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Forging the digital approach

Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer & Executive Vice President, and a member of the Board of Management, talks us through the opening stages of the company’s digital transformation.

My appointment as Chief Digital Officer in the third quarter of 2016 was both an acknowledgement of Wärtsilä’s appetite for development in this area, and a signal of our determination to be on the front line in dealing with the disruption that digital will have on the industries we serve.

When completing a broad survey of the company in the following weeks, I saw an abundance of great digital initiatives already underway. The foundations are superb, but consistency amongst them has to be strengthened, and a robust vision of our way forward must be established and then communicated across the organisation.

"A robust vision of our way forward must be established and then communicated across the organisation."

I see the short-term future as one of perfecting the core business around digital. Experience tells me this can be a huge eliminator of inefficiency in a company. For Wärtsilä, this means a revision of the basic processes to improve the status quo, making our current business as efficient and productive as possible.

We can provide a huge amount of value to our customers by making Wärtsilä easier to do business with, and the initial programme of digital development we have undertaken holds the key to this. This will include, for example, more standardisation of interfaces, operating alongside our recent brand refresh to ensure consistency wherever and however our customers encounter our solutions.

But this early stage also represents an essential layer of preparation for a greater and more profound digital transformation to come. There’s an awareness here, from management level down, that entirely new business models are on the horizon. By embarking upon a new path of strategic thinking, these can be spearheaded, and this is the long-term goal for my team and myself.

"Wärtsilä’s customers can rely upon our dedication to delighting them with a constantly improving digital experience."

What approach do we adopt towards innovation, corporate venturing, disruption, and the eco-system around start-ups? How do we partner, and through which platforms? And how do we leverage all this digital development to drive growth?

In the coming months, many of these questions will be addressed, and a harmonised structure of answering actions revealed. In addition to surveying organisational readiness for change, 2016 has been about establishing our own appetite for transformation as a company. Once the ambition level for this next wave of development is set, the path will become much clearer. Keep your ears open for the result – we won’t be shy about sharing it when the moment arrives.

But wherever we position ourselves in this regard, two facts are already clear: Wärtsilä’s customers can rely upon our dedication to delighting them with a constantly improving digital experience, and our stakeholders can rest assured that we are focused on capturing the most lucrative long-term opportunities on the horizon.

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