. According to Anette Novak of Rise Interactive this could impact how HR departments work. 

“Data from a person’s telephone can indicate that someone is getting burned out. This is a good thing because it means we can tackle the problem. But at the same time, it can feel like extreme supervision,” she said. 

Her point is that technology itself is neither good nor evil. It depends on how it is used.