Estonia: a Forerunner in Digitalization

To begin with, we, as a part of today’s community of people, live in a world that is constantly changing. And, generally speaking, the 21st century often related to as the information age or the time in the history of technology. In fact, all kinds of digital technologies put into everyday life. Digitalization affects everything that can be digitized. Making us more and more dependent on technology. Can you imagine the present age without digital technologies and inventions of new things? Having said that, let’s explore the situation in the European Union (EU).

Estonian desi rankings

By Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2017 rankings, countries such as Denmark, Finland, and Sweden have the most advanced digital economies in the EU. The digitalization economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies. And is possible through the process of digitalization. It is also swiftly developing all over the world. Therefore constantly changing the world as we know it today. Also, DESI used to track the progression of EU member states in digital competitiveness through five linking components. Connectivity, workers, use of the internet, integration of digital technology, digital public services.

The latest statistic shows that in DESI rankings Estonia places in the ninth position overall. Estonia falls behind the Nordic countries said before. As well as other European countries such as the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, the data also shows us that Estonia is the leading country in the EU in the online put. Into operation of digitalization public services. The focus is mainly based on short for an electronic government. This feature used to measure the success and development of such things as digitization and modernization of public services. That can lead to effectiveness both for the groups of managers and people. As a result, a country with only 1.3 million residents is a close rival to its Nordic neighbours. So, what is the story behind the success of Estonia?

The picture shows statistics of digital economy and society
Picture 1: Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2017

eGovernment services of digitalization

As we can see eGovernment services in the EU 2016, online public these days are becoming easier to use in the whole Europe. To illustrate, 81% of data now digitalized, available online. One of the important things of Estonia’s success, for instance, is the creation of e-Estonia. A long movement by the government whose goal is to combine person interactions with the state using many electronic solutions. Such as e-Residency, e-School, e-Tax, i-Voting and many others. Estonia has received worldwide recognition as a digitalization community of people. And often believed as one of the most technologically smart communities in the world.

So, by using different parts of integrated e-services, Estonia has become a better functioning state. By helping its people to save a great amount of time and energy in everyday life. For example, people of Estonia don’t have to worry about spending hours in a line while waiting for a doctor or in voting. Instead, a prescription for medicine can buy online. The same as participating in elections is possible online, regardless of your location. All you have to do is check your identity using an ID card.

As well as, people in charge of Estonia spent many years trying to find out the best way for exchanging important data. As the years went by, in 2014 Estonia shocked the world by the first country to offer e-Residency. It is a transnational identity available to anyone, despite their location. As referred to homepage, e-Residency offers to every world person a government-issued digital identity. As well as, the opportunity to run a trusted company online, freeing the world’s entrepreneur.

X-Road is a very important tool or for making integrated e-services in Estonia possible. It was designed already back in 2001. And ever since then has been constantly improved. X-Road is important between diverse databases. Therefore, making all kinds of data easily accessible by the people in charge that approved. In fact, sharing data between countries, not only locally. Now is slowly becoming more and more possible. For instance, Estonia and Finland are linking their electronic health records.

The picture shows network of digitalization
Picture 2: X-Road connecting many databases

Last but not least, Toomas Hendrik Ilves,  president of Estonia, believes that Estonia has one of the cleanest governments in the world. For that people’s trust in the Estonian government is at a high level. Estonia is attracting many small business starters from all over the world. Until now, nearly 6000 e-Residency cards have been given to people in 119 different countries. To sum up, the statistic about the success of Estonia speaks for itself. Making us wonder how a big role in the time history of technology Estonia will play in the following years.



DESI                    Digital Economy                   eGovernment                              e-Residency

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Why is it smart to do business in Tallinn?

How do you see yourself and your business company next year at this very same time? Wise decisions are valuable and important for your company. Ever had any thoughts that business functions don’t go smoothly enough? The digital environment is old and the progress seems to move at snail’s pace? But the future is now, so all that must be frustrating.

We should know since we (the authors) are located in Tallinn. This is one of the most or even the most digitally developed country in the world.

Estonia: a digitally developed country

What is it then that makes Estonia so advanced, tech-savvy and business-friendly?

