All kinds of meetings, small and big, have been the salt and pepper of being a Goforean. Informal gatherings are where the magic happens when people meet colleagues and people in different roles. It makes life rich and just.. well, life!

The corona isolation has been a big blow for communality and online coffee sessions just are not the same as real people and real beer (of course). At Gofore, we are using a traffic light model for COVID safety, and the Helsinki office has been in a red state meaning that all the big gatherings should be avoided. So we wanted to organize an event in a manner that translates to walking against the red lights on crossroads.

Challenge accepted!

Taking the science into account

When somebody crosses a street during a red light, that somebody looks all the directions very carefully. This was also the principle we followed.

About the COVID virus, we knew.

The science:
The solution:
  • Clean hands prevent infections
  • It spreads more easily indoors than outdoors
  • Masks prevent infections
  • Social distancing reduces the risk
  • Hand sanitizer and good washing facilities
  • Arrange the event outdoors
  • Let’s have masks
  • Let’s have distances

 

In practice, eating and drinking are not possible with the mask on so some compromises had to be made. Our compromise was to have a table group where it is ok to be without a mask, but once you are outside the table, everybody should have a mask on.

Our goal was to translate a big 40 people gathering into 10 separate 4 people gatherings. Eating and drinking would happen in the table with the same group. For everything else, mask. So in theory, you should be able to contaminate a maximum number of 4 people.

Finnish autumn and outdoors, you crazy?

We had a great opportunity to get arrangements from Dylan Böle which has a nice inner yard. All the participants were advised to take enough warm clothes for the chilly weather. Luckily, the weather was almost hot. The inner yard sheltered people from the wind and the sun was shining above. Later in the evening people started digging their long johns.

The restaurant provided the hand sanitizer and washing facilities. (food and drinks also) Our great office queen Ella provided that masks with our volunteer Eero.

What did we learn?

For me, everything worked mostly as planned for the COVID countermeasures. People were able to stay still at the table and used masks for the moving.

Most of the problems were related to the masks which people had not used that much before. The importance of using that disposable mask only once and taking care not to contaminate both sides was difficult. It is important to cover also your nose.


In the tables, drinking and eating were ok without a mask. For leaving your table, there was a bag of new disposable masks to be used.

Key takeaways

  • Instruct the use of the mask in a detailed manner
  • Instruct also the restaurant personnel
  • Have enough masks
  • And keep the discipline also after the event

And the most important: With this kind of countermeasures, it is possible to have events safely, but everything must be planned and instructed carefully in detail.

Juho Pentikäinen

Juho Pentikäinen

Juho huolehtii työkseen Helsingin toimiston kehittäjistä ja pilviasiantuntijoista sekä asiakkaista. Nähdään pyörälenkillä.

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Digitalisaation edelläkävijöinä luomme perustaa uudistumiselle ja kiihdytämme sitä. Teknologian sijaan keskeisimmät muutokset tarvitaan siihen, miten ihmisiin ja ihmisten väliseen yhteistyöhön suhtaudutaan.

Jo jonkin aikaa on ollut selvää, että yhä harvempi on valmis maksamaan käsienheiluttelusta tai yläpilven esityksistä vain, koska ne kuuluvat prosessiin. Yhteisymmärrys vallitsee myös siitä, että huippuosaajat haluavat tehdä työtä, jonka kokevat mielenkiintoiseksi ja merkitykselliseksi.

Mutta millaista uudistumista tarvitaan, jotta asiakkaat ja huippuosaajat voivat kukoistaa yhdessä?

Olen kuluneen 15 vuoden aikana digitalisaation edelläkävijäyritysten johtotehtävissä nähnyt lukuisia kertoja, että onnistuneen uudistumisen ytimessä ovat asiakaslähtöisyys ja aito yhteistyö.

Jokaisen teon on tuotettava arvoa

Uskon vahvasti jopa äärimmäiseen asiakaslähtöisyyteen. Silloin toiminta viritetään asiakastarpeen ja sen kehittymisen jatkuvaan kuunteluun. Tekeminen fokusoidaan siihen, mikä on asiakkaalle parasta nyt ja tulevaisuudessa.

Onnistuakseen äärimmäinen asiakaslähtöisyys vaatii valtarakenteiden purkamista ja prosessien uudistamista. Huippuammattilaisten ajattelua tai toimintaa ohjaavat joustavat viitekehykset ja konseptit niin, että heillä on mahdollisuus ja valta toimia asiakkaan parhaaksi. Ongelmien ilmetessä keskitytään syyllisten etsinnän sijaan ratkaisujen löytämiseen.

Silloin jokainen teko tuottaa arvoa niin asiakkaalle, tekijälleen kuin yhteiskunnallekin.

Ja silloin jokainen kokee ylpeyttä yhteisistä saavutuksista ja tietää niillä olevan positiivista vaikutusta. Se saa luottamaan itseensä ja toisiin. Syntyy hyvää kasvua ja menestystä kaikilla tasoilla.

