The pension insurance sector is heavily legislated, but Ilmarinen is determined to reach the number 1 position in the market. According to them, this requires strong leadership and close cooperation between employees, customers, partners, and regulators. However, the first question at every corner is about security.
When we started the journey to make the cloud transformation happen, we applied a security-first strategy”, says Mikko Lantto, EVP Tech & Development at Ilmarinen. “We want to be the most attractive partner for working life and be responsible in everything we do”, he continues. A bold statement, to say the least. However, following through requires a lot of courage and inspiration if you want others to follow. “You need to become relevant, and in order to be relevant, you need to have strong leadership. We reshaped our goals in 2019 to become customer-centric and efficient. We believe that we can achieve the best customer experience through employee experience.”
Recorded live stream: Time to draw the route to insight and innovation
Customer centricity with the help of cloud
Let’s be honest, all employees want to put their customers right in the center. To become more customer-centric, Ilmarinen needed to become more cost-efficient and review whether their spends’ allocation was justified. A decision was made to move 70 % of their workload into public cloud to increase efficiency and business transformation at Ilmarinen. “Our transition was very quick, probably the fastest in the world! This was a huge step in the right direction for us. Thanks to this transition, we’ve pretty much got everything we need in order to make the changes we see necessary to fulfill our strategic agenda”, says Mikko. Undergoing a cloud transformation has been identified as one of the journeys organizations needs to undergo if they want to not just survive these challenging times, but to also come out on top as the dust starts to settle, and this has certainly been true for Ilmarinen: “We’re more ready for the future needs of our organization, employees, and customers, and we can respond to unexpected needs and challenges in a much quicker and efficient way”.
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Step by step approach
“We didn’t meet much resistance when the suggestion to move to the public cloud was raised”, Mikko continues. Surprising or not, this wasn’t always the case for Ilmarinen, who like many other heavily regulated organizations sometimes presume that they can’t make the shift to public cloud. “We started to plan out our cloud journey approximately two years ago and decided to start with the most obvious option – to talk openly about the potential. “What if we moved this into a public cloud, and what would happen if we were to move that part of our operations”. We decided to involve almost all stakeholders; the management team, the leadership, board of directors, and of course; customers, partners and regulators. Given that we think “safety first” at everything we do at Ilmarinen, we know we can’t afford to make any mistakes.”.
For those embarking on their cloud journey, deciding on the primary objective is key. As security is one of Ilmarinen’s key focus areas, it’s not surprising that this was one of the primary objectives for their cloud transformation. “When we selected Google Cloud, the absolute first and most important objective was to ensure that the data location was in Finland. Adding to the decision was TietoEVRY’s ability to provide a strong local expertise and a high level of data security. We knew we wanted to be able to scale up and scale down throughout this journey, and this is what we can do now.”, Mikko continues.
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Gaining the power of the cloud
So how does Mikko feel about this cloud transformation, and most importantly, what have they gained? “We’ve been able to fulfill pretty much everything that we wanted to change with our first step into the cloud. And we can see changes already; we can act quicker, and we’ve been able to respond to the volatile changes concerning our working life, working from home as an example."
Data in the core of leadership
Being able to make decisions based on real-time data and learning how to lead a customer-centric process by combining data with people has been key for Ilmarinen’s journey. How does one include data in the leadership, and what effects can one expect? “By including data in our management, we’ve changed – a lot – and for the better”, explains Mikko. “Simply put, we understand what needs to be fixed and we understand where we are. For example, we’ve analyzed our IT spend and created methods of leading the costs more efficiently. This gives us a better forecast into the future as to what we might need, and when we’ll need it”, Mikko adds. A simple solution, and, as we all know, the best solutions and processes often are.
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It also has huge effects on employees' and customers’ experience. “We’re enabling data leadership at Ilmarinen, which in turn makes it possible for employees to make quick and correct decisions, meaning we can continue our business transformation and figure out what our customers actually need and want. We need to be there for when the customer actually needs us”, says Mikko.
Want to know more about Mikko’s take on business transformations?
During our event “Time to draw the route to insight and innovation”, we asked Mikko how they manage to transform their business whilst adhering to laws and regulations. Have a look at what Mikko has to say:
Learn more about how to transform your business by leveraging cloud technology