Saturday, January 7, 2012

Services 2020

Tarja Tuominen from the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) presented a study by EK explaining the general forces for change in service industries operative environment. She also elaborated on competences required in 2020 for international service organizations.

According to EK study, the key forces for change are
a) globalization - enhancing internationalization and multiculture of services, multinational companies, increased competition and new kind of businesses
b) technological development and digitalization, creating prerequisites for services
c) networking - creating business opportunities across service sectors
d) ageing - threat for a competent workforce, setting challenges for responding to customer needs.

The underlying theme within Tuominen´s presentation was customer needs. Tuominen emphasized how we face customers, how we evaluate their needs, how we fulfil the requirements and competences providing the services.

Another trend within the services evolution seemed to be convergence of service sectors. You can see integration of services within various branches, resulting in providing packages of services. In Finland an example of such are the combinations of social services, real estate, retail and IT services, which can be seen merging for eg senior citizens.

According to EK, the trends and change factors set requirements for new competences towards 2020. The common competences needed are social skills, international operations and utilization of technologies. This does not sound like a groundbreaking news - but in the current market environment service providers already face problems of operating in the global market, lacking needed skills. Although companies are not active in the international market, globalization will affect domestic operations as well. It is important to be able to anticipate changes.

I think we say we learn for life. But there has to be some thought and discipline in regards to what takes the Finnish industries - and service businesses - forward internationally. Thus, engines for change are needed in a planned, systematic way, including educational plans as well as companies HR and HR development strategies.