“I think everyone’s been talking about digitalization long enough by now,” Alkio begins. “It’s high time for us to redirect our focus on what we are actually achieving.”
According to Alkio, we live in exceptionally interesting times. Digitalization is developing faster than ever, and the pace of change is only going to accelerate.
“Especially in the Nordic countries, practically all decision-makers both in the public and the private sector want to accelerate change,” he points out. “We can feel a sort of sense of urgency that only a year ago was not yet present. The desire for change is spreading like wildfire, and that is a good thing.”
The factors speeding up digitalization are simple. Consumers’ expectations are constantly changing. At the same time, new technologies are arising, bringing along opportunities and the desire to develop new ways of doing business.
According to Alkio, however, the most crucial factor in utilizing digitalization and taking full advantage of the opportunities it offers is businesses themselves.
“The question is, are we able and willing to possibly risk yesterday’s business in order to focus on building a better tomorrow with new and improved business models?”
Digital Evolution: The Force Uniting Industries
Alkio uses the word duality to describe a world where businesses are simultaneously in control of both yesterday and tomorrow.
“If there has ever been a perfect time for focusing on both to full extent,” he says, “that time is now. However, a lot of work needs to be done in order to build new services and better, growing business models of tomorrow.”
It all starts from the consumer, and today’s consumer has high demands for their services. Perhaps because of their strong networks formed in social media, consumers today embrace new concepts and products at a speed faster than ever before.
Alkio illustrates this by pointing out that it took the telephone 110 years to reach one billion users. The Internet needed fifteen years to do the same, while the smart phone reached a billion users in eight years. For instant messaging apps, this took a mere two years.
“Such speed brings businesses opportunities to reinvent their business faster,” says Alkio. “This means that new stars are born more often than ever before. But it also means that yesterday’s stars are in constant peril of dying out if they cannot keep up with the competition.”
Alkio lists three important factors that have come together in the past few years to speed up digital evolution. Firstly, technology has become increasingly cost-efficient. Secondly, new innovations such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, and biometrics mean that there is now more of everything for everybody, more efficiently. The final factor making rapid change possible is openness.
“Open standards, open architecture, open interfaces and open data enable innovating that is faster and that is done together, blurring the boundaries between different lines of business.”
In relations to this, Tieto has founded two start-ups within the company. Start-ups represent a business culture where traditional operational models are thrown into the bin and a “fail fast” attitude towards innovating is embraced.
One of the Tieto start-ups is specialized in Industrial Internet (or the Internet of Things), while the other one focuses on digital user experience. Alkio believes businesses adopting a bit of start-up mentality can reap great benefits.
“Companies and communities should definitely place more emphasis on innovating that is flexible and that breaks boundaries,” he believes. “New ideas can be born in the most unexpected places.”
Text and image by Industrial PRIME
Want to find out more?
Earlier this year we interviewed Mr Taneli Tikka, Head of Tieto’s Industrial Internet business unit. Follow this link to read the full interview.
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