Europe, it’s time to benefit from digitalization!
Robotics and artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data. The phenomena of digitalization are currently revolutionizing the nature of work across industries. These technological advances could mean new possibilities for fast economic growth for Europe, which is slowly recovering from the financial downturn.
“Europe has not yet been able to fully seize the opportunities opened up by technological progress. Digitalization offers a great opportunity to increase productivity, raise the quality of services and generate a new competitive advantage for companies and societies as well,” said Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland, Senior Fellow at Harvard University and Executive in Residence at Aalto University.
Aho spoke about digitalization – and welcomed it – at the Finance Forum 2015 event in May that was organized by OpusCapita for finance professionals.
The impacts of digitalization on life, business and the economy have been compared with those of both the Industrial Revolution and the Computer Revolution. A study by Oxford University found that nearly half of the jobs today are likely to change or disappear over the next two decades due to automation.
Technological advances present both opportunities and challenges. Aho urged the audience not to focus too much on the negative effects of a more digital economy.
“In Europe we are somewhat prone to protective thinking. We need to trust the fact that new jobs and prosperity will emerge from digitalization, too, as was the case after the previous revolutions. The ability to take risks will be required in order to move forward.”
He noted that the creation of a digital single market in Europe would be crucial for the future success of European countries. Forerunner companies will also be needed to push the development further.
“Innovations and new ideas for applications spring up in companies. They help to create an ecosystem in which other companies can effectively benefit from digital solutions and services.”
According to Aho, OpusCapita is operating in such a role. OpusCapita presented its experiences on software robotics at the Finance Forum. Robotics is already being successfully utilized in the automation of OpusCapita’s customers’ manual routine tasks in payroll management, for example.
“Another feature in the European discussion is the perception of technology and human thinking as a kind of opposites. Personally, I don’t believe that robotics, for instance, will ever be able to replace human thinking. On the contrary, advances in technology will bring a new dimension to creative problem solving and new ways of operating,” said Aho.
In addition to digitalization and robotics, the topics of this year’s Finance Forum covered supply chain finance and customer experience.