When your industrial business is about to change dramatically, don’t try to survive alone

Amazon, Uber and Airbnb are often mentioned examples of disruptive innovations. They also are so-called “platform ecosystem models”.

First, we must realize that companies like Amazon are operating in a very different playground and have much shorter development paths than the traditional industry actors. Because of path dependency, the challenge of disruption is huge in established companies compared to newcomers.

Disruptive innovation = Business model + Technology + Agility

Transformation requires a business model that links new technology to an emerging market need. Within industrial ecosystems, disruptive business models are driven by the emergence of data-driven economies as well as servitisation, i.e. offering operational excellence

In order to renew, and survive, an organization needs to balance stability and change. Business disruption requires changes in the organization’s processes – at the same time it requires changes in the capabilities of individuals. Especially it requires a well-grounded understanding of the wider ecosystem – which enables turning disruptive technologies to novel business models together with new partners, for new customers, while the playground is changing. Success in global competition of industrial ecosystems requires deep understanding of customer value, an ability to utilize technological developments in products and services, and renewal of operations with digitalization.


Transformation requires co-evolution of ecosystem

The disruption means that the future structure and paths of change are always unknowable and actors need tools to understand how these systems co-evolve, while their actions – both intentional and emerging – are connected to each other. The forerunners need agility to change their path. Just ask yourself: are you able to kill your well-planned business model within a week – and create a new one the week after that? And with whom you should scan the new opportunities arising from technology?

Future is built together – and we are here to help you

Key for ecosystem composing and orchestration is to generate shared meanings together with key actors. This becomes crucial – so does the need for effective boundary spanning when parties have different interests and those interests collide.

Finland with high innovation capability and skilled workforce is in a strong position to be a frontrunner in the next generation manufacturing and service business. VTT supports this transformation of Finnish industrial companies.
Katri Valkokari
Katri Valkokari
Research Manager
Twitter: @valkatti

Business out of data in urban environments

The role of local authorities and cities is undergoing a transformation, and it is becoming more common to regard them as service platforms. One enabler of such development is a transfer from closed to open systems, but also new modes of operation, such as the city as a platform thinking included in the Smart Tampere ecosystem, contribute to this.

It is possible to collect a lot of electronic data on the behaviour and needs of municipal residents. Using artificial intelligence (AI) or augmented reality (AR) tools, such data can be utilised in decision-making and the development of new services. With the help of refined data, the future service needs of municipal residents can be predicted, and services can be personified according to different life situations. When someone is moving, AI can automatically recommend him or her the best residential area and suitable day care centres with openings, or suggest the most sensible jobs etc. in accordance with the user’s personal interests. Cities know their residents increasingly well, and the data offers huge opportunities for different stakeholders to provide new services.

However, enterprises have been slower to seize the opportunities offered by open data than expected. The user data is dispersed between various public and private digital sources, and the creation of major data-based business would require integration of data from several sources. In other words, ground rules and bold initiatives for sharing data are also needed between operators. The creation of new data-based business activities requires examining services from the viewpoint of municipal residents instead of using the data sources as the starting point for service development. Turku with its ‘circular economy of data’ project and Forum Virium Helsinki, with user-oriented open innovation as its mode of operation, are excellent examples of trendsetters.

Use of open data from various sources in applications and services

Open data can be used in different service contexts. Most examples of such applications can be found in financial and taxation services, such as Budjettipeli budget game, with the help of which you can test different models for sharing the financing burden of welfare services between public communities and private citizens. It is based on the data resources of Statistics Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish Centre for Pensions. A lot of examples can also be found in map applications, such as the online and mobile service Aaltopoiju, which offers boaters and free-time seafarers exact observation and forecast data on different weather phenomena, such as water level and wave height. Aaltopoiju uses the open data material produced by the meteorological institutes of Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Germany.

