A retrospective and outlookPublished 16 Dec 2019
The past year has been characterized by a debate on how both companies and individuals can make a real difference. The focus in future will be how we, in our sector, can contribute to making society a more sustainable and better place. Per Wallentin, CEO and President of Knowit, shares his thoughts on the future.
Matters related to how we develop society in general and care for our environment are now prioritized highly by an increasing number of people. This affects what we deliver and is an important parameter when we perform assignments in collaboration with our clients. Thinking about how we can jointly highlight sustainability aspects becomes important from the very start of a project – and following up in the same way later on is perhaps even more important.
“Employees, customers and clients nowadays expect organizations and companies to have a clear vision and take active responsibility in sustainability matters. Something has happened in society that means this is highlighted both at a higher level and in a different way than before. This relates to the environment, social justice and equality, but also increased responsibility for streamlining society, for instance decreasing costs in the public sector,” says Per.
Sustainability – societal trend and real need
The expectation that organizations and companies will take a broader and greater responsibility in society is due in part to the fact that many are truly worried that they have a lifestyle that may not be sustainable in the long term. Another factor is that we, in Western countries, have reached a high level in the hierarchy of needs, and thus have both the ability and the willingness to think of others. It is, simply put, stimulating and interesting to take on these matters.
“My personal opinion is that we are currently also affected by the extremely low interest rates. As money is relatively cheap, while there are already many things in society that are efficient, it is possible to get a financial leverage effect by taking the next step now,” says Per.
Good conditions for sustainable deals
Low interest rates facilitate larger, more long-term investments. This means that organizations and companies now dare to take the step toward thinking about long-term investments connected to their digital transformation. If the interest rates had been high and the availability of money low, the need for short-term solutions with transient effects and results would have been greater.
“Now, there is both a possibility and a requirement from our clients to secure sustainable and long-term deals, which is exciting. This is driven by both the public debate and the financial conditions,” says Per.
If we raise our gaze and look further ahead, developing profitable business models is likely to become more complex. Patterns of behavior change quickly and there is an increasing number of parts in each value chain to take into account.
“We need to become even more focused on human needs and less focused on technological possibilities. We need to understand and assume that people want to do different things in different ways,” says Per.
Which channels will work for managing different errands or performing specific activities will become clearer in the future. Some services will be entirely automated, with no human interface, while the human touch will remain important in others.
Digital health for the future
Health and healthcare are very interesting areas for the digitalization sector.
“I am convinced that we will invest more in our health in the future. The human body is extremely complicated, with many different parameters to take into account, as regards both our basic construction, and the parameters we have added to the equation, such as diet, exercise, stress, and pharmaceuticals. Gathering more data and insights will truly revolutionize our health. Many people in Western countries live in material comfort and will want to invest money in developing this area.”