Case study UPM

How to realise the revolution of work in real life

How to realise the revolution of work in real life
  • 4,000
    work hours invested in data training

  • 10
    completed practice applications, for real business needs

  • 20
    participants empowered through data competence

How can an organization take a group of individuals of varying skill sets and experience, and teach them the essentials of data science and machine learning in a fairly short timeframe – and in the midst of the usual hustle and bustle of employees’ work-life?

The solution? The Data Champions Programme.

Enhancing business transformation through data awareness

We don’t need to tell you that it’s critical for your employees to become data competent. Both in terms of employee self-improvement and as a business aid, it’s a no brainer.   

UPM is a global leader in forest-based bioindustry. Their renewable solutions are spread across six business areas with the focus firmly on developing a future beyond fossils.  

They wanted their employees to become data-aware. Why? To aid the competitiveness of mature businesses, to develop emerging business lines and to accelerate data-driven business transformation.  

UPM had already carried out a series of data boot camps. But they realised that some of this stuff is hard to teach. To effect lasting learning, they would need a more comprehensive and long-term form of training. They knew they needed to try another angle in training their people in data science and machine learning.  

A course catered to all needs

The goals were clear from the start. This would have to be a practical course, with the spotlight on hands-on activities.

– I recognised we had lots of super capable people who maybe have been using the same IT tools for the last 10–15 years. Perhaps they haven’t put new tools in use because they’ve been too busy with operational tasks. Maybe the last time they thought about these things was when they were studying at university, says Anssi Käki, Director, Advanced Analytics at UPM.

This was a fully tailored training right from the beginning. The content of the course was designed through close collaboration between Solita and UPM’s analytics team.

All about the learning

So, what was it actually like to take part in the Data Champions Programme? While it demanded commitment from participants, one of the secrets to success lay in finding the comfort zones of such a varied group of individuals – and then gently pushing those limits.

– We wanted to make sure that people would be able to see how they could actually use these new kinds of tools in their work. From the start, it was clear that participants were able to be open and trust one another. If we got feedback that the training was too general or too advanced, we would adjust fast. There was continuous improvement, says Tuomas Melin, Team Lead & Data Engineer, Data at Solita.

Perhaps one of the most challenging areas? The wide variety of participants’ experience, from full-time coders to those who perhaps felt more comfortable using an Excel sheet.

– In my work, I need to find tools for others. So for me to test the different tools and platforms, and find out how these connect to data, how easy or hard they are to use – that’s been great. For me, the programme was about connecting with others. It’s changed the way I work with other people from different business areas, says Leena Hakkarainen, Data Analyst, Key User at UPM.

I would say 50 per cent of the value of this kind of programme comes from the networking aspects. Establishing this kind of network of experts will be highly valuable in the long run. It’s not just about learning the tools, but also building the networks between people.Anssi Käki, Director, Advanced Analytics at UPM

Revolution or evolution?

The Data Champions Programme is grounded in the revolution of work.

But this programme wasn’t designed to transform ways of working overnight. Instead, the focus has been on continual improvement and employee development.

Olli Nokelainen, Data Engineer, F&C Development at UPM: “Before the Data Champions Programme, I had little or no experience in creating analytics solutions by actually completing the development by coding. The programme has encouraged me to always consider own solutions rather than relying on services provided by other departments. The common level of understanding has been raised, making it easier to communicate on topics in the advanced analytics area.”

Data training brings the human touch

And there’s been a further benefit to this type of data competence training – networking.

– I would say 50 per cent of the value of this kind of programme comes from the networking aspects. We’re quite scattered, with different units in different locations. Establishing this kind of network of experts will be highly valuable in the long run. It’s not just about learning the tools, but also building the networks between people, says Anssi Käki, Director, Advanced Analytics at UPM.

Considering a data training to your company? Read also Tuomas Melin’s checklist of the five essentials you need to ensure your data competency training is successful.

Data Champions Programme

  • 20 participants empowered through data competence
  • 9 on-site learning sessions covering data science, machine learning theory, Python development, DevOps, and other topics
  • Dozens of supporting online courses
  • Some 100–200 hours used for independent study and building practice applications

Interested in data training programme with tech or business focus for your company? Contact us!

Jyrki Nurminen

Sales Director

jyrki.nurminen@solita.fi

+358 40 8487 055