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Self-organizing expert tribes in the world of artificial intelligence

Digitalisation and globalisation are revolutionising management and the way we work.
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Erkka Niemi, who will defend his doctoral dissertation in the field of Information Systems Science at the Aalto University School of Business on 2 February, examined the impact of technology on strategic management. The greatest challenges faced by enterprise management are business models that are changing as a result of digitalisation and the new management methods and organisational models required by the change in the way we work.

'Experts want their work to be meaningful and to include opportunities for continuous self-development. This is essential as robotics and artificial intelligence continue to dominate new work tasks that were previously performed by people,' Erkka Niemi says.

Personnel and information management to be the most important skills for modern organisations

The success of data intensive organisations is dependent on highly educated employees, who supply services of high added-value to clients. Enterprise management must be able to lead and develop their personnel's immaterial capital. On one hand, this will require the ability to attract employees and get them to commit to a company, self-organizing tribes and cross-silo cooperation, on the other the ability to utilise data and technology. 

In order to find optimal customer solutions, modern organisations have started to favour low flexible organisation models with less hierarchy and fewer official roles. This will often lead to the geographical dispersion of employees to different parts of the world near a company's clients, which will mean that the coordination of work, cooperation and information sharing for autonomous tribes will require special technological solutions.

Niemi's doctoral dissertation applies the lifecycle model for expertise management, wherein the expertise not only represents the past and the present but also the future. The model is being piloted in a case organisation with expertise-based tribes and technology that supports them.

'In the future, it will be extremely important to combine what individuals are passionate about and customer needs. Anyone can build their hobby on whatever they are most passionate about, but this may not benefit them in business. On the other hand, even strong customer demand is of no significance, if employees are not interested in developing the corresponding expertise,' Erkka Niemi says.

Finland plagued simultaneously by unemployment and a labour shortage

According to calculations by the Finnish Information Processing Association, TIVIA, Finland is in immediate need of 7,000 new software professionals. It predicts that this number will continue to rise in coming years, and that the shortage in expertise will cost the national economy 3 to 4 billion euros. Finding a resolution to this mismatch could significantly help Finland's unemployment rate and international competitiveness.

The dissertation's outcomes indicate that modern strategic management can facilitate the recruitment of experts and the development of their expertise to meet with clients' ever changing demands even when the economy is going through tumultuous times. As a result of the research, the planning principles that organisations can use for the implementation and development of the expertise management were published.

The research results are predominantly based on an R&D project carried out at Siili Solutions from 2013 to 2016. The project included the design, implementation and assessment of numerous organisational and technological interventions related to the management of strategic expertise. Over the course of the project, the number of persons employed by Siili Solutions grew from 100 to 500 and the company achieved a primary listing status in the stock market.

Doctoral dissertation: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-60-7652-2

Further information:
Erkka Niemi, CTO
Siili Solutions Oyj
tel. +358 40 713 1568
[email protected]

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