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“Good master data is essential for company management”

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is in the middle of a holistic business platform renewal program. They aim to harmonize processes and data, add traceability, and help in building standard systems for the company.

Data Insiders / May 05, 2022
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The globally operating company Ahlstrom-Munksjö came under new ownership a year ago. That was a gentle push to speed up promoting new data capabilities.

Kristiina Lammila, CIO of Ahlstrom-Munksjö, visited the Data Insiders podcast to share her learnings on their data journey.

Background work for proper master data management started already years ago, but back then, there was no realization on the business side why the data quality – and data and analytics in themselves – were so crucial for success.

A fast forward to this moment, and things look quite the opposite. “Nowadays, we look at daily dashboards rather than monthly PowerPoints. Data is available a lot easier than before, and people can drill down to the details in cases. Actually, our organization started to understand the value of data surprisingly quickly. We have progressed in a data-driven mindset very well during the last months, but there is still work to be done.”

The new ownership brought along a more data-driven mindset

This remarkable change evolved as a combination of culture and capabilities. In February 2021, Ahlstrom-Munksjö came under the new ownership of Bain Capital, a very data-driven investment firm. Lammila lists an impressive amount of projects her team has been working on during the last year, in the areas of data and analytics:

  • Building a company level data lake solution
  • Revisiting reporting principles
  • Building several new dashboards
  • …and last but not least, starting to build a data-driven company culture.

Read also: “Use as easy tools as you can” – ICA Gruppen has a shared data toolbox but distributed project ownership

Quick wins and long-term development

“One of the projects we initiated quite quickly after the new owners entered the company was called Victory – the word referring to the idea behind the whole data usage. This data, reporting, and analytics project focused on corporate reporting, finance, and customers, as well as production. It includes a Microsoft Azure-based data lake solution and Power BI-based dashboards.”

The concrete outcomes proved to everyone at Ahlstrom-Munksjö how useful it is to get real-time insights and understand what happens behind the numbers – so much so that the owner is now presenting the project to its other portfolio companies as a benchmark.

“In very close cooperation between IT, business, Bain Capital, and partners, we have been able to crack several nuts quickly”, Lammila sums it up.

But there is more to come, as Ahlstrom-Munksjö aims to harmonize its master data management (MDM) and fix even more fundamental issues in the data architecture across the global functions and businesses.

“In 2020 we launched a massive project that is now speeding up to full mode towards the end of this year. It’s called Stella: a holistic business platform renewal program including processes, ERP, and MES systems. Data and analytics are an essential part of that.”

Better capabilities for sustainability governance

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is one of the world's leading players in sustainable fiber-based solutions. How do the data capabilities support their environmental, social and governance (ESG) processes?

“With our old and fragmented systems, wider scale data collection was not possible. With data lake and Power BI, we were able to get the basics in place. However, with Stella program and main business platform renewal, we can build even better capabilities for traceability, sustainability management, and data usage,” Lammila describes.

“It is clear that good master data is an essential part of company management. Otherwise, process execution and new systems are not effective.”

One key factor in achieving success has been the solid team of professionals working with Lammila.

“My IT dream team is the one I have now. The people in the team have versatile experience in both technologies and industries, and they understand matters outside IT”, she said in a news article after she had been named the CIO of the Year. “My team includes our external partners without whom we would not have been able to transform Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s IT over the years and thus fulfill the expectations set for us to enable company transformation.”

Kristiina Lammila is the CIO at Ahlstrom-Munksjö, one of the world's leading players in sustainable and innovative fiber-based solutions. She is responsible for IT and Business Process Management. Lammila began her IT journey in 2005 and has worked in her current position since 2013.

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