Customization and Role-Based Model is the Next Driver for Modern...

Customization and Role-Based Model is the Next Driver for Modern Technology-Driven Business World

Antti Koskelin, CIO and SVP, KONE

Antti Koskelin, CIO and SVP, KONE

Antti Koskelin began his career journey in Nokia, working in both network and mobile phones side. He explored different business roles during the course of his journey in Nokia for almost 15 years. Koskelin then switched to Konecranes—a world-leading group of lifting businesses —to take up his first CIO assignment. As a part of the executive team, he also handled digitalization strategy both for the offering of digital products and the internal operating model. Today, Koskelin is working as CIO and SVP at KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry. He is responsible for all the IT systems that KONE uses to run its business, from product development, sales, and delivery change to operations, finance, and so on. Koskelin is also leading a digital center of excellence, which covers the overall policy architecture for the company, including the product architecture, cyber security, analytics and data, and artificial intelligence, machine learning. Well recognized for the steering of the technology teams that boost the customer-centric journeys, he also guides business executives on how to utilize technology in the best possible way. He is also passionate about strategy, digital transformation programs, data analytics, and IoT, and motivating people to build a high-performing team focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion as well.

Following is the conversation that Manufacturing Technology Insights Magazine had with Antti.

According to you, how does the technology evolved over the years, and what are the technology-specific challenges that businesses might face in the future?

Over the last decade, companies across industries have been focusing on cloudification, automation, user-centricity, and customer-centricity to build the cloud power and mobility of AI and ML for the end-users. Companies have been facilitating a personalized approach, especially for mobile services, with a strong tendency to globalize all their platforms and systems. In essence, globalization, cloudification, and better user experience through the mobile experience have been a trend over the years instead of having a need or a burden of monitoring a few corporate IT systems with no clue how to use it. 

The world has changed dramatically over the past two years with the events such as the pandemic, the great resignation, geopolitical tendencies, and the Ukraine-Russia war. It has raised the concern of how well the companies would be able to operate in modern monolithic architecture and consolidating architecture. In my opinion, in the future, instead of the well globalized harmonized information systems and platforms, we might need to move into the next level of customization. Meaning, we need to have more dedicated systems and platforms for a specific business in particular geographical areas. Also, as the microservices start to increase our ability to react to the user-specific needs, we might focus more on the role-based model instead of pushing a common solution for all the users. This will enable pulling all the data and functionalities together for one user.

Could you tell us about any recent project or initiative that you’ve been working on, and what are the recent tools you leveraged to make that project successful? 

We are working on an innovative digital platform at KONE. We will connect all the elevators that our customers are using to this platform. We have about 1.5 million equipment’s around the world that will be digitally connected to the platform. This will help us keep track of the performance of these elevators and proactively react in case of any issue and deploy our service staff. 

“As a CIO, our role is to drive the business to go in the right direction, manage and understand stakeholders, and be able to present the technology challenges and opportunities in the boardroom”

We also created APIs that can be utilized to deliver development functionalities or applications for streamlined connectivity in the elevator. For example, remote elevator call function. This will enable receptionists to handle the elevator function from their desk without needing to touch the elevator button. Whenever guests arrive, they can make an automated call to take the guests to the right floor. Using these APIs, we are developing a completely different user experience for our customers and end-users. We are also using this digital platform to develop customer-specific solutions. For example, a hotel chain with an online mobile check-in application can make elevator call automatically to the right floor as soon as guests check-in. We also provide these APIs for the third-party developers to develop new capabilities on top of the elevator platform. A service robot that delivers refreshments to visitors in the hotel can easily access the elevator to reach the right floor. This is a breakthrough platform that is not only connecting our service technicians to elevators but also connecting the third-party developers to develop additional solutions for our customers.

What would be a piece of advice for your fellow peers and leaders?

I have two pieces of advice for individuals who want to pursue or build their careers as CIOs. First, make sure that you are a business-oriented and business-focused person and can understand all the business aspects. Technology is just an enabler. So if we focus too much on the technology without actually understanding the business problems that we try to solve, we wouldn’t be able to address the issue completely.   

The second learning I would like to share is that it is a people business. People make things happen, not the technology as such. That’s why it is crucial to develop ourselves to be good business and people leaders. Most technology people often believe that they just need to be updated about the latest technology trends and learn those technologies in order to be CIOs. However, that’s not the key point; it is just one aspect of the CIO role. We need to have a team that understands the technology inside out, but as a CIO, our role is to drive the business to go in the right direction, manage and understand stakeholders, and be able to present the technology challenges and opportunities in the boardroom. Simultaneously, we need to convince our team to go in the right direction and realize the strategy we are painting on. 

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