The success factors of a business process based on open data

With a view to making business, it is important that applications based on open data have easy-to-use user and customer interfaces. The integration of data and information systems plays a key role in how utilizable the data is. Technological solutions must support the usability of the application. In addition, securing the information security of individuals is a prerequisite for creating profitable business out of open data. When collecting and using personal data of municipal residents, the delicate nature of such data must be taken into account in every stage of the data process.

Below, as an example, we have listed data initiatives related to parking and traffic, including light traffic, that are being planned, in progress or in their final stages in various cities. In the services of Helsinki Region Transport (HRT), the current issues include starting the operation of Länsimetro and the relevant changes, whereas in Tampere the construction of a tramline reforms the transport structure in the Pirkanmaa area and business activities related to that. Identifying the critical missing pieces in services from the point of view of those moving in city areas can serve as a basis when planning new data initiatives. This enables more efficient creation of new, data-based business operations.


Customer-oriented and comprehensive service solutions

In urban environments, services utilising open data must be based on the customers’ needs, and not only on the needs of individual data-based services. There is already a lot of data available from various sources, but identifying the critical missing data and its open provision may create new value-creation opportunities. Accumulation of data in the various phases of the use of services and business process may create new opportunities, when we learn to refine them to usable form. Therefore, the roles required for the analysis and utilisation of data (e.g. technical implementation and final use) and the operators in a comprehensive ecosystem must be identified to enable value-creation for the final user. It is also important to collect feedback on the use of applications to develop the services.

Antti Ruuska
Business Development Manager, VTT
Twitter: @antti_ruuska

Salla Paajanen
Research Scientist, VTT

Katri Valkokari
Research Manager, VTT

Antti Knuuti
Key Account Manager, VTT

If you want to read more about VTT’s vision regarding smart and sustainable cities, read our new white paper: Let’s turn your Smart City vision into reality. Smart City development is inherently multi-technological and cross-disciplinary, and as an application-oriented research organisation VTT is an ideal partner. We work with the public sector and private companies as well as technology providers in research and innovation activities that expedites the development of smarter cities.  We can guide you from the early phases of vision-creation and concept development to practical implementations of smart outcomes.

Platforms do not appear from thin air!

Towards new radical business opportunities: There is no single journey towards success in digital platforms– there are many ways to do it!

In the core of platforms are the products and services that link the actors together toward seamless experiences. This seamless service experience generates data from users, which can create new business opportunities for the platform owner or its partners when shared, integrated and analyzed.  Over boundaries of several platforms and their digital interactions, there is more data– wide data– allowing for integrating variety knowledge. And the sought-after, radically new business opportunities lie at the intersection of different data sets and sources. This is the plan, right? But how to get there?

Digital platforms are places for digital interactions where there are different value-creating building blocks.  These building blocks need to work together! So-called boundary resources need to allow for seamless technical and cooperative collaboration. For example, if your seamless customer experience benefits from microservices, those need to be accessible via APIs (application programming interfaces) that can function with your APIs.

If you have not explored the importance of interactions and boundary resources in your organization, the check‐list based on the insight of academic, industry and other stakeholders can be a first step for you!

More details about it can be found: http://tutcris.tut.fi/

We all have to understand that the logic of the game has changed, and that all actors can’t be platform owners or providers. There is no single journey towards success in digital platforms– there are many ways to do it!


See also our previous posts on platforms:

The platform ecosystem canvas defining the core elements of new economy

Openness is the key to the platform economy

When everything is about platforms and platforms are about everything

Katri Valkokari
Katri Valkokari
Research Manager, VTT


Marko Seppänen
Professor, TUT


Kaisa Still
Senior Scientist, VTT

Alustat eivät ilmesty tyhjästä!

Kohti uusia ja radikaaleja liiketoimintamahdollisuuksia digitaalisilla alustoilla: Ei ole olemassa yhtä ainoaa tietä menestykseen vaan reittejä on monia!

