Tag Archives: Digitalization Forum

AmCham Digitalization Forum – Artificial Intelligence, Threats & Opportunities

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Artificial Intelligence, Threats & Opportunities

Brussels-based Cornelia Kutterer, Head of Responsible Tech & Competition – European Government Affairs at Microsoft, gallantly joined AmCham’s latest hybrid-format Digitalization Forum while on travel from late night Seattle! Kutterer and her team focus on the impact of new technologies and regulatory frameworks that meet expectations of society and healthy competition.

Focusing upon AI threats, opportunities and future-proofed regulation, Kutterer stated that “while we firmly agree that the [European Commission’s] AI Act should articulate what regulated actors should seek to achieve, we believe it will provide a more effective framework for responsible innovation if it is less prescriptive on how they achieve them.” Through multiple sensitive AI use cases, she illustrated how a more principles-based approach – within pragmatic guardrails – would help drive clarity and innovation.

Presenters

Cornelia Kutterer – Head of Responsible Tech & Competition, European Government Affairs

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Katarzyna Michalowska – AI Research Scientist

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“Curating data, intentional [model] design, fair evaluation and raising awareness of the responsibility of algorithms are key to minimizing bias.”

Katarzyna Michalowska

SINTEF Digital’s Katarzyna Michalowska followed, presenting on discriminatory bias in machine learning (ML). Though ML algorithms are extremely efficient and often accurate, biased algorithms can discriminate against groups based upon gender, race, or sexuality. Michalowska soberly illustrated these issues and broader implications, while addressing how to increase ML algorithm fairness. “Curating data, intentional [model] design, fair evaluation and raising awareness of the responsibility of algorithms are key to minimizing bias.” Brisk participant exchange ensued, with both Kutterer and Michalowska providing additional AI challenges, fairness and opportunity insights.

Source: SINTEF Digital

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Building Networks, Developing Competence, Expanding Knowledge

From sharing best practices to exploring how member companies adapt and innovate, AmCham’s long running Digitalization Forum fosters leaders’ transformation confidence and inspires cross-industry collaboration in an ever-evolving digital business environment.

Please contact amcham@amcham.no for interest in joining and/or presenting during future Digitalization Forums.

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Ransomware Recovery & Digital Adaptation Leadership

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Ransomware Recovery & Digital Adaptation Leadership

Leaders from Badenoch + Clark, DNB, DNV, KPMG, Lockton Companies, Marsh, Microsoft, Schjødt, Sparebank1, Tailormade Consulting and Thommessen met virtually for AmCham’s latest Digitalization Forum.

Ibas Ontrack Country Sales Manager Lars Løfsgaard and Senior Nordic Operations Manager Øyvind Nyland, expertly presenting from their Nordic headquarters Kongsvinger, outlined first steps for directors to take during a ransomware attack. Detailing practical data recovery processes and salvage options, “a new business falls victim to ransomware every 11 seconds,” according to Nyland.

Regular staff training, replacing legacy systems and cultivating a rapid incident reporting culture are vital.

The duo emphasized that data exfiltration has markedly increased during recent attacks, with more potential reward for criminals than simply blocking access to key company files. Guiding participants through illustrative case studies, “regular staff training, replacing legacy systems and cultivating a rapid incident reporting culture are vital” for addressing what is unfortunately a very possible scenario for all of our businesses.

Presenters

Lars Løvsgaard  – Country Sales Manager

Øyvind Nyland – Senior Nordic Operations Manager

Jennifer Vessels – CEO

Customer Needs & Team Empowerment

Longtime forum moderator Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step, then took the lead by outlining observations and key findings from her intensive work with organizations and international business leaders through the shift to digital business. “In 2020 there was no rulebook on how to lead and change your business in the face of a pandemic. Companies who had digital transformation on the agenda for years suddenly had to adjust in a matter of hours,” noted Vessels.

With almost every business leader in Norway, the US and around the globe facing similar challenges, Vessels warmly embraces the radical shift in innovation and business transformation, noting however that not all things can be done or experienced the same virtually. “Don’t simply recreate physical experiences digitally, start with understanding customer needs today and in the future. Learn by doing – start small, learn, pivot, learn.”

