In Estonia, a digitisation seminar in the frames of the GoSmart&Excel BSR was held on 20 May in cooperation with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, Valga Municipality and Tartu Science Park, with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurs in South-East Estonia to implement more digitisation and automation.

Lauri Antalainen, founder of Digiwise OÜ, a company specialising in digitalisation consultancy, explained what digitalisation is and why it is important. Digitalisation is the development of processes through the application of information technology. The aim of digitisation is not the implementation of software, but making processes within an organisation more efficient by using software. Digitisation is important because it starts by identifying the weaknesses in existing processes and then looking for modern technological solutions. Once solutions are found, processes will become more efficient and the company will start to see the expected results.

Moon TTM OÜ, a local footwear manufacturer in Valga gave a brief overview about their first steps in the digitisation process. Although the company has operated almost 30 years and has seen good times and bad times over a long period of time, and despite this, for a long time no system had been developed to make the payroll system more logical. Moon looked for its weak point, which was the ticket system for calculating wages, but this was seriously time-consuming. It was decided to go digital and a system was introduced to help calculate piecework pay through a spreadsheet. The results were a  solved problem, time saved and a correct salary. Many companies identify with Moon’s problem and the seminar helped others by giving ideas and sharing Moon’s educational story.

In addition to digitalisation, it is also important to know the importance of automation in a company. Reigo Rusing, a member of the management board of Balsnack OÜ, whose role is to carry out day-to-day development projects, explained in more detail how digitalisation and automation helped to make Balsnack’s sales work more efficient. Balsnack is the only producer of potato wafers in Estonia and finding customers at international trade fairs is an integral part of the job. At trade fairs, 200-500 contacts are collected, which requires time and effort to follow up, so Balsnack digitised its sales contacts by creating an app that takes a picture of the contact, captures the data and also sends the mail with the product information right away. Automation is subsequently used to automatically send out a repeat email in the event of a non-response. As a result, Balsnack spread to 50 countries in two years.

When it comes to the views of different institutions on digitization, Tartu City Government and The Unemployment Insurance Fund are very much in favor of digitization. On “GoSmart&Excel BSR” webinar they explained, how they could support the implementation of digitalisation processes in SME-s. For example, Tartu City Government offers digitalisation voucher for local companies and from 1 May, they offer support for companies also operating in the fields of construction, wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage, and accommodation and catering can also apply for digitization support. Digital support will help to support businesses to make their processes more efficient through the adoption of digital solutions. The grant is capped at €5,000 and requires a digital report.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund offers training grants that can be used due to changing circumstances. This support measure is also used by companies that have taken new machinery or program into use that requires additional training for employees. Here it is important not to forget that this support measure is also open for the CEO of the company.

The Estonian company RAAMPPROJEKT OÜ presented its experience and they received training support from the Unemployment Fund and after that they were able to make its processes more efficient with the help of specialists, it could all work. Be open to ask our innovation broker Laura for advice on digitalisation and grants. 

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