Major change is affecting many of our customer industries. Good customer experiences have joined the traditional change drivers of greater efficiency and productivity. This is increasing demand for digital services. It is also encouraging companies to improve the usability of services on various devices. Services must be available anytime, anywhere. Companies are planning the type of customer experience they provide more carefully, via various channels.
Service availability and ease of use have become major competitive factors in the finance industry. Finance companies are developing digital services, and services independent of time and place. This enables them to provide a better customer experience. It has also led to rising demand for solutions which directly link online and mobile services to back-office systems.
Digia has a strong position in back-office systems for asset managers and in core banking solutions for small and medium-sized banks. Last year, Digia broadened the functionality of its banking system, for example with an online banking feature. As smartphones proliferate, Digia is also expanding its mobile solutions range for the finance industry. Digia's solutions range from back-office systems to excellent end-customer usability. No major investments are needed from customers, since these innovative solutions can also be provided as a service.
The need for greater efficiency and productivity spells major change, both now and in the past, for Finland's public administration. Public bodies are responding by centralising and digitising services, leading to larger, centralised purchases. Many traditional public services are now open to competition from the private sector: citizens will benefit from these changes, due to falling costs and improved services. Healthcare is a familiar example of this.
Digia has solid expertise and existing long-term customer relationships in the public sector. It also has a strong, private-sector pedigree, in improving customer experiences and operations. This is an ideal platform for increasing the efficiency and customer-orientation of public administration systems.
In retail, there is a growing need to manage value chains using real-time data. This is because the logistics emphasis is shifting, from a retailer's own central warehouses to managing subcontractors and partners. Traditional competitive factors are now rivalled by the ability to offer consumer services, even mobile services, which strengthen customer loyalty. Factors such as timely staff availability and in-store efficiency will grow in significance. By improving these, retailers can gain a more competitive edge, through a better customer experience.
Digia has developed the Digia Smart Store concept. This brings together retail chain management and store solutions, into a package covering the key needs of general and specialist retailers. Digia has a comprehensive range of solutions, from ERP systems, integration services and e-commerce solutions, to mobile applications for in-store workflow management.
Of Digia's customer segments, the mobile industry underwent most changes in recent quarters. Serious new competitors have appeared among device manufacturers. In addition, competitive technology platforms have increased in number.
Competitive factors are bi-fold. Device manufacturers need a critical mass of their own devices on the market, but the services available for each technical platform and device are also critical. In addition to telephones, the range of mobile devices has grown hugely. A key competitive edge lies in swift production of new, more intuitive devices. Strongly fragmented value chains are also typical of the sector. The decisive role is played by consumers, who choose the kinds of services they prefer.
Digia's strengths are excellent technical expertise and the ability to follow demand by exploring new technologies. Digia can also manage the entire customer needs cycle, from the early planning phases to solution maintenance. It can assume responsibility for large entities - whether single applications, or more extensive products or services.
In Digia's other customer segments, the increasing need to manage both a fragmented workforce and mobile work is the clearest change driver. In addition, the race is on to produce a good, distinctive customer experience: this is a force for change shaking up the entire market. For example, traditional, large capital goods are often produced outside Finland. Fierce competition makes after-market services a distinctive competitive edge. These include servicing, maintenance and other services. The same competitive edge is gathering strength in several sectors, for example in elderly care services. Many companies are wondering how to produce efficient services, while staying focused on good customer experiences.
In its other customer segments, Digia offers solutions in addition to customer experience development and traditional ERP. These include mobile work optimisation and management, for example.
Digia has growing competence centres in China and Russia. In 2010, the company began active sales to local business customers in these markets. China's and Russia's markets are changing even faster than Finland's. In Russia, key areas of corporate development include the review and renewal of IT strategies, system optimisation, efficient infra management and, naturally, cost reduction. Across the board, Russian companies are keener to outsource large parts of their IT systems than before. Growth is also expected in public healthcare IT projects. This will provide Western companies with good prospects.
Digia has long operated in Sweden. There, it provides system solutions for the asset management market, which is undergoing similar changes to Finland: demand for electronic and mobile services is growing fast.