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President of Kongsberg Digital Hege Skryseth believes Norway needs to decide what it wants to do best.
Position: EVP Kongsberg Group and President Kongsberg Digital
Digitalisation is one of the most important, if not the most important, transformer of the industries with which we work.
To achieve the goal of leading international digital development, Kongsberg Digital has more than 500 software experts, and Hege Skryseth as the head of it all – one of Norway’s top IT experts. The company represents one of three business areas in Kongsberg Gruppen, and was established to develop the next generation of digitalised products, including e.g. autonomous oil platforms, ships and wind farms.
“We see that digitalisation is one of the most important, if not the most important, transformer of the industries with which we work. That is why we want to take a position on the field. We are trying to gaze into the future, to the extent possible,” says Skryseth.
The top executive is one of Norway’s leading voices in debates on digitalisation and technological development. She studied at the Norwegian School of Information Technology (NITH), BI Norwegian Business School and the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), and became an executive for the first time at 29. Before she became President of Kongsberg Digital, she was the head of Microsoft Norway and Geodata. Skryseth is on multiple committees and boards to promote technological contributions in society and is a board member in NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise), as well as in other organisations. She has also worked to provide input to former Minister of Modernisation Morten Meyer (Conservative Party) and former Minister of Reform Heidi Grande Røys (Socialist Left Party).
“Technology and digitalisation are important for societal development. It’s exciting to be able to take part in establishing the agenda,” says Skryseth.
In 2017, she won “Digital Changemaker of the Year” during the Smart Ship Awards in Singapore. The jury wrote that, under her leadership, Kongsberg Digital has delivered products which “exemplify the digital growth in the maritime and shipping sector”.
“It is very gratifying to receive this award, and I believe it is important that Norway is put on the map,” says Skryseth.
Wants to unify forces
Skryseth believes that the digital development has led to business sectors becoming less based on sectors. Partly because the technology being developed is more often multidisciplinary, partly because the business models are adopted between different sectors. Solutions that are developed on the maritime side can for example also be used within oil and gas.
“Before, you had to relate to one value chain. If you worked with oil and gas, that was your value chain. What is happening now is that new players are suddenly entering new value chains. We have seen many examples of this in the content and media industry, with the entry of Facebook and Google.”
According to Skryseth, the development requires today’s managers to lift their gaze. Norwegian managers need a digital competence boost in order to lead businesses and administration through the upcoming challenges.
She believes Norway should unify its forces to win in international competitions. Because although Norway is at the forefront within technological development, particularly within oil and gas, it is major US tech companies that dominate the digitalisation field. If we are going to join in the fight, we must work together.
“We need to be aware of how the digital development will affect a country like Norway, and we need to decide which positions we want to take. And here I am talking about everything from education, to research institutions and businesses. We need to decide what Norway wants to do best.”