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Finland number 1 in digitalization

Finland rose to the top position in the Digibarometer 2016, an annual study comparing the stage of digitalization in 22 countries.
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Finland rose to the top position in the Digibarometer 2016, an annual study comparing the stage of digitalization in 22 countries. Directly following Finland were other Nordic countries Norway, Denmark and Sweden. After a late awakening the development pace in Finland has been quick. On the other hand digital disruption is shaking Finland particularly harshly.

Finland rose from the second to the first place in this third Digibarometer. In 2014 it appeared that many new digital phenomena had cought Finland by surprise.  After the slow start the development in Finland has been quick.

In the Digibarometer countries are evaluated based on 36 variables.  The evaluation is based on societal benefits derived from digitalization - it does not take into account factors like the level of education or the role of the country in the creation of ICT solutions. The analysis is done on three levels (prerequisites, utilization and impact) and three main sectors (companies, citizens and public sector).

Finland has the best prerequisites to tackle the digital disruption

Based on the 2016 Digibarometer Finland has the best prerequisites to benefit from digitalization.  In the utilization of digitalization however Finland reaches place five and in impact place three. Compared to last year there has been big improvement in the public sector utilization of digital solutions.

- Despite the top position, digitalization is still a big, unused opportunity for Finland. Not all the possible benefits have been exploited. According to the World Bank, the forthcoming digital disruption will be exceptionally harsh on Finland. Luckily according to the barometer, Finland has the best prerequisites to tackle it, says CEO Petri Rouvinen from ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish economy.

Opportunities in online retail and industrial platforms

The research shows that Finns have made it far in digital financial services while the Swedes are way ahead in retail.  

Analysis on the advertisement clicks in Google search showed that foreign online retailers were actively luring in Finnish customers, but the Finns themselves were rather passive on international online retail.

- Global markets are more easily reachable using digital channels. Competition in the home market is becoming tougher, but on the other hand the analysis shows that Finnish companies have lots of unused opportunities in the global market, says Jaakko Pihlaja, analyst at Google.

Middle-sized industrial companies in Finland are not using digital platforms as part of their product and service offering. This is extremely worrying, as the first comer with a widely used platform tends to be invincible.

- Companies need to quickly understand what digitalization means to them. One of the biggest shortcomings is that a company does not have the resources nor the understanding of how digitalization affects the whole competitive environment, says Timo Seppälä, researcher at Aalto University and ETLA.

Digibarometer 2016 is available in Finnish

ETLA is part of the Digital Disruption of Industry – research consortium stydying the implications of digitalization to the Finnish industry and society. http://ddi.aalto.fi

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