European Information Technology eXchange

:: IT Outsourcing :: BPO :: Nearshore :: Offshore ::


Comdex Scandinavia


Goteborg (Sweden) 20 - 22 January 2004


Date: 28.01.2004

  Categories: market information, trends  

Scandinavia: active in IT off-shore outsourcing


Scandinavian countries are considered one of the most active and open to IT off-shore outsourcing offers from low cost countries. Comdex Scandinavia is the largest IT trade fair in the region. About 250 companies participated at the fair mostly from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Germany. Interestingly, companies neither from Pakistan, India, China or Russia, the classical IT and IT enabled services outsourcing destinations, nor from other low cost countries and regions, such as South-East Asia  and the Middle-East, participated - as exhibitors - at Comdex Scandinavia. However, a few visitors from these countries were roaming around the floor looking for prospective contacts. An exception was Latvia, showcasing a collective stand at the fair (see: country information Latvia for more details). Unexpected exhibitor were the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation and the Arizona Department of Commerce.


Comdex Scandinavia (see also


The key focus areas this year were:


Human language technologies and language systems (dictionaries, translators, language recognition, etc.). Document and character recognition and voice processing.

Security. As ever in the last few years security was an important issue at Comdex. A number of global IT security companies were present at Comdex (F-Secure, McAfee, Norman Data Defense Systems)

Project management systems. Project management and collaboration was an important subject at Comdex. Various systems were presented, from simple Microsoft Excel based solutions to complex ASP models.

Content management solutions

Document and workflow management, business decision support system)

Car technologies and traffic systems (interactive navigation systems, tracking, in-car telematics)


Only a few ERP, CRM, HRM and other key business systems were presented at the fair. See also the selected exhibitors list.


The IT sector in Scandinavia


The Scandinavian IT market (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway) amounts to Euro 29 billion. The economic downturn in the manufacturing industry had a negative overall impact on IT spending as well. The market declined in 2002 and showed moderate recovered in 2003. Countries in the region experienced an early reaction to the volatile general economic conditions. Finland is expected to lead the recovery of the IT sector in the region.

The slow growth of systems and infrastructure affected the software market. The ever weak hardware market, and the postponing of major IT projects did not help recovery. Stronger demand was seen in the application solutions segment.  This was the driving factor of minimal growth in 2003.

In general the weak and unpredictable economic conditions, the limited number of major IT projects and the declining hardware and software investments continued to hamper spending on IT and IT consulting services.

Outsourcing is in demand.  This represent opportunities for services suppliers also from low cost countries. Outsourcing also means increased focus on operation management. The demand for wireless technology is increasing which is expected to drive infrastructure investments, new services and service level innovations for the coming years.


Open eyes on off-shore outsourcing...


The status of knowledge and understanding of IT off-shore outsourcing among the Comdex exhibitors;


Scandinavian companies, at large, are quite open to learn about opportunities in off-shore IT outsourcing

Size does matter: at Comdex quite a number of small (5 25 people) companies exhibited. These enterprises in general did not respond favorably to an outsourcing offer. In most cases this is due to the fact that the small management team (who are often also the owners or major shareholders) are directly involved in product design, development, support and sales.

Larger companies are very open for an outsourcing offer. However many of them would have difficulties to separate software design (high added value activity, which they would not want to outsource on the first instance), coding (low added value, labor intensive process), customer service and support. This indicates a serious problem with process maturity with a number of organizations.

The level of knowledge and understanding of off-shore IT outsourcing shows a mixed picture. Most information companies absorbed from IT magazines, general press and from each other. India, China and the Eastern European Countries (Baltic States, Bulgaria, Poland) are mentioned as known outsourcing destinations. Information is not available on countries and opportunities. Companies often do not know about specialized on-line information sources on off-shore IT outsourcing. However they were very positive on learning about such an information source and receive regular information on the subject. An area of particular interest was; information on the risks involved in off-shore outsourcing. Many companies mentioned that they are regularly approached by companies from low income countries with an IT outsourcing offer. However they get information exclusively on the positive aspects of outsourcing and the countries. Only a few companies have structured and reliable information on the risks involved and the way risks can be mitigated.

As a result of the recent labor issues surfaced in the United States companies expressed their concerns about their employees and their reaction to an eventual off-shore outsourcing decision.



2004 all rights reserved by