Vessels and forum participants went on to discuss the importance of an empowered, communicative team – supported by a sound OKR framework – in achieving such profound adaptation.

NextStep_image
Source: Next Step

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Building Networks, Developing Competence, Expanding Knowledge

From sharing best practices to exploring how member companies adapt and innovate, AmCham’s long running Digitalization Forum fosters leaders’ transformation confidence and inspires cross-industry collaboration in an ever-evolving digital business environment.

Please contact amcham@amcham.no for interest in joining and/or presenting during future Digitalization Forums.

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Digital Transition and Trust

AmCham Digitalization Forum: Transition and Digital Trust

“We are not a payments company, we are a technology company.” So began Mastercard’s Country Director Inge M. Kjønnøy as member representatives gathered virtually for AmCham’s latest Digitalization Forum. Founded by a group of banks over 50 years ago, Mastercard’s technology and expertise now enable transactions in more than 210 countries and 150 currencies – connecting 2,7 billion customers worldwide. With Mastercard’s recent acquisition of Nets and others, the company’s Oslo and Nordic offices have expanded significantly.

Kjønnøy went on to provide insights on the company’s transition within processing, open banking, data analytics, cyber and intelligence, digital rewards, and its vast commitment to sustainability – including a 2021 $600B bond framework pledge. Well recognized for payment reliability and trust, Mastercard’s sonic brand identity further piqued cross-industry participants’ imaginations. An engaging discussion ensued, led by Next Step CEO Jennifer Vessels and AmCham’s Jason Turflinger.

Presenters

Inge M. Kjønnøy – Country Director

George Turk – Digital Trust Director

Jan Henrik Schou Straumsheim – Head of Cyber Threat Operations

We Can’t Predict the Future, But We Can Plan for It

PwC’s George Turk, Digital Trust Director, and Jan Henrik Schou Straumsheim, Head of Cyber Threat Operations, then jointly took the lead, outlining key findings from the company’s 2021 global Digital Trust Insights survey. Less of a presentation than a dynamic Forum discussion, all agreed that cyber security is a top enterprise risk for their respective organizations – ranking above pandemic and business regulation concerns for most CEO’s.

 

Independent assessment and proactive security testing are vital for building resilience strategies, according to Turk and Straumsheim. “Cyber threats have evolved from being a nuisance to being fundamentally catastrophic” across multiple industries today. Empowering Information Security Officers, backed by better risk management investment by informed company leadership, helps level the playing field with attackers. Employee training – a fundamental cyber security weakness for many companies – was a recurring discussion theme. With tech security talent in high demand across Norway and the US, long-term hiring perspectives are also imperative.

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Source: PwC

AmCham Digitalization Forum

AmCham’s long running Digitalization Forum was initiated to foster leaders’ digital transformation confidence and inspire cross-industry collaboration. If you are interested in attending a future Digitalization Forum, please email amcham@amcham.no.

Citi’s Comprehensive US-Nordic Sustainable Investment Perspectives

Citi’s Comprehensive US-Nordic Sustainable Investment Perspectives

AmCham Norway, in partnership with Citi and fellow Nordic AmChams, hosted an information-filled conversation with New York-based Bridget Fawcett, Global Chief Strategy Officer for Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory, and Global Co-Head of Sustainability & Corporate Transitions Investment Banking at Citi on the topic US-Nordic Sustainability Investment: Burgeoning Opportunities.

Fawcett opened by affirming that Nordic transatlantic foreign direct investment is indeed robust, as the Nordic countries combined comprise the 10th largest source of FDI in the US at $120 billion. She then outlined key areas that will continue to create opportunity for closer Nordic-US investment ties, namely within green investments.

Speaker

Bridget Fawcett

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On a New Growth Path

The US is becoming an increasingly attractive market as its energy systems are set to significantly transition in coming years – the country is “on the cusp of a sustainability revolution” Fawcett said. The new, non-cyclical  growth path will drive collective growth opportunities; however, a transition requires models that many do not comprehend – yet. Examples of revolutionizing transitions that are underway in the US include the rise of renewables and clean energy technology, developments within agriculture and food, urban planning, circular economy, social transformation, and digital and financial systems. 

