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Petri Hassinen

Turning business, data, and technology into value | Leader | Speaker | Board Professional | Data, AI and Digital | Business Transformation | Top 100 in Data & AI in Nordics

Petri Hassinen has 20+ years of both leadership and hands-on experience in harmonization, transformation, and technology enablement of digital processes in an international context. Petri is a recognized thought leader in the data community, co-founder of an award-winning A.I. start-up, and is a seasoned and certified board professional.

Petri is pushing towards the next evolution of data management and building a co-creation forum where companies co-create the next big things, and how data and business technologies can be turned into value. “Business-driven operating model for data” was co-created under Petri´s leadership and is being adopted in companies in the Nordics.

Petri recently moved from heading the enterprise data management at Valmet to leading data journey at Metsä Group. Before Valmet and Metsä, Petri worked at KONE corporation where he was a member of the global development and IT management team and responsible for various areas of responsibility including data, applications, and IT operations.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

Manufacturing and product development engineer by origins data has been something always at heart as digital product development and manufacturing goes bad with bad data. My master´s thesis, early 2000´s was about innovation through product and service architectures and that laid down the pathway towards the need for enterprise data structures and solid data foundation across functions and departments.

Pathway to data then materialized in a corporate global engineering solutions initiative where we created a vision and a roadmap with closed loop back from sales, manufacturing, and service.

Parallel to the engineering solutions work, I was lead architect in defining enterprise data strategy together with Accenture for the same company. This work led me to become the owner and lead for corporate master data management function and we implemented standards for all core master data elements needed to run and innovate business further. We called it the KONE Way.

Once that mission was mature and implemented, I thought that´s the end of my data career and I will focus on other things… Change of heart, as I believe there is still a lot to do to get data properly in the board room and maybe the data community has not been successful to get that job done properly.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

For the first decade of the century, I consider we pioneered in data management at KONE taking data as a business asset instead of a “data project” and business of IT. Implementing data management as part of corporate structures, with standards, roles, responsibilities laid proper ground for strategy and KONE way implementation. That model is still valid, and its implementation are invaluable lessons you don´t learn from school. Sure, the world did not get ready, but the core was built.

More recently, and with the ambition to bridge the gap between data and business, I have been the driving force for co-creation of a business-driven data management framework and operating model. First version is published, the framework is being adopted in several companies, and it keeps developing forward. This work triggered, from the pain that continues, and I wanted to start to address it together with one world, one data, and one community approach.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

Data is often still an odd ball to business. Both in terms of the fundamental ways to organize, resource, staff, and enable data management, as well as driving real value for daily operation, business transformation, and innovation. Data as a function is not integrated and infused. It’s the data guy approach too often. To address this syndrome, we as a data community need to change our own mindset, use common frameworks towards business and enable business leaders to start to tell their own data driven business stories.

Data is a chicken and an egg. First, you need to get data structures and data quality in place. That is not very sexy, it’s hard work, it is time, it is clarity, it is ownership, it is roles and responsibilities. It takes time and is a journey to get to a data culture where data is an asset, it is solid. At the same time value delivery from data is expected, however often not very clear what it is (do something approach). Combining these two needs together makes it tricky and low data literacy hinders progress. It is like painting a wall, preparation work for proper finish takes the most time and costs, while the paint job is relatively fast, but with bad preparation the outcome is garbage. Balancing between the solid foundation of data management in parallel with value delivery is the magic trick which can be unleashed with true meaningful dialogue with business starting from strategy, but also with embedding data management as a function within. Annual statement of data can help to bridge the value, the inventory, and the cost.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

Opportunity and need for solid data continues to grow with everything going digital, being automized, autonomous, and new AI and robotics technologies emerging with a lower barrier. Data will become a business topic more and more. Role and responsibility for data, its management and value creation will be further clarified, and this impacts the roles of businesspeople, data people, and IT. Each company is likely to adopt this in their own way, but we can facilitate that with common frameworks proposed by the data community. What a great opportunity for renewal and success for companies and individuals who wish to thrive in the new data economy.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I will now continue to focus on bridging the gap between business and data together with the data community applying best practices in corporate context sharing back to the community. I want to see better business driven data management framework from the community, co-create it. Then take the next step in my leadership journey.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

Focus. Step by step. I am energetic full of ideas. Rome was not built in a day. I have learned that change will take time, it’s not one leap, instead with smaller steps consistently taken towards vision change happens like it or not.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

Fan of fantasy, sci-fi, and middle-earth role-playing and probably will paint miniatures once again in the future.

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