By collecting, managing, and drawing conclusions from data, society, the business community, and individuals stand to gain a great deal. But Sweden needs to become better at utilising data as a resource. And this is what the Datalyftet initiative will help to do.
Data is becoming increasingly important in all parts of society – from industry to the public sector. Both digitalisation and the transition to a climate-sustainable society require data to be collected, managed, and used in the right way.
“There is a lot at stake, both the climate and our welfare,” says Per-Olof Sjöberg, Head of the Digitalisation business and innovation area. He uses the public sector as an example:
“Calculations have been made regarding how much efficient AI use would be worth, and it amounts to around SEK 140 billion saved annually through efficiency improvements and gains. And the foundation of AI is data.”
Data provides competitiveness
When it comes to industry, data management is one of the cornerstones of competitiveness. Using accurate data for measuring and control produces enormous gains for both production and maintenance.
“Managing data efficiently provides a direct competitive advantage,” says Sjöberg. “This also applies to logistics: if you can share data securely and efficiently with subcontractors, you can control and optimise warehousing and material access, for example.”
Sweden lagging behind
Despite this, Sweden has fallen behind when it comes to sharing and utilising data. We are far down on the European list in terms of data sharing from the public sector, and in the 2021 Digital Riser Report, Sweden’s pace of digital transformation ranks 34th out of 38 countries in Europe. What is the reason for this?
“It’s a complex question that doesn’t have straightforward answer,” says Sjöberg. “But when it comes to the public sector, we have a management model that is not very agile and that tends to lead to different solutions. We need structures and agreements on how data is shared, along with legislation that enables this.”
Data is used more frequently in industry, but there is still a question of how it should be best used and whether it is valuable?
“In this case you could increase the use by making transfer and handling simpler. The problem is knowing how to ensure data quality and how to manage it. Many companies have accumulated a lot of data but are unsure what to do with it.”
With the help of data, we can measure whether we are actually working sustainably
Data provides many benefits, but there remain some challenges in data management. And they exist in all phases – in generation where it is important to measure the right things to get qualitative data, in standards pertaining to the format, in data processing, in managing the results, and, in particular, the security aspect.
“And in all these elements there are also challenges concerning ethics,” says Sjöberg. “How do we manage personal data, how can we guarantee ownership, and how can we assign data to organisations or individuals and then take it back? The data must be handled securely.”
Other issues that must still be ironed out to some extent include how business models should be structured as more data is made available, along with the availability of processing power to process data efficiently.
Numerous measures in Datalyftet
All these challenges are being addressed in Datalyftet, a RISE initiative that will raise the issue in a number of different organisations, municipalities, regions, and government agencies.
“We have a large grant,” says Sjöberg. “It was initiated by us, but it’s not something we will do alone.”
Datalyftet includes numerous measures to boost and increase data use: training packages for organisations and individuals, business management coaching, experience exchange between industry-specific groups and, not least, different types of testbeds that can be used to test, certify, and train.
“The goal is for these measures to lead to an understanding of the importance of taking data into account, which leads to competitiveness, sustainability, and efficiency. To achieve all this, you need good fundamental data, otherwise you will not make it all the way.”
Gains at multiple levels
By achieving these goals, all parts of society stand to gain a great deal. Companies will be able to increase their competitiveness and market potential, and the public sector will have good opportunities to save resources and get more out of taxpayers’ contributions. Perhaps most importantly, we will have a chance at managing climate change more effectively and operating more sustainably.
“With the help of data, we can measure whether we are actually working sustainably. Circular processes cannot be developed without data. I also think a data boost could make us a healthier population in the long run. It may sound like an exaggeration, but data in many ways allows us to live healthier lives.”