Fawcett illustrated how the path to net-zero by 2050 is facilitated by $70 trillion of capital currently moving to low carbon and transition businesses globally, which in turn, will have an impact on the pace and scale of changes in US. Break-through technologies and innovations are key components for achieving the energy transition. Moreover, data shows that the market is both receptive and demanding of sustainable commitments such as net-zero by 2050. The focus reflects an accelerating shift in attitudes among influential policy makers, investors, corporates, banks, and consumers. One of the main challenges for corporate leaders when making the transition is to consider short-term earnings versus positioning for long-term relevance.

“This is an unprecedented time with substantial opportunity for multinational investment in the US over the next ten plus years, and we believe that the Nordic corporates are incredibly well-positioned because of the innovation that you bring to business, deep sector expertise across many sectors, track-record of investments in the US, and integration into the US broadly across cities.”
Bridget Fawcett, Citi

Longevity & The the Agenda Equalizer

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, at an estimated $2.3 trillion, is a long-term investment in infrastructure that will support the US’ climate goals and energy transition – aiming to catalyze a range of opportunities including job creation, increase in GDP and propel the growth of new energy systems. As for the longevity of Biden’s sustainable investments, Fawcett described the holistic and comprehensive approach as unprecedented in recent history in terms of the number of investments and commitments that are embedded across all levels of the administration. “This is going to chart the US going forward” Fawcett added.

US Government tax and regulatory policies are in flux, but are necessary to support the energy transition, echoed by corporate leadership who confirm the need for such policies. Joint global sustainability programs, such as The Paris Agreement have proved to be important steps on the path to sustainability. The UN Climate Change Conference “COP26” taking place in November 2021 was described by Fawcett as “the great agenda equalizer,” and will drive the financial sector to address climate change.

According to Citi’s comprehensive perspectives, there are abundant opportunities and incentives for return on sustainable investment in the US over the coming years, and Nordic corporates are well-positioned. Nordic offshore wind, water/waste management, energy systems and urban mobility excellence paired with imminent US “sustainability revolution” is, mildly put, compelling.

March 2021 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Pragmatism Prevails

March 2021 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Pragmatism Prevails

AmCham member representatives warmly welcomed Datatilsynet Director Bjørn Erik Thon to the first 2021 meeting of the Digitalization Forum. Given ongoing US-Europe Privacy Shield negotiations, the virtual roundtable dialogue – which ranged from COVID-19 era concerns to the digital platform economy, GDPR, and Grindr – was particularly timely.

Speaking both to the breadth of participants and the reach of Datatilsynet, Thon commented how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of data protection in nearly every sector, ranging from health to education, financial technology to infection control, and how the landscape of today’s data protection looks much different than at his start.

When taking the helm at Datatilsynet in 2010, Thon noted that much of the data we see in “an internet minute” was not put to use. In the time since, he and his team have had to readjust and reassess how they work, seeing an exponential jump in users, data collection, and data utilization fuelled by a continuously expanding offering of services.

The sheer volume of information available, the importance of transparency, and the ever-changing requirements for accountability make the jobs of both technology companies and Data Protection Agencies ever-more challenging.
March 2021 AmCham Digitalization Forum

After the digital shift of 2020, and regardless of GDPR efforts, Thon asserts that it is not possible for consumers to know exactly what is happening to their data. The sheer volume of information available, the importance of transparency, and the ever-changing requirements for accountability make the jobs of both technology companies and Data Protection Agencies ever-more challenging.

This pragmatism, and accompanying understanding of the role of data in everyday interactions, was an assuring takeaway from the discussion. Thon signalled a desire to encourage communication between businesses and government in order to strengthen consumer rights and enact actionable regulations. 

A Refreshing New Approach

Briefly discussed was the European Data Protection Board and its role as an arbiter between governments and industry as they strive to be compliant and protect users, a diverse arena requiring a creative and holistic approach, AmCham argued in its letter to the EDPB. Thon commented that Norway is a strong and active member of the EDPB, noting the complexity of issues addressed and the room for improvement.