Alustojen ytimestä löytyvät tuotteet ja palvelut, jotka liittävät toimijat yhteen – kohti saumattomia asiakaskokemuksia. Nämä saumattomat palvelukokemukset tuottavat tietoa, joka voi jaettuna, integroituna, tai analysoituna luoda uusia liiketoimintamahdollisuuksia alustan omistajalle ja liiketoimintakumppaneille.  Useiden alustojen ja niiden digitaalisen vuorovaikutuksen rajoja ylitettäessä syntyy lisää tietoa – laajaa dataa – joka mahdollistaa monimuotoisen tiedon integroimisen. Haluamamme radikaalisti uudenlaiset liiketoimintamahdollisuudet odottavat eri tietoaineistojen ja tietolähteiden yhtymäkohdassa. Mutta kuinka tavoitteeseen päästään?

Digitaaliset alustat ovat paikkoja digitaaliselle kanssakäymiselle ja ne koostuvat erilaisista arvoa tuottavista rakennuspalikoista.  Näiden rakennuspalikoiden on toimittava yhdessä! Niin kutsuttujen rajaresurssien täytyy mahdollistaa saumaton tekninen ja yhteistoiminnallinen vuorovaikutus. Jos siis tarjoamasi saumaton asiakaskokemus hyötyisi täydentävistä mikropalveluista (microservices), niin niiden tulee olla käytettävissä ratkaisuunne yhteensopivien ohjelmointirajapintojen (API) kautta.


Jos et ole tutustunut alustaratkaisujen vuorovaikutuksen ja rajaresurssien tärkeyteen, ota ensimmäinen askel oheisen tarkistuslistan avulla! Se perustuu tutkimustyöhön, teollisuuden ja muiden sidosryhmien näkemyksiin ja kokemuksiin sekä Suomessa että muualla.

  • Mikä on se ongelma, jota olette ratkaisemassa alustoilla?
  • Millaiseen vuorovaikutukseen haluatte osallistua?
  • Mikä on vahvuutenne?
  • Oletteko valmiita globaaliin toimintaan?
  • Missä kohtaa digitaalista evoluutiota olette tällä hetkellä?
  • Oletteko määritelleet tekniset ja yhteistoiminnalliset resurssinne?
  • Miten osaatte tarttua ohjelmointirajapintojen tarjoamiin liiketoimintamahdollisuuksiin?
  • Miten osaatte tukea ei-teknisiä rajaresursseja?
  • Mikä on skaalattavuustavoitteenne?
  • Onko teiltä datastrategia?
  • Millainen on alustanne ekosysteemi?
  • Millainen toimija haluatte olla perustuen resursseihinne ja verkostoasemaanne?
  • Oletteko miettineet asemaanne alustaekosysteemissä?
  • Tiedättekö mistä lähteä liikkeelle – ja kuinka edetä?

Lisätietoa aiheesta löytyy julkaisusta: Platform Economy Interactions & Boundary Resources

Ajattelun muutos

Digitaalisten alustojen myötä pelin logiikka on muuttunut, eivätkä kaikki toimijat voi omistaa tai tarjota alustoja. Ei siis ole olemassa yhtä ainoaa tietä menestykseen!

Tutustu myös aiempiin alustoja koskeviin postauksiin:

Alustaekosysteemi määrittelee uuden talouden keskeiset tekijät

Avoimuus on avain alustatalouteen

Kaikki liittyy alustoihin – ja alustat kaikkeen


Katri Valkokari
Katri Valkokari
Tutkimuspäällikkö, VTT


Marko Seppänen
Professori, TUT


Kaisa Still
Erikoistutkija, VTT

Löytyykö uusi sampo – big datasta liiketoimintaa?

Asiakas- ja liiketoiminnan kehitysjohtaja Mika Toikka muistutti pari viikkoa sitten blogissamme, kuinka big data tarjoaa lukuisia vastauksia, mutta myös kysymykset pitää muistaa miettiä tarkoin. Tutkimuspäällikkö Katri Valkokari jatkaa aiheesta esitellen big datan erilaisia liiketoimintahyötyjä.

