Nordic CIO interview: Janne Puustinen, Valmet

Janne Puustinen developed Finnish commercial innovation business Valmet’s whole IT organisation from scratch after a demerger

Eeva Haaramo


  • Eeva Haaramo

Released: 08 Jun 2020 10: 35

In March 2013, Janne Puustinen dealt with an uncommon scenario. He was an IT director at Finnish commercial engineering giant Metso when the choice was made to demerge the corporation into 2 independent noted business.

Puustinen was offered 9 months to construct a completely brand-new IT organisation for what would end up being Valmet, a commercial innovation business with more than 13,000 workers worldwide.

“It was a brand-new obstacle for me,” states Puustinen. ”My duty had actually been IT for among Metso’s company departments, and I got all our facilities services from group IT so I might focus primarily on company applications. Facilities was a brand-new location that I all of a sudden needed to discover more deeply than ever.”

Provided with a minimal timeframe, Puustinen took an efficiency-based technique. At first, the 2 demerging business drifted the concept of transitional service contracts and supplying picked IT services to each other. However Puustinen and his coworkers chose versus that, and rather copied Metso’s existing IT facilities and restore it individually for both business. 

It was no simple job. The work needed to be done while Metso continued its typical operations. Puustinen determined that the IT department carried out the equivalent of 7,500 days’ additional work throughout the last half of 2013 – however still had no time at all for any genuine innovation modifications.

“It was quite a fast and filthy technique,” he states. “However in hindsight, among the most significant lessons we discovered was that it was definitely properly to do this. If you continue to have actually shared IT services, which are developed deep into your operations, you can’t genuinely establish a business individually. One huge bang is much better than constant whining.”

Now Puustinen runs a well-functioning IT group of 150 individuals, and IT has actually been made a tactical part of Valmet’s operations. It is now a long method from the business’s early days when IT just had time to concentrate on keeping services going.

“One huge bang is much better than constant whining”

Janne Puustinen, Valmet

“At the start, it was almost survival,” he states. “We primarily reported about the issues we had, not about the advancement we were going to do. However if you take a look at our yearly strategy now, around 75% of our IT jobs are shared [development] jobs with our company functions.”

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This has actually not gone undetected by Puustinen’s peers. In 2019, he was called Finland’s CIO of the Year by Finnish IT publication Tivi and Nordic CIO of the Year by Helsinki-based Management Occasions. That was not what Puustinen might have envisioned 24 years back when he began at Valmet as a mechanical engineering graduate. Then, an IT profession wasn’t even on the cards.

“I began in R&D,” he states. “It’s a fantastic location to start a profession, no matter where you wind up. R&D has much of the aspects that are important to discover at the start of a profession. The birth of whatever brand-new, development, being positive – and discovering if something doesn’t work or can’t be done. Simply put, accepting failure through trial. That is really fashionable nowadays.”

For Puustinen, IT entered the image in 2003 when he was asked to head IT for the Metso company system that would eventually end up being Valmet. Although coding was close to his heart in his spare time, he had actually just ever done a couple of weeks’ worth of IT-related research studies – however that didn’t slow him down.

Outsourcing IT services

After the demerger, Puustinen’s technique was to move Valmet’s IT focus to advancement and brand-new services. When the business initially began, it had about 210 IT workers and nearly whatever was done in-house. Puustinen altered this in 2017 when Valmet outsourced its IT facilities services to CGI. 

2 years later on came an outsourcing handle Capgemini, which covered Valmet’s IT application advancement and upkeep services. The 2 offers saw about 80 individuals leave Valmet, however likewise opened brand-new functions within the business. Still, Puustinen doesn’t like to utilize the word outsourcing.

“Rather of doing a great deal of personnel service production and upkeep in our organisation, we wished to do more future structure together with our company side,” he states. “We moved our personnel tasks [to CGI and Capgemini]. This produced cost savings which we might utilize to money advancement work and move our IT towards supporting future advancement.”

Puustinen is pleased with the outcomes up until now. He states there are constantly some little problems, however the primary aspects of the shift have actually prospered. Assessing lessons found out, he stresses that contracting out jobs ought to not concentrate on the shift itself, however to keep the concentrate on what follows. This is where the genuine worth comes through as performance and quality are enhanced.

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The very same uses to internal jobs, he states. Valmet is presently presenting a brand-new business resource preparation (ERP) system throughout 150 workplaces in 35 nations. The task, in which Valmet is moving from Infor’s Baan ERP to its follower, Infor LN, started in 2016.

“We don’t see any of the advantages while we are establishing the brand-new system,” states Puustinen. “It takes countless euros, however the advantages will just come when individuals embrace the brand-new method of doing things. It is the very same just like outsourcing cases.”

This suggests not just commemorating completed jobs, however highlighting little successes, he states. Stereotypically, Finns have problem with self-praise, however Puustinen believes this is a vital part of offering a job within a business. Genuine success cases, even little ones, aid to raise spirits and enhance assistance for a job outside, in addition to within, the IT department.

Valmet’s IT has actually now reached the phase where it can concentrate on the future. IT is at the core of the business’s operations, so talk now undoubtedly relies on digitisation and development.

“I have actually gradually begun to dislike the term digitisation – it’s such a buzzword,” states Puustinen. “However the brand-new things we are dealing with are normal digitisation things. These are fundamentally connected to what we can do with information.”  

Puustinen discusses analytics, automation, expert system and artificial intelligence. These are currently part of Valmet’s innovation portfolio, however they are not extensively utilized – which is what Puustinen wishes to concentrate on next. 

“I don’t imply item advancement, rather what brand-new innovations can allow for us,” he states. “We require to drive this kind of development from IT. Not everybody can follow technological modifications, and it isn’t part of their task. However it becomes part of ours.” 

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