A refreshing new approach to regulation that Datatilsynet is taking is its Regulatory Sand Box program. The program brings industry together with regulators to creatively address new questions within the ethical application of AI and use of personal data. It indicates an interest in thinking creatively and cooperatively in meeting the challenges ahead, and we look forward to both following the current cohorts’ progress and seeing who applies for future iterations.

In answering both the questions already posed, and those yet to come, we look forward to building upon this dialogue, and encouraging a strong working environment for our members through solid, predictable data protection regulations, and open discussion.

AmCham Digitalization Forum

AmCham’s long running Digitalization Forum was initiated to foster leaders’ digital transformation confidence and inspire cross-industry collaboration. If you are interested in attending a future Digitalization Forum, please email amcham@amcham.no.

May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Top Tasks & the Pandemic – Digital Customer Experience

May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Top Tasks & the Pandemic – Digital Customer Experience

In the virtual May installment of the AmCham Digitalization Forum, guest presenter Gerry McGovern, developer of the Top Task design framework and a board member of the US-based parent company of AmCham member Task Analytics, shared his experience working with companies such as Microsoft and Toyota to improve digital customer experience – work that has also seen McGovern work with the WHO and governments on their digital COVID-19 resources.

McGovern highlighted that it has never been more important to get back to digital customer experience basics by focusing on clarity and taking time to establish what truly matters to your target audience(s). For many organizations, that means dropping unnecessary design elements by embracing a back to basics, customer-centric approach.

One of the largest challenges McGovern has faced in his career is the growing tendency to measure the success of websites and digital platforms by appearance rather than functionality. Organizations, McGovern argued, need to get their ego out of the way and focus on giving users/customers what they want – the most pressing information or task they wish to accomplish. While this may lead to “aesthetically boring” design, McGovern statistically demonstrated that companies better engage target audiences when they cut out useless imagery, eliminate irrelevant “ego-stroking” icons, and employ simple, direct language. In other words, what you hide in an icon or hamburger menu will not be used, so it is critical to make visible what your customer will need to use the most.

“Great digitalization means organizations getting out of their own way and giving people what they need.”
Gerry Mcgovern
May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum

McGovern then discussed his evidence-based, test-driven approach to information architecture design. The approach, which often involves large global samples, allows designers to discern what matters most – and then translate those insights into highly functional design. A critical part of the process, McGovern added, is senior management. These managers must “bite the bullet” and facilitate the process of making their digital environments easier to navigate. The importance of this transition became even more clear in the wake of COVID-19. As companies, organizations, and governments scrambled to adapt to an even more digital working world, those who transitioned most successfully were those who managed to effectively communicate with target audiences and employees alike on digital platforms.

“The worst way to design a website is to put five smart people in a room with lattes. The longer you leave them in the room, the worse the website will become.”

Gerry McGovern

McGovern’s clear and concise presentation, described as “one of the best and most precisely communicated webinars I’ve heard in a long time,” by one participant, was followed by a Q&A session moderated by NextStep’s Jennifer Vessels. Leaders joined from across the Nordics, including AmCham Norway members Selmer, MSD, Crawford & Co., Fast Solutions, 24SevenOffice, Equinor, Tailormade Consulting, Janssen, Avollon, and Azets, amongst many others.

AmCham Digitalization Forum

AmCham Norway’s Digitalization Forum was initiated in 2016 in response to AmCham member company leaders’ need to better understand digital business environment challenges and opportunities. The series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue.

Please contact us for interest in future forums.

AmCham Digitalization Forum: From Exascale Computing to Critical Considerations

AmCham Digitalization Forum: From Exascale Computing to Critical Considerations

“Any trivial problem can be solved with a pen and paper. Any interesting problem cannot.”

So began Professor Are Magnus Bruaset’s deeply enlightening presentation and roundtable discussion on Simula’s cutting-edge eX3 project. As the institution’s Research Director of Software Engineering and High-Performance Computing, Dr. Bruaset emphasized how improved and novel algorithms are at the epicenter of technological advancement – while demonstrating how limitations in traditional hardware are spawning new, innovative designs that require rethinking of methods and software.

