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The Nordic Digital Ecosystem Actors, Strategies, Opportunities

  • Published 22/02/2016
This report describes possibilities for Nordic digital collaboration by providing an overview of the actors in the Nordic digital ecosystem and their characteristics, an analysis of the actors’ will and abilities to collaborate, and a discussion of potential business cases for such collaboration.
Report

The Nordic Digital Ecosystem Actors, Strategies, Opportunities

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This report describes possibilities for Nordic digital collaboration by providing anoverview of the actors in the Nordic digital eco-system and their characteristics, ananalysis of the actors’ will and abilities to collaborate, and a discussion of potentialbusiness cases for such collaboration.It seems evident that the public actors see benefits in enhanced Nordic knowledgesharing and joint projects in the area of digitalization. The results indicate that theactors believe such collaboration can:a) Provide more efficient ways of developing and delivering digital services withineach country.b) Provide cross-border services to citizens residing and enterprises doingbusiness in the Nordic countries.c) Spearhead European initiatives.d) Provide better market opportunities for Nordic-based ICT businesses.Through a mapping of the actors in the Nordic digital eco-system, and an analysisof recent international benchmarks, the report shows that Nordic countries havea comparatively high level of digital service provision. Furthermore, the countrieshave highly developed specialized sectors, which deliver many complex and highqualitygovernment services. The modernization of the Nordic public sectors throughdigitalization seems to be backed by formal plans and political commitment. Thestrategic goals are basically the same and revolve around improving governmentservices through the sharing of information resources between government agencies.The principle of “once-only” registration of relevant data, which is also embraced by theEU1 , appears to be common ground for the Nordic countries.Although the Nordic countries are high achievers, the study indicates that there arenotable differences between the countries in terms of the topics they excel in. The waysin which the Nordic countries work towards achieving these goals also differ a lot. Onthe one hand, we find differences that can be explained by different national/politicalpriorities. On the other hand, there are significant differences in how the countriesgovern their national digitalization efforts. The latter can be viewed as an obstacleto formalizing Nordic digital collaboration. The coordinating bodies of countries suchas Norway and Sweden are to a lesser degree able to mandate such collaborationbetween agencies than their peers in countries such as Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
It seems evident that the public actors see benefits in enhanced Nordic knowledgesharing and joint projects in the area of digitalization. The results indicate that theactors believe such collaboration can:
a) Provide more efficient ways of developing and delivering digital services withineach country.
b) Provide cross-border services to citizens residing and enterprises doingbusiness in the Nordic countries.
c) Spearhead European initiatives.
d) Provide better market opportunities for Nordic-based ICT businesses.
Through a mapping of the actors in the Nordic digital eco-system, and an analysisof recent international benchmarks, the report shows that Nordic countries havea comparatively high level of digital service provision. Furthermore, the countrieshave highly developed specialized sectors, which deliver many complex and highqualitygovernment services. The modernization of the Nordic public sectors throughdigitalization seems to be backed by formal plans and political commitment. Thestrategic goals are basically the same and revolve around improving governmentservices through the sharing of information resources between government agencies.The principle of “once-only” registration of relevant data, which is also embraced by theEU1 , appears to be common ground for the Nordic countries.
Although the Nordic countries are high achievers, the study indicates that there arenotable differences between the countries in terms of the topics they excel in. The waysin which the Nordic countries work towards achieving these goals also differ a lot. Onthe one hand, we find differences that can be explained by different national/politicalpriorities. On the other hand, there are significant differences in how the countriesgovern their national digitalization efforts. The latter can be viewed as an obstacleto formalizing Nordic digital collaboration. The coordinating bodies of countries suchas Norway and Sweden are to a lesser degree able to mandate such collaborationbetween agencies than their peers in countries such as Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
The study indicates that most public actors are involved in Nordic collaboration of some kind. The Nordic countries look to one another for inspiration, and there are a handful of cross-national pilot projects and reports. The actors see the benefits of greater collaboration on digitalization within the Nordic region. However, the countries seem to lack formal arenas for knowledge sharing and coordinating joint projects. The report also indicates that there is a lack of political attention to Nordic digital collaboration. The report shows a somewhat reticent attitude towards joint development projects among the Nordic national CIOs, and clear business cases are seen as an absolute prerequisite for enhanced collaboration. Furthermore, in terms of resources, the EU isthe most important international arena for actors in the digital eco-system, and Nordic collaboration is expected to add value to this.
The report exhibits a number of areas in which there potentially could be a positive business case for Nordic collaboration. Based on the report’s discussion on how to improve and increase the value of Nordic collaboration, the report recommends that the Nordic digital actors:
Use the implementation of EU initiatives as a starting point. Accelerate them, demonstrate the potential.
Make trans-national eID work within government systems. Reduce the waiting-room issue for citizens and enterprises within the Nordic countries.
Show how common standards for public e-tenders and e-invoicing can provide a de facto internal market for companies doing business in the Nordic region.
Start at a bilateral or trilateral level. Not all projects are suited to every Nordic country.
Bypass national coordination issues by not focusing on the overarching policy level. Aim for collaboration amongst service providers on concrete issues that have a clear business case (for example e-prescriptions, procurement).
Challenge and partner up with the supplier side. There are many strong Nordic technology companies that already provide services to more than one Nordic government. By expanding their market, they can expand their innovation efforts.

It seems evident that the public actors see benefits in enhanced Nordic knowledge sharing and joint projects in the area of digitalization. The results indicate that the actors believe such collaboration can:

 

a) Provide more efficient ways of developing and delivering digital services within each country.

 

b) Provide cross-border services to citizens residing and enterprises doing business in the Nordic countries.

 

c) Spearhead European initiatives.

 

d) Provide better market opportunities for Nordic-based ICT businesses.


Through a mapping of the actors in the Nordic digital ecosystem, and an analysis of recent international benchmarks, the report shows that Nordic countries have a comparatively high level of digital service provision. Furthermore, the countries have highly developed specialized sectors, which deliver many complex and high quality government services. The modernization of the Nordic public sectors through digitalization seems to be backed by formal plans and political commitment. The strategic goals are basically the same and revolve around improving government services through the sharing of information resources between government agencies.The principle of “once-only” registration of relevant data, which is also embraced by the EU 1, appears to be common ground for the Nordic countries.


Although the Nordic countries are high achievers, the study indicates that there are notable differences between the countries in terms of the topics they excel in. The ways in which the Nordic countries work towards achieving these goals also differ a lot. On the one hand, we find differences that can be explained by different national or political priorities. On the other hand, there are significant differences in how the countries govern their national digitalization efforts. The latter can be viewed as an obstacle to formalizing Nordic digital collaboration. The coordinating bodies of countries such as Norway and Sweden are to a lesser degree able to mandate such collaboration between agencies than their peers in countries such as Denmark, Finland and Iceland.


The study indicates that most public actors are involved in Nordic collaboration of some kind. The Nordic countries look to one another for inspiration, and there are a handful of cross-national pilot projects and reports. The actors see the benefits of greater collaboration on digitalization within the Nordic region. However, the countries seem to lack formal arenas for knowledge sharing and coordinating joint projects. The report also indicates that there is a lack of political attention to Nordic digital collaboration. The report shows a somewhat reticent attitude towards joint development projects among the Nordic national CIOs, and clear business cases are seen as an absolute prerequisite for enhanced collaboration. Furthermore, in terms of resources, the EU is the most important international arena for actors in the digital ecosystem, and Nordic collaboration is expected to add value to this.



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