Thursday, December 18, 2008


Estonian Development Fund published recently a survey on what could be the role of IT in Estonian economics. This document most certainly deserves attention. Hopefully the Development Fund will translate it into english also, but here are some points about possible developments.

IT, communication and electronics technology industry itself will probably have a mediocre role in Estonian overall economy and exports. This is mostly due to the fact that at the moment serious ICT technological development demands huge resources and hundreds of specialists that we just don't have. But on the other hand our small size, flexibility and openness is a benefit as we can implement IT technology in other industries fast and they will be more efficient thanks to that. So the primary role of ICT in Estonian econoby will be using it in the most current and effective way.

Most of Estonian IT skills are in the field of finances and IT security. That is due to the fact that banks are our biggest IT buyers. Now we also have the NATO IT security center that most certainly helps to develop good IT security specialists.

In the near future the biggest social changes in Estonia, the Western Europe will be driven by the aging population, Peak Oil and environment (Global Warming). This in turn means that our societies need to rethink healthcare, education, industry, energy production and effectiveness, governing.
The only effective tool that we currently have for coping with these changes is ICT. So the challenge is bringing heavy ICT use into all these sectors.
So according to the study in Estonia we must change the ICT sectors priorities and build up strong skills besides finance and security also in eHealth, e-education, e-industry, e-energy and e-governing.

The next steps.
Development fund will finish the survey and publish it. The next concrete step will be that the our Ministry of Economics will have a 100 MEEK fund for giving the IT sector additional boost and they will use this survey as an input for the way of using this investment. The best option for spending this money is hiring some 6 world-class IT professors for a five year period for Tartu University and Tallinn Technical University. This will make the IT faculties more popular and also give a better and more openminded education to the students. I hope this will happen.

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