It is Vastelaa€™s belief that IT should embrace a more communications-orientated approach a€“ and he practices what he preaches.
By submitting my Email address I confirm that I have read and accepted the Terms of Use and Declaration of Consent. By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You also agree that your personal information may be transferred and processed in the United States, and that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy. During his first 18 months at LähiTapiola, Vastela has focused on building the insurance groupa€™s architecture, ICT strategy and updating sourcing and resource management guidelines. Vastela describes ICT as a narrative: a€?We need a story to tell, both to business directors, who make the investment decisions, and to employees, who will actually use the tools.
Vastela says mergers always include a danger of ICT getting trampled by other issues and left unmanaged.
Before joining LähiTapiola, Vastela worked for several banks, both in Finland and Sweden, including in the role of CIO at the Finnish Saving Banks Association.
At LähiTapiola, Vastela is leading change through an internal IT team of approximately 100 people.
While this approach relies heavily on partnerships a€“ LähiTapiolaa€™s ICT strategy stipulates that 10% of IT is done internally and 90% externally a€“ Vastela doesna€™t entirely agree with the recent trend of outsourcing everything except the core business. He believes there are always conflicting targets because the company is looking for service quality while the supplier is looking for a good profit margin. The finance sector has a reputation for being old-fashioned and slow to innovate, but Vastela believes this comes from people not understanding the realities of the industry. Vastela believes regulation does not necessarily make IT difficult, but brings complexity to many processes which can lead to inefficiencies.
A sourcing strategy should start from understanding not only what is important to do internally, but also what you want to do yourself. The key to the competence centre model is constant dialogue, which is made possible by sharing the same physical working space.
Many IT organisations today take their cues from business startups to implement agile project methods, lean development and flat-hierarchy teams.
Aalto, who was head of platform development at Finnish digital advertising startup Kiosked, couldna€™t resist the challenge. As part of a new business-oriented IT, DNA has adopted agile projects methods and turned all its technology projects into business projects. Aalto ran his own consultancy company and spent over a decade advising both startups and corporations on their digital business before taking the CIO position at DNA. One of his first tasks at DNA was to change the  IT architecture so it could support the rapid development of digital services better. DNA itself has only a handful of internal developers among its IT organisationa€™s 150 staff, but enjoys a strong external provider network.
He adds that while DNAa€™s IT transformation and new processes are well received internally, the most challenging part is transferring its customers from the old and in some cases business-critical systems to the new ones. While Aalto has been the architect of DNAa€™s recent IT transformation, he says the drive came from CEO Jukka Leinonen and DNAa€™s board of directors, who see the company today as a service operator rather than a telecoms operator.
Finnair is on a digital transformation journey and the airlinea€™s CIO is changing the IT department as it progresses.
CIO of Finnish paper and forest products firm UPM talks about its journey to cloud-only IT. The IT department at Swedish telco Hi3G is on a mission to a utopian planet, with Olivier Smith at the controls.
Mikko Vastela, CIO of newly formed Nordic insurance company LähiTapiola, on the importance of informing employees and stakeholders about what IT is doing. Saab Groupa€™s CIO discusses the huge challenge of integrating 40 IT organisations into one. Currently DNA is working to introduce a data-friendly sales system in its 80 stores across Finland and to build systems that enable the company to understand customer needs better in real time and across different channels.


