Over the past 15 years, Business Finland (formerly Tekes and Finpro) has supported the digitalisation of Finnish companies’ business operations helping them create global competitive advantages in their fields. Tekes has also supported research related to digitalisation. During the winter and spring, MDI, together with Owal Group, Melkior and Resolute HQ, carried out an evaluation of thirteen programmes promoting the digitalisation of Business Finland in the period 2005–2019. The work produced a comprehensive assessment of the strategic relevance of the implementation of these programmes, the success of the implementation concepts of the programmes as well as the results and impacts. The evaluation focused on the synergies and added value in respect of the development of Finnish digitalisation generated by several parallel and indeed subsequent programmes.
The programmes were assessed as covering a wide range of digitalisation themes and addressing the various ongoing technological revolutions as well as the need to promote digitalisation. In addition, lessons have been learned from the programmes about the functionality of various programme implementation concepts, which can be utilised in the design of new programmes. The evaluated programmes have strengthened long-term readiness for the development and utilisation of digital technology in Finland, enabled the creation of new research data and new development work, strengthened joint development between actors, promoted business growth and business development and generally contributed to improving the competitiveness of Finnish actors. The added value of the programmes has been significant across several digitalisation themes.
The evaluation produced development recommendations related to e.g., how Business Finland should promote digitalisation in Finland in the future, how the programme instrument should be developed and how R&D&I and exports should be strategically promoted. The preservation of digitalisation as a key theme on Business Finland’s agenda, the connection of research and development to EU-level and international networks and funding and the fact that the goals of digitalisation development work are scaled with sufficient ambition to the global market and key themes (e.g., green transition) were particularly important.