Yllä olevien periaatteiden mukaan rakensimme myös Silver Planetin menestystarinan yhdessä asiakkaidemme kanssa. Tiedän nyt myös kasvuyrityksen näkökulmasta, että äärimmäiseen asiakaslähtöisyyteen perustuva konsulttiliiketoiminta on mahdollista skaalata nopeasti, erittäin kannattavasti ja kaikille palkitsevalla tavalla.

Yhteistyössä jokainen on enemmän

Aidossa yhteistyössä jokainen on enemmän. Yhteisen tahtotilan ja tilannekuvan avulla pystytään ratkaisemaan entistä laaja-alaisempia ongelmia. Jos äärimmäinen asiakaslähtöisyys tuntuu haastavalta, niin aito yhteistyö sitä vasta onkin.

Suomessa on 15 vuotta kipuiltu, jotta optimaalinen yhteistyömalli liiketoiminnan ja tietohallinnon välille löydettäisiin. Eräs suurimmista toiveistani onkin, että tässä onnistutaan. En oikeastaan näe edes muuta vaihtoehtoa, sillä miten muuten voisimme rakentaa uusia digitaalisia liiketoimintamalleja, elinvoimaisia yrityksiä ja elinvoimaista Suomea?

Koronavilkku osoitti, että kunkin mukana olevan ydinosaamisia hyödyntämällä ja yhteistyöllä pystytään rakentamaan turvallinen ja helppokäyttöinen sovellus kahden miljoonan suomalaisen kännyköihin vain viikoissa. Tällaista tekemisen tahtoa soisin näkeväni myös silloin, kun akuutti kriisi ei siihen pakota.

Sellainen vaatii tervettä itsetuntoa jokaiselta mukana olevalta. Toisen vahvempi asema tai osaaminen jossain osa-alueessa ei ole itseltä pois. Vahvassa asiakassuhteessa aito yhteistyö on mahdollisuus vahvistua yhdessä.

Onkin ilo rakentaa Goforen asiakkaiden ja suomalaisen yhteiskunnan menestystä ja hyödyntää siinä näitä urallani oppimiani asioita. Täällä kaikki uskovat, että teot paremman asiakas- ja työntekijäkokemuksen, innovaatioiden ja elävien ekosysteemien puolesta kantavat pitkälle tulevaisuuteen.

Ja matka on hedelmällisin yhdessä.

eljakirjavainen

Elja Kirjavainen

Elja Kirjavainen vastaa Goforen digitaalisen muutoksen konsultointipalveluista (Gofore Lead). Hänellä on yli 15 vuoden johtamiskokemus digitaalisissa edelläkävijäyrityksissä. Elja uskoo äärimmäiseen asiakaslähtöisyyteen ja rajat ylittävään yhteistyöhön menestyksen mahdollistajana.

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Gofore Cloud and DevOps Radar 2020

At Gofore, it is already a tradition to conduct an annual Project Radar survey to gain better insight into our current cloud projects and technological landscape. Cloud and DevOps related questions on used technologies and development practices are an interesting part of the yearly Gofore Project Radar.

DevOps is not only about technology, but rather an organizational and cultural movement with a goal to improve software delivery and operational performance alongside productivity and service reliability at organizational level. In terms of productivity and performance, the utilization of cloud infrastructure is a key.

So, where are we currently on the journey of cloud adoption? What are the current trends and the coolest technologies related to cloud and DevOps?

Buzzwords: microservices, transparent application lifecycle, infrastructure automation, CI/CD, and serverless.

Performance and productivity from the cloud

Cloud is a key differentiator for top performers and a driver for high software performance. It enables organizations to benefit from the speed, stability, and availability of the cloud.

AWS is the market lead among cloud vendors. That is also visible within our projects as AWS is used in almost 60% of our projects. The number of Azure projects has also grown steadily in the last two years and the growth seems to continue. We have some certified Google Cloud Platform (GCP) enthusiasts at Gofore as well. However, GCP is currently used mostly in our internal projects.

Agile and safe software updates

Containers are a type of technology that makes it easier to deploy and host applications in a consistent manner within the delivery chain. Containers are fast and easy to update enabling frequent software updates.

Kubernetes is currently the number one orchestration and operation system for the containerized application. It has been adopted widely within our on-going projects. On one hand, it might be a bit of a heavy technology for small scale projects. On the other hand, it might also be a strategic decision for multi-product organisations to use Kubernetes, even for smaller projects, as it provides a standard way of operations among different product teams. This can potentially help maintenance in the long run. Maybe even run multiple production applications in a centralized Kubernetes cluster in maintenance mode. Currently, more than half of our cloud and DevOps specialists use Kubernetes in their projects and this movement only started a couple of years ago.

The rest of the projects mostly rely on AWS ECS, AWS ECS Fargate, and Azure Containers as a cloud vendor-managed solution to run and orchestrate containerized applications.

Serverless further simplifies deployment and abstracts scaling, capacity planning, and maintenance away from developers and operators. Thus, the developers can only focus on the code without the need to worry about infrastructure. Serverless, such as AWS Lambda and Azure Functions, are used widely in our projects especially when complemented by container technologies.

