A customised platform brings analytics to everyone

Initially, Valmet's Industrial Internet platform was developed using third-party commercial components, as it was all about data analysis and visualisation. The amount of data is huge and new data is constantly being added. They wanted to be able to analyse data over a long period of time and in a holistic way, even at the factory level or for groups of factories. Data processing and analysis was to be made possible, according to access rights and in a secure manner, for a wide range of users at Valmet.

Valmet's customers' business needs on the production efficiency side include improving quality management or achieving best quality production at optimised cost. Energy efficiency and emission efficiency are key themes in cost optimisation.

To address these needs, Valmet developed its own self-service data analytics portal in collaboration with Knowit. A good team model ensured the scaling up and down of the necessary expertise at different stages of the development lifecycle.

The first version of the data analytics platform designed for time series data, IoT and process technology has been released, enabling more and more users to easily access the data they have access to. Once the analytics portal reached a certain maturity point, it was possible to launch a self-service analytics platform.

The ease of use of the platform means that the data user does not need to be an expert in data analytics, and this has led to a wider use of the data at Valmet. It enables more fact-based decisions and supports customers in their challenges, such as starting up new plants, optimising existing plants or solving failure situations. Helping customers more effectively has a positive impact on the environment as a whole.

In the future, the aim is to develop more advanced analytics, such as self-learning AI and computer vision applications that are user-friendly and easily accessible to more and more people.

Designing the user experience

Making data analytics self-service and accessible to a variety of workers has required careful user experience design. Valmet and Knowit formed a joint user experience design team that was scaled up and down as needed. The design team was able to build cross-disciplinary expertise ranging from service design to user interface component design, harmonisation and standardisation, as everything in the platform was required to share a common user language.

The skills from those familiar with the environment

As the cooperation has progressed, Knowit's expertise for Valmet has expanded from cloud services, software development and data analytics to include user experience design and, for example, management consulting by Knowit Insight.

In terms of software development, Valmet's data analytics platform is currently developed by a team of 20-30 people.

"On the software development side, Knowit is able to bring us up-to-date expertise and know-how. Knowit employees are very serious about their professionalism, in a positive way. In other words, we get expertise that we can guarantee is on target. When building the user experience design team, it was very important for us that both application developers and service designers have a good insight into Valmet's way of thinking and analysing data. It is also very important to understand the end user's need for data and analytics. With its combined expertise in user experience design and data visualisation, Knowit has been able to help Valmet develop process data visualisation," says Teemu Toivo, Director, Industrial Internet, Valmet.

"At the heart of it all has been Knowit's Industry sector, whose employees have understood Valmet's industry and needs. In addition, they have found the right skills within Knowit, understanding the environment in which we operate. Working with Knowit has been very efficient and we work together for the long term. We are able to communicate openly about future needs and scale up and/or down different competencies as needed." Toivo concludes.

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Jussi Siuro
Senior Sales Executive, Knowit Solutions, Finland
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