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.
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.
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.”