On-demand deployments to the end-users

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) means software can be shipped to a production environment with speed and reliability. It requires that build and deployment processes are automated and can be triggered by a change in the source code. Thus, teams can deploy on-demand to production or to the end-users throughout the software delivery lifecycle. This also enables a fast feedback cycle and an agile reaction to the feedback.

As one might have forecasted, Jenkins’s share as CI/CD solution has declined quite significantly in the past few years. Whereas GitLab CI/CD is currently leading within our projects. Also, Azure CI/CD has also grown its footprint. In general, the tendency is to firstly use SaaS tools and secondly integrated solutions where version control and CI/CD pipelines is sitting in the same environment (e.g. GitLab CI/CD and GitHub Actions). Thus, there is no need for a separate CI/CD tool or environment.

Infrastructure automation

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a method to provision and manage IT infrastructure through formal descriptions, namely as source code. Use of IaC helps to configure and deploy infrastructure components quickly and consistently. It also enables you to automate the infrastructure deployment process in a repeatable manner.

Currently, Terraform seems to be a de facto tool for infrastructure automation. Within the past couple of years, it has grown it’s share significantly. Terraform is independent of the cloud vendor and can be used with AWS, Azure, and GCP projects. That said, AWS Cloudformation is still used in half of our software projects.

AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) was launched in July 2019. And it has been already adopted in some of our projects. It provides a higher abstraction level on infrastructure and it is especially targeted for developers already familiar with the supported traditional programming languages (i.e. TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, Java, and C#/. Net.). CDK is, in particular, a good fit for managing serverless deployments.

Some closing words

In general, the trend in software development is clearly towards containers and microservice architectures. Usage of virtual machines has decreased significantly as the aim is towards a more agile and DevOps style of operations through containerized applications. Currently, most of our projects make use of containers. Also, the use of serverless has increased within the last two years. More specifically, many projects take advantage of both container and serverless technologies. To mention some trending technologies, Kubernetes for container orchestration and Terraform as IaC tool have rapidly strengthened their footprint within Gofore’s cloud projects.

This Radar clearly comes with a technical focus. However, a cloud journey should always start by building a solid cloud foundation. Everything else is built on that enabling, for example, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure. In order to help our customers to succeed, we strongly believe that promoting agile methods and DevOps culture is the key. Also, our preference for tooling and technology selection serves this purpose by helping to incorporate DevOps technical practices in our customer organisations.

annaruokonen

Anna Ruokonen

Anna Ruokonen works as a Cloud Specialist at Gofore. She has a background as a full-stack developer. However currently her main focus and interests are in DevOps and cloud platforms. She has been working for industry clients, developing an Industrial IoT platform, and well as on the government sector. She is also an Authorized AWS instructor and delivers AWS trainings. She holds a PhD in Software Engineering.

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Artificial Intelligence and algorithms are shaping our work.

It is important to prepare for a hybrid workforce in which AI and human beings work side-by-side. The challenge for your business isn´t just ensuring you have the right systems in place but judging what role your people will play in this new model. People will need to be responsible for determining the strategic application of AI and providing challenge and oversight to decisions.” The PwC report, Sizing the Price, 2017

The world is transforming. COVID-19 has revealed our vulnerability and has pinpointed complexities. Lead time to make a positive impact has been cut shorter. Power structures of the past are not future proof. In my opinion, and backed with a multitude of fresh research, there are three key drivers of new ways of working.

First, organizations relying on control and command are replaced with fluid, transparent and self-determinant ways of working. Hierarchical control and command power structures are fading away, slowly but surely. Second, digitalization is continuing at a logarithmic speed. For example, in Spain, the first 60 days of COVID closure is said to have accelerated the county´s digitalization by seven years (El Confidencial, 2020). Third, as interconnected emerging technologies continue to advance and converge, they will hit hard knowledge workers, managers, and the C-suite. Old competencies will be questioned, and new ones required. In this development, the main drivers will be Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Data and particularly algorithms. Leaders will be heavily affected. They need to become more people-positive and complexity-conscious to activate the full potential of the hybrid workforce, combining humans and machines of tomorrow already today. Leaders need to return and excel in their number one role, which should be a coach for his / her people.

I am not a data analyst, nor a coder, nor an AI & Data expert, but an experienced organizational development professional. Therefore, my focus is the management and leadership of individuals, teams, and organizations. Thus, I would like to extend the discourse of only technical matters of AI & Data more to required new leadership skills, capabilities, and structures. I feel that the prevailing way of looking at management automation thru a technical lens, only with AI & Data mostly as a cost reduction practice, is short-sighted and dangerous. AI & Data doesn´t intrinsically make changes, but they are enablers for societies and organizations to progress. No doubt, AI-enabled future economies will have massive shifts in workforce competency requirements at all organizational levels, including experts and executives. To cope with fast-paced digitalization, organizations need to adapt fast, get organized in new ways, and unleash the full potential of both people and machines to thrive. Is the unstoppable development of AI & Data the cure or cancer of business transformations?

