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Growing SME Digitization in the Baltic Sea Region - but more needs to be done

A Business Needs Assessment, a study as part of the DIGINNO project, has taken the temperature on diffusion and knowledge of IT in SMEs in the Baltic Sea Region. The study shows a reasonably advanced and quite uniform status.

Through interviews and questionnaires directed to SME’s within different sectors of industry, the study has analyzed the current uptake of several digital technologies in SMEs and their planned uptake in a five-year perspective.

Currently, there is widespread use of automation, databases; wireless, security/encryption, cloud computing, data visualization, sensors and virtual simulation. Other digital technologies as robotics, big data; AI/machine learning, augmented reality, blockchain, drones and especially the last four are introduced to a lesser degree. The reason for the slower adoption of these is a lack of perceived value resulting from the high cost of deployment, absence of clear revenue streams, and fewer use case scenarios for the utilization of the technology.

A widespread digital disruption is not foreseen in the coming five years. But there is a positive expectation towards the adoption of more automation, databases, wireless, security/encryption, cloud computing, data visualization, sensors, virtual simulation, robotics, and big data. Whereas AI/machine learning, augmented reality, blockchain, and drones are technologies that still is expected to be used to a lesser extent.

Some issues stand out as important for the immediate and further take-up of digital technologies: Upgrade of the service infrastructure; Competence development including networks and education; access to finance and harmonized regulation. DIGINNO has formulated policy recommendations to deal with this incl. suggestions for coordinated programs for education and awareness-raising related to advanced digital technologies.

Presentation and discussion of policy findings from the BNA will be covered in policy seminar & study visit: “Industry digitalization – the Baltic Sea Region experience”. This event takes place in Berlin and is represented by Aalborg University Copenhagen and Estonian Association of IT & Telecommunications, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Full program available here.

The Business Needs Assessment of IT in SMEs in the Baltic Sea Region can be found from here.

For information on the BNA:

Researcher Idongesit Williams, CMI, ES, Aalborg University;

Prof Knud Erik Skouby, CMI, ES, Aalborg University,

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