Digitizing Denmark

Helping Denmark achieve #1 spot in EU in digitization

Written by Michael “Evil Boss” Rangstrup

Denmark is investing heavily in the IT infrastructure and have in 2018 been appraised as the leading country in Europe in terms of digitization according to the DESI 2018 index. The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises relevant indicators of Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.


RITVN – having Denmark as our biggest market – are a major contributor to the digitization of the Danish Society within especially the two key factors of “Digital Public Services” and “Integration of Digital Technology by businesses”. We have over the last many years worked on a number of very large projects in Denmark for both the state and municipalities as well as a number of private companies. We have especially been involved in the setup of authentication and authorization systems that ensure that the right people get access to the right information – or perhaps even more importantly – that the wrong people do not get hold of information they are not entitled to. This is an area that is receiving a lot of attention globally these days due to the growing fear of state supported and private hacking efforts. Some of our setups are handling 100s of login attempts per seconds while others ensure federated access management between networks of business entities with 100s of organizations.

RITVN has also worked on developing software that manage the extensive data of central state owned organizations like the Court Systems and various Environmental Agencies. We are also developing several production and process management systems for large Danish private enterprises, ensuring that their competitiveness stays on top globally. Danish salaries and cost structures are in average so high, that the cost/benefit calculation of optimization generally favors innovation and renewal.

Being a software supplier with a focus on the Danish market puts us in an extremely advantageous position. Danish organizations are constantly looking to utilize the newest ideas and state-of-the-art technologies to digitize processes. We therefore get to use cutting edge technologies on many of our projects, making RITVN one of the best places to learn and experience what the future will bring.

We will in the following describe some of the efforts and ideas that have placed Denmark as #1 and which also impact the software development projects that are and have been offered to RITVN.

The efforts start from a political level. Denmark has a clear long term digital strategy that is supported by both the government and opposition. It is generally understood by all political parties, that the only way to ensure a continued prosperous society is to keep digitizing across both the public and private sector. It is understood that disruption of current practices is necessary for our long term survival, even when it means that many affected jobs become obsolete.

Examples of disruption in Denmark are many:

  • Goods in many major logistics operations are now transported around by driverless forklift trucks and processed by robots.
  • Travellers are checking in via terminals in the airport and even scanning their own luggage.
  • Customers are scanning their own goods in the supermarket and paying via terminals.
  • Bank services are more or less now only conducted via the web. During the last 20 years, the number of bank tellers have dropped by more than 70%.
  • Companies never have to go to public offices to manage their paperwork. Everything from handling taxes to payroll are handled online. There are generally very few public services that have not been automated to some extent.
  • The Danish metro is completely driverless.

The above are of course not unique to Denmark, but the extent to which you will find them implemented in Denmark is what makes it different. Visiting or living in Denmark, you will experience the digitization efforts whereever you go.

When working on many of the projects that we do, it can be hard to comprehend how our work is actually part of this long term strategy of automation, but most of what we do are in fact one of the next small steps forward. Many of our projects regard the development of publically accessible web services allowing access of data collected by the state. E.g. we have for many years worked on making geospatially tagged environmental data available via web services. Private companies can – free of charge – integrate to these web services and thus develop systems that automatically take such data into account in their own systems. Whether it regards pollution factors on any piece of land in Denmark or where to find a certain plant or where the cleanest bathing water is or which areas have problems with rats; it can be accessed real-time and with exact geographical coordinates. As data is made available so are the opportunities for disruption.

It is indeed interesting times to be a software developer – and we will probably – and hopefully – be one of the services that cannot easily be automated in the coming years!