Constant Human Desire for Better Technologies

Throughout history, we have been seeking help from technical inventions supporting output efficiency and process accuracy. In the western world, we have traveled the journey from the steam engine to electricity to computer to 24/7 AI & Data of today. This development has been backed with old management theories, mostly Taylorism (scientifical management) and hierarchical power structures based on control and command both affecting us still today. The first and second industrial revolutions focused on the human body, the third and current fourth on the human mind. By now, we as humans have lost the performance game both in terms of body and mind to AI & Data-driven digitalization, algorithms, and robotics.

According to Moore´s Law of computer processing power duplicating every 18 months, this is just the beginning, not the end of this development in AI & Data. Fast AI developments, like machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), have big economic implications for our societies and organizations. Price Waterhouse Coopers has predicted that AI´s contribution to the global economy will be USD 15,7 trillion by 2030.  What are the possibilities and limitations of algorithms?

Current Pros and cons of Algorithms at Work

Being an expert or not, one should understand that AI is NOT just another new technology, but AI is creating convergence and binding many emerging technologies together. AI is not neutral. It is always mirroring directly or indirectly its creator´s perceptions, experience, and values.

Algorithms can:

  • Discern patterns in raw data with a faster and better than star data analysts.
  • Optimize processes more in detail and precision than best operations managers.
  • Analyse and predict behavioral trends and implications for humans.
  • Assess and comply with complex variables for top decision-making better than executives.
  • Excel, like a savant, in a tightly limited sphere of expertise.
  • Expand some precise human capabilities to the next levels out of our reach.

Algorithms cannot (as of autumn 2020):

  • Build sense-making and connect unrelated ideas into a new creation, innovation.
  • See things from different perspectives, even with ML only programmed views are seen.
  • Act with intuition, build trustworthiness, and show situational emotional intelligence.
  • Store as rich data (sights, sounds, sensations, smells, or emotions) as our brain does.
  • Use experiences and understanding across unlimited sets of situations, like the human-brain.

Algorithms can increase performance in process speed, efficiency, and accuracy. In the fields of innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and sense-making thru intuition, AI at the time of writing only offers a poor imitation of what humans can do naturally. Thus, people can better combine, create, and bring to the game, more thorough insights. The holistic situational sense-making is the key difference between algorithms and humans. Therefore, the multifaceted thinking of leaders is a must. They need to be able to think simultaneously in a three-dimensional way: first reactive for the situation at hand, second proactive for things not yet seen, and third reflective for continuous improvement. The reflective means of an inner capability to confront critically one´s own actions instead of accepting them without questioning autonomous outside-in thinking and data available.

Trustworthiness of Algorithms Under Deep Scrutiny

Many research studies reveal that humans feel concerned, suspicious, and uncomfortable when dealing with algorithms that make decisions on their behalf. As a general trend, people perceive the functioning of autonomous algorithms as something of a black box. This suspicion stems from the lack of transparency of how algorithms were generated and the difficulty of explaining algorithms clearly for non-experts and even for engineers, data analysts, and coders. This lack of knowledge has created fully reasonable prejudices to distrust algorithms in work settings. Controversially, at their leisure, people trust algorithms to make choices and affect their purchase patterns in services like Amazon, Netflix, or Spotify. Even more weird are research findings where people accepted to be replaced in their daily work by an algorithm rather than another person.

Thus, to build employees’ and customers’ trust towards algorithms at work, immediate and systematic visible actions are required. Just recently, Google has announced to offer help to other companies with the tricky ethics of AI (Wired, 2020). One internal way to grow trust towards algorithms is to first to break silos between AI & Data experts and experienced leaders. The objective should be to engage people with diverse backgrounds and experience to work together towards a common purpose considering both efficiencies and ethics of AI & Data. For example, this type of challenge has been tackled in some of the most affluent digital companies like Microsoft and KPMG with their AI ethicists. The role of these AI ethicists is to secure transparency, ethics, and outcomes of algorithms before they go live. How about working with algorithms?

People and Data-Centric Combo First Steps

As a practical example, it was decided at Gofore Plc. in 2006 that all clerical tasks that can be automated will be automated. Bot-manager “Seppo” supports commercial decision-making and bot-assistants “Genie and Granny” take care of daily routine tasks. For example, they remind about unmarked billable hours, confirm holiday requests, make travel expenses claims, provide personal performance statistics, and report company-wide statistics. These scalable HR bots, combined with Lean & Agile ways of working, have enabled fast and continuous financial growth with less management and lighter structures simultaneously releasing time for leadership, development, and customers.

There used to be a time when we were doing more with less. Now we are doing less with less. One possible solution to overcome this dilemma is a hybrid workforce. As within Gofore, these modern digital tools, like bots, robots, robotic process automation (RPA) and other digital means, are key enablers of the future of work, but one should not get on the bandwagon blind-sighted. Some recent not so good examples of failed algorithms are the A-level and GCSE examinations fiasco in the UK in August 2020 (The Guardian, 2020) and the Amazon recruiting disaster of 2018, where only white males were selected from applicants by algorithms (Reuters 2018). After an internal investigation of the case, it was noticed that the recruitment algorithms of Amazon could not work without supervision to build sense-making of the desired future with past distorted data.