The tiny North European country has learned hard lessons from its neighbours. The economy has not suffered from Brexit. The important indicators, such as GDP and unemployment rate, among many others are rather good compared to most of Europe. Brexit has so far meant great success for Estonia’s interests and business world. This because citizenship applications from Britain to Estonia have increased tenfold compared to the previous year. This is the result of the unique system. This system where anyone can apply for a digital e-citizenship of Estonia.  Even if you have never been anywhere near the country.

With e-residency, people all over the world are able to use Estonia’s digital services. Which in turn you’ll get cover for example bank services. Most of Europe is feeling the heat about the recent Brexit vote and wondering, waiting what will happen next.

Estonia keeps being one step ahead in the digitalization race.



Trendiest word ever: digital. This has been repeated as the most essential development in the future. For example, in Finland, the reactions have been far from the theories. Estonia, on the other hand, has been taking big steps and going forward much faster than any of its neighbours. This makes sense in a way. Tallinn has been the heart for business and start-ups, for hundreds of years. The banal Soviet decades are long gone but not forgotten.

Here is the thing:

There really is no magic behind the Estonian success. That is why it is time to make a shortlist of the key points. Why is business great in Estonia and what to expect when trying to make a living in the Pearl of Baltics?

1) Strength in innovation

One can be surprised to see how well new things are being put in place Estonia. It is as if there is no middle man slowing things down like in many other Western countries.

Yes, Estonia is an Ex-Soviet satellite state but exceeding that fact they have been able to balance themselves without mental devastation. While thriving with adaptability and resilience. These abilities are in high demand everywhere nowadays. Comparing present-day Estonia to the 90’s version. This can help you to realise that change is always possible, and also going to happen. It is all about how we change to it and take our chances.

There are those who stick to the old and don’t want to believe that the world is changing. Well, it never stopped changing but the nature of things is now faster than ever. Global market and the total youth of the concept of work might be a nightmare. Only to those who fear regeneration and future itself. In Estonia, the future has been seen as it should be: full of opportunities waiting to be seized.

For example, digitalization innovations, such as e-residency. These do not get any faster and easier for you for doing real business in Estonia! There are already over ten thousand e-residents and a lot of them have never even touched the Estonian soil. The system is globally unique. You see, this is the innovativeness. Estonian companies get more customers and grow faster than ever because of this and all the other amazing digital applications. The next level of internationalization has already seen daylight in the most advanced digital society in the world. Others might want to take a leaf out of their book and follow.

2) Cost-effectiveness

Seriously though, where else do you get to see things running so smoothly as in Estonia? They started from the bottom 25 years ago. When entering the world of independent and free nations. Celebrating its 25th year of complete freedom it is a must to raise a toast for Estonia at this point!

Since 1991 the economy has been steadily growing with praise from the economic world. A liberal economy policy is one key to growth. Not to mention the low-tax system. The 1/3 labour costs that companies face here compared to those of, for example, Finland or Sweden. This has not been unrecognised by the world’s biggest trading and banking organisations.  Such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. That praise Estonia is an absolutely great place for business. The small country has made its mark and showed to the giants that the nation in white, black and blue is the one to look up to.

3) Digitalization

Want to open a bank account in Estonia without actually being there physically? Possible! And so it is visiting Estonian library to read today’s paper among many other benefits when you get yourself an e-residency. Voting is also possible online and this e-Voting. This concept has been estimated to be 16 times cheaper compared to the traditional way of voting.

While most of the nations are still considering the possibilities and the fears of digital. In Estonia, it is a whole different story. You can never become successful if your way of surviving is all about imitating the ones you look up to. By the time you get to their level, they will already have moved on to bigger things. Hard work, research, and can-do-attitude will eventually play out fine for you.

A point has been reached where Estonia is the precursor in the digitalization. Identity, health, education, social services, you name it. What will you be a pioneer in?

This digital aspect is also the key point when considering a country to do business in. Things actually work with digital solutions and less paperwork. This means more action and time to concentrate on whatever you consider relevant. Fast, reliable, digital, paperless and less bureaucracy. Is this not the way you have always wanted to see the world go round since the first days of the internet?