“It is the company’s management’s task to understand what kind of technology exists, how it is used, and how it changes the business,” says Anna-Mari Ylihurula, DNA's SVP, Corporate Business.

Energy, accessibility, and safety: technology leads towards sustainable digitalization

From the perspective of sustainability, technology has two sides. On the one hand, technology opens ways to solve humanity's most challenging problems. On the other hand, the technology industry consumes a significant amount of energy and other natural resources.

Digital is here to stay, and it inevitably consumes energy. Therefore, sustainable operators must think carefully about energy use and energy resources. For example, replacing 3G networks with clearly more energy-efficient 5G networks is an act of responsibility. The amount of transferred data increases, but the energy requirement per data bit decreases. The origin of electricity also matters. All electricity purchased directly by DNA is renewable, and starting in 2025, more than 80 percent of the electricity will come from Finnish wind farms.

Digital accessibility enables participation

"Sustainability is too often thought of only in terms of environmental issues. In addition, company management must consider various issues related to social responsibility and good governance. One theme close to us as an operator is digital responsibility. We feel that in a digitalizing society, we are responsible for keeping people and organizations involved and safe," says Anna-Mari Ylihurula, DNA's SVP, Corporate Business. 

A key part of the operators’ sustainability in the telecommunications and technology sector is ensuring that the accessibility, usability, and security of digital services are at a high level. 

"We must ensure that digitalization offers our customers more advantages than threats, and an important part of sustainable digitalization is security. Service processes anticipating threats and concrete customer solutions are particularly important. Such are, for example, network and service management services that automatically scan network traffic, distinguishing good traffic from bad. A concrete example is DNA Selausturva, which prevents the user from accidentally ending up on harmful websites," advises Ylihurula. 

Digital responsibility also includes managing the way people speak about digital content. The specific vocabulary used in the technology industry can make it difficult for decision-makers, for example, to understand why certain costs are rising and what requires attention.   

"You have to recognize the effects of the jargon prevailing in the field. Jargon is an easy hide when you don’t understand the value or benefit of the technology for the customer. At worst, discriminatory technology talk can lead the customers being asked to make overly complicated technical choices. Our task is to understand the operational needs of our customers and recommend the most suitable, sustainable solutions,” Ylihurula points out. 

Looking to the future is responsible management 

Understanding, experimenting, developing, and utilizing new technologies is the core of future-proof business. Open-mindedness and innovation are important for companies and society's development and competitiveness. 

"Each manager must ensure that their understanding of future requirements is sufficient. Digital development and responsibility issues are changing the business environment so fundamentally that focusing only on meeting regulatory requirements is not enough. You must see the threats and opportunities, walk in the vanguard, and show the direction,” Anna-Mari Ylihurula emphasizes. 

 In most organizations, separate digital strategies and digital leaders remain as short-term stopgaps. 

"Digitalization must be built into the organization's strategy. It is the company’s management’s task to understand what kind of technology exists, how it is used, and how it changes the business. Every manager should be interested in the changes in their business environment and the possibilities of technology. They should not outsource such a big topic only to a specific role,” says Ylihurula. 

In the telecoms and IT sector, issues such as directives on cybersecurity and responsibility reporting, and new legislation on the recycling of electronic equipment are now on the agenda. Each of these requires companies and organizations to take action to ensure business continuity and sustainability. The great thing is that most of them offer the opportunity to gain a new competitive advantage. 


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