On the other hand, one of the largest Finnish digital forerunners – Tieto Ltd. – has implemented an AI assistant named Alicia who is a member of the management team with full voting rights. Alicia has reminded the company´s board members of important data and statistics and helped them to make smarter decisions. Similar developments are occurring around the world. For example, AI assistants like IBM´s Watson can bring together complex data from various sources, analyse their trends against a company´s internal metrics and business objectives, and present suggestions based upon its findings (Rouhiainen, 2020).

Best of Both Worlds, A Hybrid Workforce of Tomorrow

The changes that algorithms are bringing to the business world are massive. As mentioned, they can drastically increase efficiency, accuracy, and speed to run businesses, but they are still lacking human-specific traits like emotional, innovation, and critical thinking skills that finally make or break businesses. AI & Data development will not only be about technology. The time for solely control and command-driven managers and administrators is over. I perceive that transformed businesses will need a new kind of curious, creative, and critical thinking leaders with emphasis on interpersonal and emotional skills. Effective leaders will need much more of soft human skills to understand human dynamic systems to be able to motivate, innovate, facilitate, and assimilate business impact better than in the past. I believe that the biggest challenge is to renew our mind-set to positively challenge and combine best of both worlds – human and machine – as a hybrid digitalized workforce.

I hope experts on AI & Data, digital-pioneers, and executives, together with social scientists, take a courageous stand on AI & Data system and related algorithms with clear roles, responsibilities, and preventive rules. Together we need to influence the evidential and non-stoppable development of AI & Data with a positive impact, creating social, economic, and environmental added value for all. If digitalization is derived from natural human capabilities rather than performance only, I believe that this is not a race against the machine, but a race with the machine. The choice is ours.

“As leaders, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure we are building a world in which every individual has an opportunity to thrive. Understanding what AI can do and how it fits into your strategy is the beginning, not the end, of that process.”, Andrew Ng, the world-renowned expert in machine and deep learning

“Ignorance is never better than knowledge.”, Enrico Fermi, winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize for Physics

Jere Talonen

Jere Talonen

Jere työskentelee Goforella johtamis- ja palvelukulttuurin kehittämisen konsulttina. Hänellä on liiketoiminnan johtoryhmätason kokemusta globaaleista kuluttajabrändeistä yli 20 vuotta, yhdeksästä maasta ja kolmelta mantereelta. Hän on myös kokenut ekosysteemien ja verkostojen rakentamisen startup-yrittäjä.

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Ihmiskunnan kasvihuonepäästöt jatkavat kasvuaan, satunnaisista ja pandemioihin liittyvistä notkahduksista huolimatta, noin 1,5 prosentin vuosivauhdilla. Tilanne on huolestuttava, vaikka valtiot ovat vuoden 1992 Rion ilmastokokouksesta saakka kokoontuneet sopimaan päästöjen vähennyksistä. Pian meillä on käsillä tilanne, jolloin pelkät vähennykset eivät enää pysäytä katastrofaalista kehitystä.

Rinnalle tarvitaan siis myös muita tehokkaita keinoja, joilla pystytään sitomaan jo vapautunutta hiiltä pois ilmakehästä. Suomi allekirjoitti monen muun maan kanssa vuoden 2015 Pariisin ilmastokokouksessa Ranskan 4/1000-ilmastoaloitteen. Sen tavoitteena on lisätä maaperän hiilivarastoja vuosittain neljä promillea. Luku neljä promillea tulee siitä, että kyseinen määrä riittäisi sitomaan vuosittaiset ihmisen toiminnasta aiheutuvat hiilidioksidipäästöt.

Gofore on juuri tehnyt Baltic Sea Action Group -säätion kanssa Itämeri-sitoumuksen, jossa sitoudumme tukemaan säätiön toimintaa seuraavat kolme vuotta. Samalla liitymme jäseneksi Carbon Action -yritysverkostoon. Tarjoamme digitalisaation asiantuntemuksemme ja työpanoksemme säätiön sekä Carbon Action -hankkeen käyttöön.

BSAG:n käynnistämä Carbon Action -hanke on vuodesta 2017 tehnyt Suomessa edelläkävijätyötä hiilen sidontaa lisäävien maatalouden menetelmien kehittämiseksi. Puhutaan uudistavasta, regeneratiivisesta maataloudesta, joka ei vain pyri vähentämään toiminnan aiheuttamia haittoja, vaan korjaamaan jo tapahtunutta vahinkoa.

Carbon Action on tavattoman kiehtova hanke, koska sen kautta pystytään parhaimmillaan löytämään ratkaisuja niin moneen ihmiskunnan tällä hetkellä kriittisimpään ongelmaan. Hiilen sitomisen hyödyt eivät rajoitu pelkästään ilmastonmuutoksen torjuntaan. Hiilen varastoituminen parantaa peltomaan viljavuutta ja sopeutumiskykyä ääriolosuhteisiin ja näin ollen myös ruokaturvaa. Lisäksi hiilensidontaa lisäämällä pystytään vähentämään vesistöön päätyvien ravinteiden määrää ja siten estämään järvien ja merien rehevöitymistä. Hiilensidontaa edistävät viljelymenetelmät ovat hyväksi myös luonnon monimuotoisuudelle.