Presenters

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Are Magnus Bruaset – Research Director for Software Engineering and High Performance Computing, Simula Research Laboratory

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Abraham Foss – Former CEO, Telia Norway

Digitalization Forum host Dr. Kyrre Lekve, Simula’s Deputy Managing Director, further explained how the burgeoning, state-owned enterprise collaborates with organizations including UC San Diego, Equinor, Cisco, and The Norwegian Research Council on:

  • Network & Communications Systems (mobile performance & reliability solutions)
  • Software Engineering (mission-critical applications)
  • Scientific Computing (process modeling)
  • Machine Learning (algorithms & health technology)
  • Cybersecurity (cryptography)

Simula’s commercialization efforts within these key areas are key, “with the goal being to build research projects into companies,” according to Dr. Lekve. Unloc, Imerso, Eyr, Facil , and LeadX are but some of the many companies currently or formerly engaged in Simula’s multiple innovation programs.

Every Company Has to Have a Digital Strategy!

Deftly switching gears, Abraham Foss’ deep, real-world understanding of the pitfalls and opportunities in digital transformation processes was echoed by enthusiastic comments from senior forum participants. As the former CEO of Telia Norway, Foss explained that “digitalization is not only about apps, the hard part is producing excellent customer journeys.” The ability of a company to understand who their customers really are, build and transfer competence, determine which processes should be automated, and set acceptable risk tolerances will ultimately determine the success of their digital transformation activities.

“Going forward, regulatory issues will represent the biggest challenges to digitalization initiatives, not technological,” according to Foss. Participants agreed, sharing associated GDPR experiences and deliberating many of Foss’ “critical considerations,” including:

 

  • Think strategically, and sacrifice today
  • Chop up the elephant – one program for everything is impossible
  • Crossover competence is increasingly more important
  • Do not define digitalization as a technical activity – and do not remain on a stratospheric level as a leader
  • Link to partner networks

Presentation Slides (selected)

The AmCham Digitalization Forum

The AmCham Digitalization Forum was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Read more about our Digitalization forum HERE, and please contact us for interest in future forums.

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – November 2019

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum - November 2019

Digitalization and Cloud(s) – Are we Solving Problems or Creating New Ones?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise hosted the latest edition of the AmCham Digitalization Forum at Technopolis in Fornebu. HPE Managing Director Thomas L. Kraft kicked off the session with an engaging presentation on cloud-based opportunities and challenges, which led to an inspiring discussion on digitalization culture in Norway and abroad.

Functionality x Security x Location

Kraft started his presentation by noting that despite the fact that there has been a fair amount consumer criticism about the quality and complexity of digital solutions, it is important to remember that Norway is playing a pioneering role in developing digital solutions in areas such as mobile banking and healthcare – putting Norway ahead of tech centric nations such as Japan.

But when it comes to digital solutions for businesses, Kraft noted that Norway can do better. “Norway means serious business when it comes to digitalization and has made significant progress for its citizens, but what about its businesses?”

Kraft then expanded upon this theme, highlighting how corporate customers in Norway are looking for user friendly cloud-based and data solutions that combine functionality, security, and local, Norway-based service.

Going forward Kraft predicted that more companies will enter the cloud and data space in an effort to help businesses harness and refine data to help operations run seamlessly, inform strategic decision-making processes, and tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

“Norway means serious business when it comes to digitalization and has made significant progress for its citizens, but what about its businesses?”
Thomas Kraft
Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Norway's Digital Culture

While Norway is still very much a digital pioneer, Kraft estimated that approximately 90% of business in Norway is done the old way, using non-cloud based legacy systems – something that is creating headaches for Norway’s growing startup scene when innovative statups must integrate with the larger, more traditional companies that they work with.

“It’s often the case that startups run on serverless platforms, and when these companies are purchased by larger companies, well, that’s where the fun begins. These dynamic young companies can get bogged down integrating their operations into the older systems often employed by more established companies,” he concluded.

