Jari Mielonen - 1.11.2018

The world's happiest nation, the world's most secure digitalization

We need to take a new angle on the meaning of digitalization: it's not technology; it's a business model. Digital business is implemented through technology.

Forward-looking companies are simultaneously thinking about the present and the future and are moving from physical business logic to digital well ahead of time. The first sectors to react have been the ones where consumer experience is an integral part of the operations. For instance retail, operators, and banks. The next wave includes industrial sectors that have the potential to convert data into a business: data is turned into service models, and in the future the data that a company previously used itself, is sold. The motive behind the data-driven business is speed. 

Digitality has two things that cannot be added afterwards: security and usability. They have to be considered at the early stage of the transition. Digitalization does not exist without security. Otherwise, you can just pull the plug on the business. When the business model is tied to data, the company must protect its back or else it's very vulnerable. There are two ways to implement a secure digitalization: as an evolution or a revolution, meaning either by improving processes with small steps or by revamping the entire business.

This is a particularly topical issue right now because a lot is happening: the first 5G network licenses are multiplying the current connection speeds. Additionally, the price of sensors is dropping, which means that more and more physical spaces can be equipped with sensors that measure and send data. AI, neural networks, and robotics help to get the most essential out of a large amount of data. 

Efforts needed to close the skills gap

The areas of expertise of industrial players are changing. In the past, it would have been difficult to imagine that one fourth of a bank's personnel work as software developers. I believe that the same transformation will happen in industry. We have a lot of industries that rest on long-standing traditions but are capable of changing their strategy. We have already witnessed some very large-scale digital leaps: for instance Kemppi, Ponsse, Valmet, and Wärtsilä are strong global role models in their industries.

The transformation of business requires a change of skills. With Nokia, the mobile business almost disappeared from Finland and the industrial structure changed. There is a gap in our national skills profile that should be filled with secure digitalization. The current gap in software engineering is 7,000 experts, and the number of cyber experts that Finland would need by 2020 is as much as 20,000. If we're only slightly closing the skill gap, we are in practice losing our competitiveness and the competitive advantage that is up for grabs. By putting a significant effort in closing the gap, we may create the new Silicon Valley of the industrial internet of things in Finland.

The legacy of Nokia is a golden opportunity. In Finland, we are rarely the pioneers of an individual technology, but we are good at building new things out of pieces. We have a can-do attitude that supports a culture of experimentation and adopting new innovations. Our society is digitalized and we are trusted as an independent cyber expert. Combining these creates a strong brand as the world leader of secure digitalization.


Jari Mielonen is the Executive Vice President of Insta DefSec.