Data on uusi öljy, ja datatalouden mahdollisuudet ovat rajattomat. Mahdollisuuksiin tarttuminen edellyttää kuitenkin yrityksen liiketoiminnan kannalta oleellisen erilaisista lähteistä saatavan datan tunnistamisen (esim. IoT data, asiakas/CRM- data, palvelujen logidataa, julkisista lähteistä saatava).  Lisäksi tarvitaan ymmärrystä datan validiteetista ja analysoinnin mahdollisuuksista sekä yrityksen sisäisten, että asiakkaan kehitystarpeiden näkökulmasta.

Vielä enemmän uusien mahdollisuuksien löytämisessä on tarpeen oikeiden kysymysten kysyminen, se miksi ja millaista dataa tai tietoa tarvitaan, mitä datalla tavoitellaan ja mistä se on mahdollista hankkia. Rohkeasti olisi pohdittava myös sitä mitä emme vielä tiedä ja siten tunnistaa mitä dataa meiltä vielä puuttuu ja millaisia uusia datan lähteitä olisi mahdollista hyödyntää.

Uusien liiketoimintamahdollisuuksien löytäminen edellyttää useiden ja erilaisten data lähteiden yhdistelemistä enemmän kuin lisää samankaltaista dataa tai jo olemassa olevan datan syvempää analysointia. Kuvassa 1 big datan hyödyntämisen prosessi tiivistää päävaiheet miksi dataa tarvitaan (nykytilan ymmärtäminen ja tulevaisuuden trendien ennakointi), miten ja mihin käytetään (valinnat ja päätöksenteko).

Big data business

Kun strategisena tavoitteena datan hyödyntämiseen on uusien liiketoimintamahdollisuuksien tunnistaminen, kuvassa 1 esitettyjen kysymysten ja vastausten näkökulmia ovat mm:

  • Asiakasymmärryksen lisääminen sekä leadin löytäminen,
  • Potentiaalisten asiakkaiden ja markkinoiden tunnistaminen,
  • Toimialan trendien ennakointi ja kilpailijatiedon kerääminen sekä asiakkaiden tulevaisuuden tarpeiden ennakoiminen,
  • Erilaisten data lähteiden tuoma hyöty uusien innovaatioiden tai liiketoimintamahdollisuuksien tunnistamiseen
  • Sisäisten datan hyödyntämisen prosessien kehittäminen

Katri Valkokari VTT

Katri Valkokari
Twitter: @valkatti

Has a new money spinner been found – can big data be turned into business?

A few weeks ago, Mika Toikka, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, reminded us in our blog how big data provides a multitude of answers, but you also need to remember to consider your questions carefully. Research Manager Katri Valkokari continues on the same subject, presenting different business benefits big data could offer.

Data is the new oil, and the possibilities of data economy are limitless. However, to seize the opportunities you must be able to identify the data that is essential for your business operations from among the data available via various sources (e.g. IoT data, customer/CRM data, service log data, data from public sources).  In addition, you need understanding of the validity of data and the possibilities of analysing it from the perspective of both the company’s internal and the customer’s development needs.

Even more important for finding new opportunities is asking the right questions, asking why and what kind of data or information you need, what you are aiming at with the data and where can you acquire the data you need. You should also boldly consider what you do not yet know, and thus identify which data you are still missing and what kind of new data sources could be used.

To find new business opportunities you rather need to combine several different data sources than more of similar data or deeper analysis of the existing one. In other words, you should consider wide data in addition to big data. In Figure 1, the process of use of data summarises the main phases that explain why data is needed (understanding the current state and forecasting the future trends), and how and for what it is used (choices and decision-making).

Use of big data


When the strategic goal for use of data is to identify new business opportunities, the viewpoints for questions and answers presented in Figure 1 include the following:

  • Increasing customer understanding and finding leads
  • Identifying potential customers and markets
  • Forecasting trends within the sector and collecting competitor information, as well as forecasting the future customer needs
  • The benefits provided by use of various data sources for the identification of new innovations or business opportunities
  • Development of the processes for use of internal data

Katri Valkokari VTT

Katri Valkokari
Research Manager
Twitter: @valkatti