Gone are the days when companies could develop their services from the perspective of what they assumed would work the best.
Swedish outdoor power tools maker Husqvarna Group is attempting to stay relevant by bundling its hardware products with software, according to CIO Martin Althén.
Users want to be able to interact with hardware products through interfaces other than the product itself, he adds. Husqvarna Group has worked on digitalisation in recent years and is well positioned for the change, according to Althén. The result was Husqvarna Fleet Services, a cloud-based system connecting landscaping teams with their machine-fleets through an online management portal. This team is now made up of 40 people, and has developed systems such as a watering system with sensors, and lawnmowers controlled through mobile and smart watch applications. The CIO of Swedish fast-food chain tells Computer Weekly how digital technology is increasing sales and supporting expansion. CIO of Swedish hygiene and forest products company discusses how digital technology is changing the firm and how he manages this transformation. It was decided that Althén should head the mission, and a colleague has temporarily taken over the other CIO tasks.
In 2020, Husqvarna will be able to provide its products in service packages, both to consumers and professional users. Another example of a possible service is to support the care of forest plantations through technology. For consumers, he says services could connect intelligent garden management systems with the smart home and security services. Co-operation with other companies and the creation of ecosystems is a key factor for success in a digital world, according to Althén.
Digital transformation will continue to take up a lot of Althéna€™s time when he takes back his traditional CIO responsibilities again in September 2016, but he has other pressing issues to handle as well. Another challenge awaiting Althén is to reduce the number of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems the company has. The ERP systems are a legacy from when Husqvarna Groupa€™s IT function was divided into different geographical regions.
The global organisation makes it easier to make sure that IT is fast, efficient and flexible, and that everything works equally well worldwide, according to Althén.
Husqvarna Group has outsourced networks, datacentres, storage, application management and help desk.
The number of software developers will increase during the coming years, as Husqvarna Group is transforming from a manufacturer to more of a service company with a lot of software, according to Althén. Seagate recently launched a new line of external storage devices which make it easier to leverage external storage in your business.
These new drives provide a much easier interface and enable you to easily use your drive how you see fit. While Seagate is not going to get rid of Dropbox and other online storage solutions, Seagates new drives do enable you to easily share files with others – just as easy as you can do with an online storage solution. The post Why Every Business Needs External Storage – Collaboration, Backup, Save Money. But his biggest challenge has been less technical a€“ to build an understanding of the upcoming changes across the entire company.
To make it clear that these are the cards we have been dealt and this is how we are going forward. The finance sector has always appealed to Vastela, who studied economics with a minor in computer science.
It is not that the finance sector doesna€™t want to move fast but that it needs to adhere to strict regulation both on national and European level. However, LähiTapiola demonstrates that this does not need to stop the industry from innovating, as the corporation has implemented its own agile development system a€“ the competence centre model. LähiTapiola has previously experimented with shared virtual tools, but has found them less efficient as there is a higher barrier for open and impulsive communication.


We will continue to have branches, but it doesna€™t reduce the need for digitisation,a€? says Vastela.
You can slowly start to deal with an issue, hop between virtual, physical and self-service channels, and it all works together,a€? Vastela concludes. This is why Finnish telecoms group DNA turned to startup consultant Janne Aalto to lead it through a major digital transformation. Eighteen months later he has taken DNAa€™s IT through a complete organisational restructure, separating it from the technical organisation and making it an integral part of the business.
For him lean and agile processes are the only way for IT to operate today, but for this approach to work people are only one part of the equation. For the most part, [DNAa€™s] systems were not like that but were huge, inflexible entities which were increasingly out of date,a€? he says. A year was spent defining the necessary architectural environment and choosing the right technologies. After working with many startups, Aalto favours technologies that have been created during or as a result of the recent rise of digitalisation regardless of whether they are cloud based or in-house solutions. Aalto says the emphasis should not lie on the size of a technology provider, but on choosing the best knowledge and skills for the selected technology. Part of its strategy is to favour local partners with nearshore resources rather than offshore capabilities.
The answer has been to introduce the new services simultaneously with the technological changes. For them IT has a crucial role in creating a digital service offering for its 3.5 million mobile, broadband and pay-TV customers. We needed a deep analysis of what kind of company we want Husqvarna to be by 2020,a€? says Althén.
This is a prerequisite if the company is to make digitalisation a strategy rather than just creating a range of digital products,a€? he says.
The person responsible for the park gets access to internet-connected products, which are themselves keeping track of when they need service and when they have been used,a€? says Althén.
We do not co-operate with other companies yet, but have started discussions with potential partners,a€? he says.
The entire business logic has been based on reducing risk and maximising efficiency, and this has been accomplished through vertical integration. This has a high priority, since the traditional criminality has moved into the digital arena,a€? he says. Our product development organisation will be effected, as we are combining hardware and software development,a€? says Althén. The message seems to have been well received, both by our personnel and stakeholders,a€? he says. Almost everything else is done externally by a handful of strategic outsourcing partners and over 100 smaller IT partners.
Now the company has earmarked a whole floor for agile teams to work for the duration of their project.
LähiTapiola has more than 200 bricks and mortar branches around Finland, which are already mainly used to advise customers in complex insurance and finance issues. This will affect all our business areas and the countries we are present in,a€? says Althén.
The information from the sensors could also be of interest for other companies and government bodies,a€? says Althén.
If we are to provide digital services, it is important that we have an unbroken chain of data,a€? he says. That hasna€™t happened yet, but digitisation in the insurance sector means a coherent management of this process through all the channels and not having any anomalies.



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