Digitalisaatiosta ratkaisuja hiilensidonnan ja hiiliviljelyn haasteisiin

Hiiliviljelyn edistämisessä on vielä kuitenkin monia haasteita. Yksi on se, että tutkittua tietoa maaperän hiilivarastoinnin potentiaalista ja sitä tukevista keinoista on vielä vähän. Tuntuu, että aihe on monella tapaa suuri tuntematon ja maaperän merkitystä hiilivarastona ei ymmärretä lainkaan samassa mittakaavassa kuin vaikkapa metsien. Lisäksi viljelijöillä ei ole kannustimia ottaa hiiliviljelyn menetelmiä käyttöön. Olisikin ehdottoman tärkeää löytää keinoja, joilla hiiliviljelijöitä tuettaisiin myös taloudellisesti. Keinona voisi olla maahan varastoituvan hiilen ympärille rakentuvat päästökauppamekanismit.

Hiilensidonnan ja hiiliviljelyn edistämisessä haasteena on myös se, miten hiilen varastoituminen pystytään luotettavasti todentamaan menetelmillä, jotka ovat myös skaalautuvia ja kustannustehokkaita. Entä miten hiiliviljelyyn liittyvä tieto saadaan luotettavasti kaikkien osapuolten käyttöön? Tällä hetkellä esimerkiksi hiilijalanjälkilaskurit eivät ota huomioon sitä, onko ruokaa tuotettaessa käytetty menetelmiä, jotka sitovat hiiltä maaperään vai päinvastoin vapauttavat sitä. Jos tieto saataisiin näkyväksi ruokaketjuun ja kuluttajille, voisi sitäkin kautta viljelijöille muodostua taloudellinen kannuste siirtyä yhä enemmän hiiliviljelyyn. Samoin mahdolliset päästökaupparatkaisut vaativat toimiakseen oikeanlaiset digitaaliset järjestelmät.

Se, miten maataloudesta saadaan tehokasta ja kestävää, on tulevina vuosina ihmiskunnan kohtalonkysymys. Viljelykelpoinen maa hupenee ja globaali väkiluku kasvaa. Joidenkin YK:n arvioiden mukaan maailman viljelymaata on jäljellä enää 60 vuodeksi. Mikäli maatalouden menetelmät eivät muutu, ihmiskunta saattaa olla pian ilmastonmuutostakin vakavamman katastrofin edessä.

Digitalisaatiolla tulee olemaan maatalouden tehostamisessa merkittävä rooli. Erilaisilla älykkäillä ratkaisuilla voidaan pyrkiä esimerkiksi toimenpiteiden oikea-aikaisuuteen ja resurssien käytön optimointiin.

Gofore on jo ollut jo pitkään mukana kehittämässä tämänkaltaisia ratkaisuja. Esimerkkinä voidaan mainita älykäs ratkaisu kalankasvatukseen, jonka avulla rehua annostellaan kalojen kulloinkin tarvitsema määrä. Ratkaisun avulla hävikkiä saadaan merkittävästi pienennettyä ja samalla vesistöä rehevöittävä vaikutus vähenee. Olemme kehittäneet myös vastaavan järjestelmän lehmien ruokintaan. Järjestelmä kerää ja yhdistelee eri lähteistä tietoa eläinten terveydentilasta ja osaa ehdottaa optimaalista rehun määrää ja koostumusta. Oikeanlaisella ruokinnalla on suuri vaikutus lehmien hyvinvointiin ja tätä kautta maidontuotantoon.

Me goforelaiset haluamme tehdä työtä kestävän tulevaisuuden puolesta. Siksi odotan innolla, että pääsemme antamaan työpanoksemme Carbon Action -verkoston ja maatalouden uudistamisen sekä kestävämmän tulevaisuuden puolesta.

Lue lisää yhteistyöstämme: Gofore ja BSAG aloittavat yhteistyön – digitalisaation avulla lisävauhtia uudistavaan maatalouteen

Kuvat: Baltic Sea Action Group

Tutustu myös Vastuullisuus-sivuihimme: Gofore rakentaa eettistä digitaalista maailmaa

Kristiina Härkönen

Kristiina Härkönen

Kristiina työskentelee Goforella kestävän kehityksen johtajana – unelmatyössään. Hän on ollut aina intohimoinen paremman tulevaisuuden rakentaja niin ihmisille kuin planeetalle. Hän uskoo, että teknologia ja digitalisaatio voivat olla merkittäviä tekijöitä aikamme isompien haasteiden ratkaisuissa. Samaan aikaan ne ovat usein myös haasteiden aiheuttajia. Teknologia itse on neutraali asia, ihmiset päättävät kuinka sitä käytetään. Meidän täytyy määritellä mihin tarkoitusperiin osaamistamme ja resurssejamme käytämme. Yritysten tulee ymmärtää vastuunsa kestävän tulevaisuuden rakentajina. Kristiina on ollut Goforella vuodesta 2003 ja sinä aikana nähnyt yrityksen kasvun kuudesta työntekijästä 600 henkilön työyhteisöön. Hän on työskennellyt ohjelmistokehittäjänä, arkkitehtuurin ja projektijohtamisen konsulttina sekä myynnissä liiketoimintajohtajana. Vapaa-ajalla Kristiina nauttii luonnossa rentoutumisesta, metsäseikkailuista koiransa kanssa.

