October 25, 2017

Highlights from the event: How to succeed with international cooperaion in ICT?

Norway needs IT-competence to succeed with the digital transformation of the Norwegian economy. International cooperation is a part of the solution. Norwegian businesses and organisations need to use IT-capacity in other countries to meet the demand. The questions is how to get it right. 

Heidi Austlid, CEO of ICT Norway

Key note speech by Heidi Austlid, CEO of ICT Norway

This was one of the key messages from the event, “Digitalization: How to succeed with cross-border cooperaion in ICT“, 28th of September organised by the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (NUCC) and Oslo International Hub (OIH). The event was a part of Oslo Innovation Week.

Key note speech was made by Heidi Austlid, CEO of ICT Norway. Heidi said that Norway is world leader on infrastructure and there is a strong willingness in the population to make use of new technology. To succeed with digitalization, Heidi stressed that Norway need more IT-competence.

Panel 1: Thushara Wijewardena, Chief Project Officer of Tiqri, Torstein Solberg, member of the Norwegian Parliament for the Labour Party, and Arne Mjøs, CEO of Itera. Moderator Roger Schjerva, Chief Economist in ICT Norway. Photo: Iryna Yuzhyna

In the first panel, Arne Mjøs, founder and CEO of Itera, Thushara Wijewardena, Chief Project Officer of TIQRI corp and Torstein Solberg, member of the Norwegian Parliament for the Labour Party, discussed the opportunities and risks of international cooperation in IT.

Arne and Thushara explained that using IT-competence in other countries is not only about saving costs, but also about innovation and access to the right competence. Employees in other countries bring new ideas and new perspectives. Torstein pointed out that it is important to secure IT-competence in Norway, but agreed with the others that Norwegian businesses and organisation need to use IT-capacity in other countries to meet the demand for digital solutions in Norway.

In panel debate two, the question was how to succeed with international cooperation in IT. To answer these questions we had Jeanette Louise Rønne, responsible for sale in Evry, Sondre Malde Pedersen, business developer and entrepreneur, Olga Afanasyeva, CEO of UVCA and Pål Wien Espen, special counsel at Wikborg Rein.

Sondre Malde Pedersen, business developer and entrepreneur, and Olga Afanasyeva, CEO of UVCA. Photo: Iryna Yuzhyna

The main advice from panel 2, was to be aware of cultural differences and get to know your partners and colleagues in other countries. The social aspect is also important. Jeanette could tell that in Evry they have virtual coffee breaks with their colleagues in Infopulse in Ukraine. Also the lawyer in the panel, Pål, although the legal framework has to be in order, stressed that insight into cultural differences is important. With background from Telenor, Pål has experience from several Asian and European countries, including Ukraine.

Sondre said that he sees good opportunities for Norwegian startups to find IT-partners in Ukraine. He has already been connecting some Norwegian startups with Ukrainian IT-companies. Olga pointed out that Ukraine has a fast growing and vibrant startup scene, in particular in IT and tech. Both Olga and Pål stressed that international cooperation is important for the development of the country.

Oleh Hrabovetskyi, first secretary at the Ukrainian Embassy to Norway. Photo: Iryna Yuzhyna

After the panel debates, it was time for business meetings and networking. Oleh Hrabovetskyi, first secretary at the Ukrainian Embassy to Norway, opened the Ukrainian part of the program. The participants could discuss and receive proposals from eight excellent Ukrainian and Norwegian companies, with office in Ukraine. You can find the list of companies visiting here.

NUCC believes there is a great potential for business cooperation between Norwegian and Ukrainian companies in IT. Norway lacks IT-specialists to meet the demand. This is the main constraint to growth according to Norwegian IT-companies in ICT Norway’s members survey.

Cake made by Alina Chornovil.

Ukraine has one of Europe’s fastest growing IT-industries and has become an attractive IT and outsoucing destination. Global Sourcing Association (GSA) UK. recently nominated Ukraine as the offshoring destination of the year. A large pool of highly skilled IT-professionals is an important reason why many European companies are now looking to Ukraine. Ukraine is also both geagraphically and culturally relatively close to Europe.

Ukrainian cake and traditional bread (Korovaj) were served. Around 80 business representatives took part in the event. Below you will find pictures of some of the companies represented at the event.


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