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Business transformation - an opportunity or a threat?

Different industries are closing in on each other, and the ever-progressing digitalisation forces companies to change their operating models.

Petteri Kettunen, Vice President, Business IT Services, UPM, has both implemented and investigated transformations - to the extent of completing a PhD degree on the subject. UPM is Tieto's long-term partner, and we have helped in implementing a global process of change in its paper business.

Petteri_Kettunen_UPM

IT as part of a global business transformation   

IT services play an important role in helping companies remain competitive. A global company like UPM needs comprehensive solutions that support the nature of its business. Among other things, Petteri Kettunen has been responsible for all of UPM's mill systems and the implementation of a TIPS solution (Tieto Integrated Paper Solution), which covers all UPM paper mills. The solution makes it possible to harmonise the MES processes (Manufacturing Execution System) of the mills.

”Launched in 2008 and taking approximately six years to complete, the GMES project was a huge challenge and change process for Tieto too considering the scope of the project and the ability to adapt to UPM's organisation”, Kettunen says. Together with Jarmo Ropponen from Tieto, Kettunen feels that in addition to close cooperation, clear, jointly agreed guidelines and instructions as well as common performance indicators form the basis for a successful project. ”Anomalies are not a problem, but the fact that they are not solved. A successful outcome is what matters in the end”, Petteri Kettunen says.

Big changes always cause some degree of resistance, therefore, information system renewals also involve reassessment of tasks and the ways of working.

Can a transformation succeed?

According to Kettunen, the success factors in UPM's business transformation were the strong commitment of UPM management and the involvement of the whole organisation. ”In particular, the key persons selected for the project were extremely committed to their tasks even when faced with high demands. The participants were assigned completely new tasks through which they had the chance to innovate and improve their competence. This raised their motivation”, Kettunen says. He compares his transformation role to that of a coach responsible for creating preconditions for the team to succeed. Petteri Kettunen also emphasises UPM's excellent planning culture which greatly facilitates the completion of challenging projects. ”It was great to finish off a large-scale project, and I was very proud of the whole team! Tieto was also part of this success story”.

In its IT-assisted industrial transformation project, UPM utilised not only the expertise available within the Group but also the know-how of an external consultant and experiences of good practices.

Too late: a company without a digital strategy

Kettunen is currently responsible for the IT services of UPM’s paper businesses for which the renewal created a basis. Today, UPM has a solid digital backbone that is of key importance for developing digital services further. “A company without a digital strategy is already late”, says Kettunen. In addition, consumers play an increasingly important role, also for paper mills, because the process industry is coming closer to the B2C sector and moving away from the  traditional B2B thinking. He recalls well the time when business development efforts relied on automation.

Tieto’s annual Digibarometer survey of the forestry sector investigates the current state and trends in the forest industry in Finland and Sweden. The results for 2018 indicate that less than a half of the companies have a digital business strategy and that Finnish forestry companies are ahead of the Swedish ones in the adoption of digital business strategies.

Alliance between practical experience and the academic world

In his doctoral dissertation with the tile ”Large-scale Global IT Transformation: An insider’s Account” (2010),  Kettunen combines his personal experiences with  research. Kettunen says that the common thread in his career has been change, or transformation, and its implementation and involvement in forest industry. ”The goal has not been to pursue an academic career or seek glory. Instead, I would like to stress the importance of sharing information, also in alumni, and I am of course interested in this topic. A written contribution is a subjective view that calls for an objective approach”, Kettunen says. Although the topic of his dissertation was closely connected to his work, writing the paper, of course, required a lot of effort.

MIS Quarterly Executive, a highly appreciated research journal, published an article and a presentation by Till J Winkler and Petteri Kettunen: Five Principles of Industrialized Transformation for Successfully Building an Operational Backbone, which offers an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at the subject. Kettunen has also lectured on the subject in Finland and overseas, the last time at the doctoral seminar of the University of Tampere in August.

More information:

Jarmo Ropponen
Head of Sales and Marketing, Pulp and Paper Industry, Tieto
jarmo.ropponen@tieto.com

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