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I remember a course in business school where we students, mostly unknown to each other, went for an “offsite” learning event for two days. At the end of day one, we were given the opportunity to have some dinner and (a few) drinks with each other. During the evening we got to know each other more on a personal level and had a fun evening together. Not surprisingly but even though very tired the team assignments we were doing on day two were much more productive and creative. Later the professor revealed that this had been done intentionally for us to realise the power of relationships in business and teamwork. After this experience, I have been very interested in relationship building and team dynamics.

Value of relationship: openness and trust

Obviously, during this special time of COVID-19, it is not as easy to build and maintain better workplace relationships as it is normally in face-to-face communication. While working in isolation, it is very easy to focus on the content of work and distancing ourselves instead (guilty as charged..) rather than on the process of relationship building. After all, these times call out for openness and trust more than ever. Organizations and teams need to see the value of this.

Is it even possible to build these better relationships only virtually? I think yes, it is done all the time over the internet in contexts where people share common interests and goals. A good example of this is some online gaming communities where people develop very close relationships with people around the world without ever meeting each other in person. A multitude of other examples exists as well. While online gaming is somewhat different from a strictly professional setting, similar dynamics of teamwork still apply, like a well functioning team has a very high level of trust

Build and maintain your (business) relationships in a virtual setting

Here are some thoughts and tips which might help you build and maintain your (business) relationships in a virtual setting. I build this experience especially from some of the virtual teams I have worked with lately.

  • In meetings, using the camera is necessary. It goes without saying that much of our communication is non-verbal so we need to get used to putting the camera on. Looking into a person’s eyes will tell you instantly if you are on the same page and a thumb-up reinforces that message. And no, it doesn’t matter if you have a bad hair day because most other people have them too.
  • While everyone is working from home, it opens the possibility to share some personal things with your colleagues, for instance, an easy way of introducing some family members to the people you work with or sharing something interesting about your hobbies. Sharing some favorite photographs is a fantastic icebreaker or you can “accidentally” place something interesting in the space behind you. Being open will usually have the effect of other people opening up as well.
  • Keep the team sizing small rather than big. Most of us people are psychologically more comfortable in “family-sized” groups ranging from 3-7 people. If this is not possible, try to split the group into smaller sub-groups to work on specific problems or questions (at least it’s quite easy to find a room for it now in the digital realm). Then synthesise the findings with the larger group.
  • Make some time for chit-chat by putting it on the agenda of the meeting. At the office, stronger relationships are built by the coffee machine and during the time when people are getting to the meeting room. In a virtual context, put the meeting to start 10-15 minutes before intended to do some catching up with your colleagues. This allows the attendees to arrive on time and share for instance a cup of coffee or a sandwich together while exchanging the latest news and checking in for the meeting. If we are not too busy for this at the office, how can we be while working remotely?
  • One of the most effective ways of building better relationships is learning something new together with your teammates. This can be achieved by setting some learning and improvement goals. One good way of doing is to dedicate a regular meeting only for these type improvements (many times also called a retrospective). Other ways are also working in pairs around problems and by just ”thinking out loud” in the meetings.
  • Add transparency by communicating more on your progress, it only can take a few minutes to update your system, sending a message, or making a short call to your stakeholders. Ask actively feedback so that you can improve on the things you are doing. Ask for help e.g. review something you’ve done as you would at the office, don’t batter your head to the wall alone.
  • Overall, be genuinely curious about the people you are working with and acknowledge how important they are. Try to understand their story and let them understand yours. Increase the number of one-on-one meetings with your co-workers and the casual “how are you doing” instant messages just like you would while passing them in the hallway at the office. Even though being remote, people still have the need to be visible and seen by others.

Investing in better relationships takes time and effort especially now in this special time. Especially if you are a leader, you need to see the value of the process of relationship building. Please take this topic and discuss it with your team on how they want to improve the situation.

Be safe,

Karl

Karl Nyman

Karl Nyman

Karl believes that technology has the potential of making our everyday lives better if humanness and sustainability are always kept as the centering values. Karl is a versatile and customer-oriented professional with a wide-ranging background. He has experience in several different industries including e.g. retail and logistics, energy, construction, telco, professional services, insurance and the public sector. His roles have varied from agile and organizational coaching to digital strategy consulting and leadership. Karl is especially passionate about developing strategies, products, and ways of working in the digitizing world.

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X-Road is a free and open-source data exchange layer solution. We are proud to announce that X-Road version 6.24.0 was published by our customer Nordic Insititute of Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) on the 31st of August and its latest release is more user-friendly than ever.