It was a sentiment that resonated strongly with other forum participants, who discussed Norwegian digitalization culture more broadly in a flowing roundtable discussion. Next Step CEO and Silicon Valley veteran Jennifer Vessels noted that Norwegian companies and Norwegian affiliates of multinational companies could do a better job of integrating IT across the entirety of their operations, whereas other participants pointed out that digitalization must be better integrated in the Norwegian education system through competent teachers with an understanding of how to “digitalize” their subject so that their students stay ahead of the curve.

Participants noted that a better integration of digitalization in a diversity of academic subjects could also help increase diversity in the IT sector, breaking the mold of the “male tech nerd” and creating a digitally savvy workforce necessary for Norway to remain competitive in an ever more digital global economy.

Cross-industry forum participants included leaders from Verizon, Microsoft, Equinor, Tailormade Consulting, KPMG, Badenoch & Clark, Next Step, Schjødt, Simula, Fast Solutions, Selmer, Isco Group, SAS Institute, Cisco, and the US Embassy.j

Norway performs well, but still ranks behind the Netherlands and Nordic peers Finland, Sweden, and Denmark in the 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2019 Ranking. Source: European Comission, Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2019 Country Report Norway

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – May 2019

Driving Digital Strategy with Harvard's Sunil Gupta

AmCham held a special edition of our quarterly Digitalization Forum at DNB on May 29th. Headlining the forum was Harvard Business School’s Sunil Gupta, author of Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business, who took attendees through how businesses must adjust, adapt, and evolve to thrive in today’s fast-paced digital business climate.

Following his presentation, Gupta joined Cisco’s Trine Strømsnes, Microsoft’s Christopher Frenning, and DNB’s Rasmus Aage Figenschou for a highly engaging panel discussion moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels.

Positioning Your Business For Success

Addressing a capacity assembly of AmCham company leaders, Professor Gupta took the stage at DNB’s Bjørvika headquarters to discuss a wide range of digitalization topics, putting to use his academic experience to engage, challenge, and inspire the audience.

Based upon in-depth digital impact research, his presentation first focused on breaking down the technological revolution. Gupta discussed shifting consumer behavior, noting how the accelerating pace of consumer adaption is changing how businesses interact with consumers and develop technology.

He then took up a topic relevant to most corporate leaders present – how can legacy companies develop an effective digital strategy?

Gupta began by noting two issues companies often employ to tackle the challenge of innovating at scale. The first was the challenge of putting together all of the different innovation and digitalization projects at corporate branches around the world. “In large global companies, every country branch starts doing their own experiments. It is often the case, however, that all these digital experiments add up to nothing,” he noted, before going on the emphasize the importance of a cohesive company strategy.

“The best learning comes from looking across industries. If you just look in your industry, it’s easy to stay second best as you’re simply following the leader.”

Sunil Gupta

Harvard Business School

The second phenomenon Gupta described was the speedboat problem, where companies send promising young talent to corporate outposts in digitalization hotspots like Silicon Valley, concluding that such measures were equivalent to a large cruise ship sending out speed boats to pull it in a different direction.

“The results are mixed,” he noted. “Unless you change the core, that little speedboat you send out is not helpful.”

Gupta then took attendees through cases from Amazon, Best Buy, and US Foods, highlighting how these companies adopted digitally to meet shifting consumer demands, noting key takeaways along the way.

To conclude, Gupta highlighted the importance of cross-industry collaboration, a point showcasing the value of arenas such as AmCham’s cross-industry forums.

“The best learning comes from looking across industries. If you just look in your industry, it’s easy to stay second best as you’re simply following the leader.”

Key Takeaways

Industry boundaries are getting blurred

The rules of strategy development are changing, shifting from the one product – one customer model to the multiple products / multiple customer model

Think about how you can leverage your core strengths to expand into new industries

Start with customer pain points and work backwards

Panel Discussion: Digital Strategy from the Norwegian Perspective

Gupta was then joined by Cisco’s Trine Strømsnes, Microsoft’s Christopher Frenning, and DNB’s Rasmus Aage Figenschou for a panel discussion moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels.

Panelists first focused on the importance of management in adapting to digitalization trends, with Strømsnes noting, “Technology is not a bolt on. It’s an integrated part of any business, and it’s critical management teams see it as a core focus area – not just something for the CTO or IT department.

