A journey to digital business starts by transforming everything

Wärtsilä is building a new purpose for the company.  

Wärtsilä is a globally operating advanced smart marine and smart energy solutions provider, which has provided a holistic strategy to transform the company as a digitally enabled service company within their key sectors. The company history is related to designing, manufacturing and delivering advanced solutions, with a complementary service portfolio.

Today the company is in the middle of a transformation process towards a digitally enabled service company for the Marine and Energy sectors.

Changing mind and set

The technology group Wärtsilä introduced ambitious smart marine and smart energy visions during the last year. The visions emphasize Wärtsilä’s commitment to promoting a low emission economy and providing intelligent ways of producing and using energy.

Transformation is not only about technology. It is a fundamental journey with a new mindset, business models and culture. Wärtsilä has rethought almost every aspect of its business, although the company’s century-long industrial history forms a strong base for its digital future.

One of the major tasks for a manufacturing company when entering in to the digital services, is to change the clock speed. It means both the speed of operations and innovations.

 “Get the HR director on board”

Transformation needs new expertise. However, it also needs the 18 000 existing persons already working for the company. Therefore, Wärtsilä has invested heavily in culture change programs. The company has appointed even a Vice President who is responsible for leading the culture change.

”Get the HR director on board from the start, as it will challenge some of the learning and development programs already in place”, says Marco Ryan, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Key learnings of the Wärtsilä’s digital transformation journey:

  1. The key drivers for success are culture, leadership and people leading to the state of the art Digital IQ
  2. Sponsorship of the board and seamless dialogue between the board and management are essential
  3. The clock speed change improvement is needed both for operations and innovations
  4. Re-inventing the business models, technologies and services.


A longer version of this article was published in the Bordview magazine in June 2018.