Tietoevry's analytical platform, Forest Data Market, is a valuable tool, and the goal is for it to become a shared analytical platform for the forest industry when it comes to forestry processes.
"The entire forest industry is in dire need of a new standard system when it comes to forest processes. There are numerous benefits to be gained from an effectivization of processes and routines, but for a new system to come to fruition, Sydved couldn’t do it on their own", says Örjan Vorrei, IT manager at forestry company Sydved.
Karl Forsman is a data platform architect at Tietoevry Create, and he shares Örjan Vorrei’s belief that benefits can be had from a new industry-wide analytics platform. “Sydved’s previous reporting solutions were divided between custom-made spreadsheets, reports embedded in business systems, and reporting tools based on old tech,” Forsman explains.
Sydved are aiming to be in the absolute frontline using technology, and to gain even deeper insights about their business and forestry processes needed to become a true data driven company. For that reason Sydved where looking for a partner. Meanwhile, Tietoevry had begun a development project to build a new forestry-focused ERP system. Together, Sydved and Tietoevry started working on what would come to be called Forest Data Market – a shared analytical platform which would enable the scrapping of current systems, including collective reports, and instead building entirely new reports.
“Together with Tietoevry, we’re coming up with an industry-wide system conversion regarding the process support system Viol 3. The whole industry needs to adopt this new capability,” says Örjan Vorrei.
Sydved’s main focus is on procuring wood from an array of forest owners, while they also provide forestry consulting services. Apart from revamping Viol 3, Vorrei would also like to see an update of the company’s current analytical tools.
“They’re slightly ancient, consisting of templated reports which are expensive to manage and difficult to develop further. This provides a challenge for us, especially since it won’t provide the business with the kind of support that we will need in the future. Especially since we’d like to be a more data-driven company, having decision processes based on actual analysis and data,” Vorrei explains.
Karl Forsman agrees:
“Sydved saw the need to streamline their analytical solutions as well as replace some of the insights provided by systems that were shutting down. Beyond their current capabilities, Sydved were looking for guidance and solutions for how to expand their own analytical capabilities.”
Tietoevry were able to come in at an early stage and aid Sydved when it came to raising analytical skills in the organization altogether, while strengthening their strategic partnership.
Together, Sydved and Tietoevry came up with an analytical platform with the whole forestry industry in mind and named it the Forest Data Market. The implementation was based on a roadmap of a common understanding of prioritizations of what information should be added in which order. The first step in the roadmap was based on Tietoevry’s previous framework for financial analytics, Xtended, and further adapted to the forest industry’s common processes.
Forest Data Market is designed to become a stepping stone for forest companies that want to take the step into the analytical domain. “It provides a means for high velocity implementation and a platform to build further capabilities on,” Karl Forsman explains.
Forest Data Market connects forest business data to business users through a collection of models and transformation. These models and transformations are created to support a prioritized list of use cases that are put into a roadmap together with Sydved. These use cases enable Sydved to draw new insights of their business processes.
“Apart from gathering, storing and analysing data, it holds a number of standardized reports all based on the forestry needs and processes. It’s standardized, yes, but it always looks to the specific company needs,” Örjan Vorrei says.
Compared to manufacturing companies, Sydved’s processes move upstream. Where a typical manufacturing industry are piecing together different parts and putting them together. The forestry process works the other way around, where Sydved purchases and splits the material into smaller pieces and then moves it.
“It’s a simple upstream process and Forest Data Market is developed with this in mind.”
In forestry, automation through AI solutions is a divisive subject. On one hand, it could mean freeing up time for employees usually spent on repetitive processes, but on the other hand there is a general scepticism towards AI.
“I’m very involved in the industry in general, and my background in forestry is going way back. Of course there’s scepticism involved, and it’s not unique for our industry. There’s a particular scepticism around handing over too much of the decision making to automated processes. These are complex flow processes, making it impossible to let a computer handle every little aspect. To me, the scepticism isn’t really grounded in reality. We’ll be able to automate and become substantially more data driven, much to our own benefit. But it’s a long journey, costing us a lot of money and engagement. But I fully believe that it’s possible. Having said that, there are so many competent people controlling these processes and businesses, which I have a lot of respect for,” Örjan Vorrei says.
To Örjan Vorrei, a computer is best utilized when assigned monotonous, repetitive tasks. Human competence is better used where there’s a need for quick actions and personal relations. Some parts of the forest industry have gone through substantial changes in the last few years, where processes have been automated, like measuring lumber. Today, it’s done through automated or semi-automated image measuring.
Karl Forsman concludes:
“Besides helping with mundane tasks, AI can help by providing decision support in complex situations where an abundance of deciding factors makes it hard to rank potential solutions.”