What’s driving successful Business Transformation in the Nordics right now?

Everyone loves to love the Nordics (I admit to speaking rather broadly and somewhat assumptively here on behalf of the “Rest of World”). But let’s be brutally honest for a moment, there are some (many) things that our Scandinavian friends just seem to be a little bit better at than the rest of us. Whether it’s lifestyle, maternity leave or skiing finesse, the Nordic nations generally set pretty high standard that many of us to aspire to. Take Sweden as a prime example. I for one, would quite like to try out being Swedish (at least for a day) and I’d wager I’m not alone. If we believe the data (which of course never lies) the Swedes are apparently the best in the World at pretty much everything. Who wouldn’t want to see what that feels like?

Shifting that sentiment across to the Nordic corporate world, there also strikes a chord of “standard-setting”. Sure, like all regions, there are cultural nuances which make doing business in the Nordics a little bit “different” to other places. In Swedish it could be their consensus-led approach to decision-making, zero-tolerance policy to tardiness or a tendency to avoid conflicts. Whereas in Finland it could be their attention-to-detail, strong focus on accuracy and dislike of arrogance. As with most regions, there will always be horses-for-courses when doing Business in this part of the World. 

However, regardless of whether these cultural distinctions are playing a role in the outcome of their business transactions, the Nords have simply got to be doing something right. You only have to look at the stats. The Digital Evolution 2017 Index (see page 5) lists the Top 5 most advanced digital economies in the world to be (in order) Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland. That cannot be a coincidence. And the rest of us would be wise to take a closer look at possible reasons why.

SSON Analytics investigates some of the facts in its latest report Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in the Nordic Region 2018. It kicks off with some visual analysis of direct feedback from Nordic leaders, providing an inside view on what Nordic Operational and Digital Executives believe drives a new business processes to succeed. The overwhelming majority cited that the top 3 internal reasons were:

1.Full commitment to project 

2.Workforce are on-board for changes 

3.A clear, continuous improvement strategy in place

Nothing too unexpected here, but what might surprise you is that only 6% of Nordic respondents believe that having the right software implemented is what drives a successful new business process. Completely ignoring the adage “focus on what you can control and let go of the rest, the same respondents were asked to cite the top EXTERNAL reasons that new processes succeed. Interestingly here, technology played a much more important role, were 77% felt that an increase in technological development was a top driver for success.  

I particularly liked the chart on page 3. It really clearly highlights the emphasis that Nordic businesses place on change management, with a 33% majority citing the development of an organisational change management plan as the most critical stage of business transformation project. 

And inevitably, like most of us, I was drawn to the monetary feedback and specfically, How has the investment appetite of Nordic companies changed in the last 12 months (page 6)? With 31% and 44% respectively reducing spend on third party outsourcing and advisory, and 88% and 81% investing more in cyber security and data analytics, it paints a very telling tale for where these rather savvy Nordic Leaders intend to spend their cash in 2018. To drill further into some of the numbers, take a look at the full report for yourself here



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