The scope of the discussion then expanded to broader digitalization trends, including what Microsoft’s Frenning termed the “democratization of technology.”

“We have watched as technology has become truly democratized over the past 20 years,” he began, concluding by noting, “Tech that used to only be available to the largest companies are now being used by three-person startups. And now it is going beyond that – the next level of innovation will come from users themselves.”

The discussion then shifted to the challenge of adapting regulatory frameworks to the quickening pace of technological innovation. A core issue in that debate, according to DNB’s Figenschou, is a lack of consumer knowledge regarding the platforms they interact with, “We as users have not quite understood that tech is moving faster than ever, faster than the ability of consumers to understand who the relationships with, both in terms of data and money.”

“The Norwegian ‘dugnad spirit’ translates to companies, too. We know we can be vulnerable. We can ask for help. We can say we don’t know the answer. That allows us to take leaps and fail fast, learning from our mistakes in ways that really propel the innovation ecosystem here in Norway forward.”

Christopher Frenning

Microsoft

About the AmCham Digitalization Forum

The AmCham Digitalization Forum Series was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – March 2019

Digitalization forum

Event summary

Transformation to a Digital Future

AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger warmly welcomed representatives from invited AmCham member companies at Discovery Network Norway’s Nydalen headquarters for the Q1 edition of AmCham’s long running quarterly Digitalization Forum.

Participants first heard from Discovery Networks Norway CEO Tine Jensen and Senior HR Manager Winta Negassi, with the two discussing the strategic and human resource aspects of guiding a media company through a period of disruption and increased competition.

Attendees then participated in a highly engaging roundtable debate, moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels, with topics including future preparedness, the role of management in facilitating companywide adaptation, and the importance of local content in a globalized world.

Perspectives from the Television Industry – Tine Jensen

In her opening presentation to the forum, Discovery Network Norway CEO Tine Jensen touched upon some of the challenges television companies have faced due to increased industry disruption.

She noted that traditional television companies increasingly found themselves in competition with digital disruptors beginning in 2015. From that point, she noted, the key question for survival quickly became, “Are you able to bring in new business models?”

For Discovery, that came down to investing in the right competencies to turn out the best content at the quickest pace possible – a reflection of today’s high paced digital media environment. She explored the complexities of competing against subscription-based digital newcomers, the advantages and disadvantages of traditional business models in the television industry, and the role of localized content in maintaining a domestic edge.

The Importance of HR in Adapting to Digital Disruption

Winta Negassi, Senior HR Manager for Discovery, then underlined the importance of focusing on human capital in guiding a company through periods of change due to the emergence of new, non-traditional competitors.

Negassi suggested that, instead of getting swept up in a rush to improve technology, increase efficiency and generate quick returns on investment, “The key to managing digital transformation is to understand that regardless of technological advancements, people are still your competitive advantage.”

She then explained how Discovery utilized a four-tiered approach, from instituting digital sales seminars to bringing in guest speakers, to inspire employee confidence as they adapted to the growing role of digital in the television space.

“The key to managing digital transformation is to understand that regardless of technological advancements, people are still your competitive advantage.”

Winta negassi

Senior HR Manager - Discovery Networks Norway

The Role of Management in Adapting to Change

After the conclusion of Negassi’s presentation, participants launched into a lively discussion about the role of management in adapting to change.

A sentiment that resonated with all present, regardless of whether they worked in an industry currently experiencing market disruption, was the importance of corporate foresight – the ability to anticipate change and implement strategies proactively. As one participant reasoned, “If you are vigilantly monitoring changes in your industry and implementing proactive strategies, then you have already planted the seeds necessary to thrive when disruption comes.”

Vessels noted that management does not need to have all the answers, but they do need to give employees the tools necessary to explore new trends and technology – a sentiment built upon by AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger who added, “It is not just about management knowing where the industry is headed, it is also about getting employees to buy in.”

About the Digitalization Forum Series

The AmCham Digitalization Forum Series was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Our next Digitalization Forum on May 29th will feature Harvard Business School’s Sunil Gupta, author of the book Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business. For interest in participating, please contact us at amcham@amcham.no.