The Community for Technology Leaders
RSS Icon
Subscribe
Issue No.04 - October-December (2011 vol.33)
pp: 45-55
Mikko Valorinta , Capgemini, Finland
Tomi Nokelainen , Tampere University of Technology, Finland
ABSTRACT
<p>The retail industry in Finland was at the national forefront in terms of computer adoption shortly after the Second World War. Analyzing the societal, organizational, and industry-specific preconditions and the drivers for this early adoption, both at industrial and organizational levels, helps illustrate how this development unfolded inside the four major retailing organizations in Finland from the 1950s to the late 1970s.</p>
INDEX TERMS
History of computing, retailing, wholesaling, business computing, computer adoption, computers and society, Finland
CITATION
Mikko Valorinta, Tomi Nokelainen, "Introduction and Early Use of Computers in the Finnish Retail Industry", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.33, no. 4, pp. 45-55, October-December 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.76
REFERENCES
1. In Finland, the retailing, banking, and insurance industries were the first major industries to embrace computers for business use (at the end of 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s); see A.T. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta [This is How Finland Was Made into an Information Society], Talentum, 2003.
2. J.W. Cortada, "Commercial Applications of the Digital Computer in American Corporations, 1945–1995," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 18, no. 2, 1996, pp. 18–29.
3. J.W. Cortada, "The Digital Hand: How Information Technology Changed the Way Industries Worked in the United States," Business History Rev., vol. 80, no. 4, 2006, pp. 755–766.
4. G. Alberts, "Appropriating America: Americanization in the History of European Computing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 32, no. 2, 2010, pp. 4–7; J. Yates, Structuring the Information Age: Life Insurance and Technology in the Twentieth Century, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2005.
5. See T. Misa, "Understanding 'How Computing Has Changed the World,'" IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 29, no. 4, 2007, pp. 52–63.
6. OTK stands for OsuusTukkuKauppa [Cooperative Wholesale] and TUKO for TukkuKauppojen Oy [Wholesalers' Ltd.]. Kesko derives from Kauppiaiden KESKus Osakeyhtiö [Retailer's Central Ltd.]. S Group refers to a number of cooperative enterprises constituting the group, with SOK (Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta [Central Organization of Finnish Retail Cooperatives]) as its central coordinating organization.
7. We interviewed nine senior IT professionals, each employed by one or more of the four retailers. All interviews were conducted by M. Valorinta: P. Hakala (IT Specialist and later IS manager at OTK), 6 July 2007; P. Juhola (TUKO's first IT manager), 21 Dec. 2009; K. Kiviharju, (IT specialist and IT manager at OTK, later IT manager at S Group), 16 May 2007; E. Kohonen, (IT specialist at TUKO, later IT manager and CIO at OTK), 4 July 2007; I. Laakso (administrative director at TUKO), 18 Dec. 2009; I. Luukkonen (IT specialist at OTK), 27 June 2007; P. Peitola, (IT specialist and IT manager at Kesko), 29 May 2007; S. Polojärvi, (IT specialist and IT manager at TUKO), 13 June 2007; and A. Valkama, (IT specialist at and later CIO of S Group), 30 May 2007. All the interviews were semistructured, lasting 1.5 to 2 hours, and were recorded. We used follow-up discussions and email correspondence to complete and verify the data we derived from the interviews. Additionally, we talked to retail industry experts (such as an IBM retail industry account director in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s) and to other knowledgeable executives from the case organizations. These discussions gave us contextualizing background information but are not used in this study as formal sources.
8. The data come from six sources types: historical studies on information technology adoption and use in Finland in general, historical studies on information technology adoption and use in the Finnish retail industry, academic studies of the Finnish retail industry, retailers' official corporate histories, retailers' annual reports, and retailers' corporate archives.
9. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 15–17, 61–65. L. Heide, Punched-Card Systems and the Early Information Explosion 1880–1945, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2009, pp. 128–137.
10. P. Paju, "National Projects and International Users: Finland and Early European computerization," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, no. 4, 2008, pp. 77–91. Concerning IBM's market position, see also H. Andersin, "The Role of IBM in Starting Up Computing in the Nordic Countries," History of Nordic Computing, J. Bubenko, J. Impagliazzo, and A. S⊘lvberg eds. Springer, 2005, pp. 33–43.
11. Paju,, "National Projects and International Users"; P. Paju, "Ilmarisen Suomi" ja sen tekijät. Matematiikkakonekomitea ja tietokoneen rakentaminen kansallisena kysymyksenä 1950-luvulla [Building 'Ilmarinen's Finland:' The Committee for Mathematical Machines and Computer Construction as a National Project in the 1950s], Univ. of Turku, C 269, 2008.
12. H. Paavola et al., "The Finnish Retail Market: Overview," European Retail Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2009, pp. 183–214.
13. H. Tervo, Kotimaankaupan suuntaviivat vuoteen 1995 [The Directions of Domestic Trade until 1995], Univ. of Jyväskylä, 1986, pp. 65–67.
14. J-A. Lamberg et al., "Competitive Dynamics, Strategic Consistency, and Organizational Survival," Strategic Management J., vol. 30, no. 1, 2009, pp. 45–60.
