Our everyday lives are becoming increasingly digital. Everything from the work place and the way we communicate to the way our cars, public transport and housing works. For companies, digitisation and data-driven business models are already key competitive factors. Everything from production and logistics to marketing and sales are increasingly automated and digitally connected. What does a Digital Single Market and an increasingly digital economy hold in store for both citizens and companies?
Yesterday we attended a conference about this subject and we had prominent people speaking about their perspective and view upon the digitisation of EU. Mr Karsten Dybvad, Director General and CEO, Confederation of Danish Industry (DI). Ms Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission and Mr Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, President for Strategic Relationships in Europe, Google to name a few.
What’s in it for us?
Education – the labor market has a demand for more digital skills
Currently the challenge is that we have many C-level managers, that are not born into the digital age and this puts a hold on how companies transform and exploit digital opportunties. There is a consensus that education is key to drive the digitisation of EU. An analysis of SME’s shows that only 4 out of 10 companies exploit digital technologies such as Cloud services, Big data etc. Most often the reason is that the companies don’t have the skills and knowledge to understand how to exploit such technologies. We need to transform our education systems to accommodate the demands of digital skilled employees.
Automatisation – robots are changing the labor market
We are seeing an increased demand for automatisation within B2B markets and this requires companies to focus on mobility, accountability and flexibility. This can be accompanied through automatisation using more robot technology, which has grown exponential the past 5 years.
Digital partnerships – collaboration and transparency is key
Are very interesting debate during the conference was how EU can have a competitive advantage to the US and here Sillicon Valley was mentioned numerous times. Some argued that we need to build the next Sillicon Valley in EU. Others argued that because we in EU collaborate differently and exploit partnerships, we need to build a Sillicon Valley that are somewhat different then how they work in the US. EU holds many small areas in Barcelona, Luxembourg, Copenhagen etc. that drive innovative communities, yet we have to many experts that overlap, because of a lack of transparency and collaboration, which they see as key to drive the digitisation of EU.
Business 4.0 – we need to transform business model
In order to survive this ever changing digital landscape, companies increasingly must focus on the business model and how they create and capture value. They must exploit data on multiple levels. Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the next five years. Businesses must be able to optimise and manage all of their processes, by providing the appropriate context and actions to improve how it operates and produce better business outcomes based on data.
We need to acknowledge the disruptive nature of digitisation as the “new normal” and learn to exploit its opportunities and challenges. However what stood out as the biggest surprise of the conference was when one of the key speakers asked two questions:
1. How many of you have a higher education?
95 % of all the people in the room raised their hands!
2. How many of you believe you have appropriate digital skills and capabilities?
ONLY 5 % raised their hands
This was an interesting observation, as 99 % of the people in the room was representing their particular company as “Head of digital development”, “Digital Managing Officer” “Strategic digital manager”. We are in the cups of a dramatically different world, brought on by disruptive technologies and even though digitisation is on the main agenda within EU and companies, one can argue that we have not fully grasped the complexity of its opportunities and challenges as we dont have the proper digital skills, YET!
Camilla Gad Krogsgaard
* The conference was a joint event held by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), the European Commission, the Luxembourg Presidency, the Danish Business Authority and Think Tank Europe.