15. N. Home, Kyläkaupasta Supermarketiin [From Village Shop to Supermarket], Gaudeamus, 1977.
16. K. Hoffman, K-Kaupan historia [History of Kesko], Kauppiaiden kustannus, 1983, p. 323.
17. Hoffman, K-Kaupan historia, pp. 402–403.
18. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 123–124.
19. T. Herranen, Yhdessä eteenpäin—SOK 100 vuotta [Forward Together— SOK 100 Years], Edita, 2004.
20. K. Kivistö, "Teollisuuden atk:n alku Suomessa" [The Early Stages of Industrial EDP in Finland], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa [The First Years of Information Technology in Finland], M. Tienari ed., Suomen ATK-Kustannus, 1993, pp. 127–140.
21. Home, Kyläkaupasta Supermarketiin, pp. 122–129; Lamberg et al., , "Competitive Dynamics, Strategic Consistency, and Organizational Survival." Similar developments have been documented in the retail industry elsewhere in Europe; see J. C. Maixe-Altes, "Interpreting the Early Stages of the Self-service Revolution in Europe: the Modernization of Food Retailing in Spain, 1947–1972," MPRA Papers, no. 18164, 2009.
22. Home, Kyläkaupasta Supermarketiin, pp. 122–129.
23. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 71–72; K. Kiviharju interview; I. Luukkonen interview; Y. Runko, "Materiaalivalvonta ja tietojenkäsittely, Kokemuksia ETK:n käyttöönotosta keskusliikkeen varastonvalvonnassa", [Material Control and Computing, Experiences from Introducing EDP in the Warehouse Control of a Central Organization], internal memo, Kesko, 1963.
24. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, p. 125; Herranen, Yhdessä eteenpäin—SOK 100 vuotta; A. Valkama interview.
25. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 125–131; "Lausunto muutamista ETK-koneiden toimittajista" [Statement concerning a few EDP equipment suppliers], internal memo, Kesko, 1962; Hoffman, K-Kaupan historia, pp. 403–405; O. Kimmo, "Kun tapahtumakäsittely tuli Keskoon" [When Transaction Processing Came to Kesko], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa, Tienari, ed., pp. 471–475; A. Kivekäs, "Tietojenkäsittelyn esivaihe" [Early Stages of Information Processing], internal memo, Kesko, 1979.
26. I. Laakso interview; P. Juhola interview.
27. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 129–133; Kimmo, "Kun tapahtumakäsittely tuli Keskoon," pp. 471-475; K. Kiviharju interview; Kimmo, Tiedonsiirto Keskossa, p. 5; E. Kohonen interview.
28. I. Luukkonen interview; K. Kiviharju interview.
29. A. Valkama interview; Herranen, Yhdessä eteenpäin—SOK 100 vuotta.
30. I. Laakso interview; P. Juhola interview.
31. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, p. 128.
32. Hoffman, K-Kaupan historia, pp. 405–407; P. Peitola interview; Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, pp. 133–135.
33. A. Valkama interview.
34. K. Kiviharju interview; P. Hakala interview; I. Luukkonen interview.
35. S. Polojärvi interview; I. Laakso interview; K. Kiviharju interview; P. Juhola interview; TUKO, "Siirrymme uuteen atk-järjestelmään" [We Are Making the Transition To a New ADP System], internal memo, TUKO, 1972; E. Kohonen interview; TUKO, "Elintarvikejaoston Erikoiskiertokirje, Liite 1" [Special Circular Letter of the Groceries Division, Appendix 1], 1973; TUKO, internal newsletter, 4 Oct. 1974 (in Finnish).
36. I. Luukkonen, interview. KOTVA stands for KOneellinen Tietojen VAihto [Computerized Exchange of Information].
37. P. Vahtera, "Verkkolaskut käytännössä, osa 1" [Electronic Billing in Practice, Part One], Tilisanomat, no. 5, 2002, pp. 43–51; E. Kohonen interview; K. Kiviharju interview
38. Manninen, Näin tehtiin Suomesta tietoyhteiskunta, p. 69.
39. A. Valkama interview; Hoffman, K-Kaupan historia, p. 323; Y. Runko, "Miten elettiin reikäkorttikaudella" [How We Lived in the Punch-Card Era], Tietotekniikan alkuvuodet Suomessa, Tienari, ed., pp. 452–458.
40. Y. Runko, "Materiaalivalvonta ja tietojenkäsittely, Kokemuksia ETK:n käyttöönotosta keskusliikkeen varastonvalvonnassa;" A. Kivekäs, "Reikäkorttikoneet Keskossa" [Punch Card Machines in Kesko], internal memo, Kesko, 1980; M. Kotilainen, "Keskusvarastot ja ETK-koneet Keskon organisaatiossa", [Central warehouses and EDP machines in Kesko], internal memo, Kesko, 1962.
41. Kivekäs, "Reikäkorttikoneet Keskossa;" A. Kivekäs, "Tietojenkäsittelyn esivaihe" [Pre-computer Era], internal memo, Kesko, 1979.
42. Cortada, "Commercial Applications of the Digital Computer in American Corporations, 1945–1995;" J.W. Cortada, The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries, Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.
43. Lamberg et al., "Competitive Dynamics, Strategic Consistency, and Organizational Survival."
6 ms
(Ver 2.0)

Marketing Automation Platform Marketing Automation Tool