Combining security and human-centric design together might sound like a mission impossible, but it’s not if there is a will to make it happen. The creation of version 6.24.0 has required good collaboration between the customer and its different vendors – including us. It is always a pleasure to work in the team, that wants to find the best solutions, taking equally into account the functionality, visual design, user experience, and security.

A new user interface for Security Server administrators

The main new feature that is visible for the user is a new user interface for Security Server administrators. The CTO of NIIS, Petteri Kivimäki, wrote about it himself: ”The new UI provides improved user experience (UX) for Security Server administrators. The new UI has a new look and feel, and it makes taking care of administrative tasks easier and supports streamlining the onboarding process of new X-Road members.”

The new version has an administrative REST API that enables automation of Security Server maintenance tasks, several changes to improve the performance of the security server, and last, but not least, a new version has support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL8).

A significant improvement in many ways

Security Server’s administrative API is a significant improvement in many ways. Basically all the operations that can be done in the UI, can also be done with the API. After all, the UI has been built on top of the API. Using the API and automation, configuring new Security Servers becomes effortless. Maintaining and monitoring subsystems, services, and access rights can be fully automated. What’s best of all, everything mentioned above works equally well for single servers and large groups of Security Server installations.
Please remember that X-Road version 6.21, which was compliant with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, is not supported anymore and the underlying host operating system needs to be upgraded! If help is needed in any of those upgrades, then do not hesitate to ask us. Gofore is an X-Road Technology Partner and we are happy to help in all the areas around X-Road implementation, maintenance, or upgrade.

Background

Gofore provides the X-Road Software Core Development Services for the Nordic Institute of Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) since 2018, based on a 3-year agreement. NIIS is an association founded jointly by Estonia and Finland. It is both a network and cooperation platform and executioner of IT developments in members’ common interests. NIIS ensures the quality, sustainability, and cross-border capability of core e-government infrastructure components.

Our service for NIIS includes the design, implementation, and maintenance of X-Road core software. In addition, cloud-based development environments related to X-Road development are maintained and further developed.

Ilkka Seppälä
Technical Project Manager for X-Road core development team
ilkka.seppala@gofore.com

Read more:

Release notes: https://confluence.niis.org/display/XRDKB/X-Road+v6.24.0+Release+Notes

Official documentation: https://github.com/nordic-institute/X-Road/tree/master/doc

List of contributors: https://confluence.niis.org/display/XRDKB/X-Road+v6.24.0+Release+Notes#XRoadv6.24.0ReleaseNotes-Contributors

Package repositories: https://confluence.niis.org/display/XRDKB/X-Road+v6.24.0+Release+Notes#XRoadv6.24.0ReleaseNotes-PackageRepositories

Ilkka Seppälä

Ilkka Seppälä

Ilkka on kokenut tekninen tiiminvetäjä, joka on työskennellyt eri rooleissa kehittäjästä teknologiajohtajaksi yli 20 vuoden ajan. Hänen ydinosaamistaan ovat tehokkaiden ohjelmistokehitystiimien luominen ja johtaminen, ohjelmistoarkkitehtuurit ja pilviteknologiat.

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Change management is the most important task of most managers. Lessons and learnings are available in books and courses. In spite of good design and planning, many changes remain half-finished or their desired outcomes are not fully reached. I argue that it is time to review anew the key success indicators in change management.

From a management perspective, planning of change emphasises timetables, budgets and distribution of work. However, from the point of view of human leadership, success is evaluated by leadership criteria. A drift towards the new can be made decisively on spreadsheets, but the stale end result is caused by personnel who resist change. This change of perspective along the process does not support success. Change is managed rationally, in spite of the fact that each of us experiences it emotionally.

Change is an emotional and hesitation is human

The critical questions of employees and their hesitation in the initial steps of change are often interpreted as resistance to change. However, the reason for hesitation is human. In the face of the new, we humans experience an emotional rollercoaster from enthusiasm to discouragement, be it in work or in our personal life. There is no need to wallow in uncertainty at the workplace, but it is worth spending some time and space to express emotions at work.

Change is grounded in confidence

Change is often complex and requires particular confidence. The task of senior management is to create encouragement and confidence even in an uncertain future. However, it does not happen at a single workshop. Trust is created at all levels of the organization and in everyday life when we walk the talk.

Disputes fuel movement

Trust also requires courage. From time to time, people may disagree, but this is allowed. There is no reason to fear different visions because friction also creates a dialogue. When employees engage in discussion and exchange views, there is a feeling of inclusion. Criticism is therefore allowed – and even desirable.

Leadership and hierarchical power diverge Leadership work is currently being reformulated: managerial work is being automated, outsourced, and transferred to bots and service centers. The power of decision-making is shared with the employees themselves. Many organisations wonder whether there is still a need for supervisors and management. We want to get rid of silos and heavy structures and increase self-guidance in the midst of everything we do.

Dialogue also promotes IT projects

Large-scale IT projects need more than agile project methods and project management. A common direction is needed. During digitalisation, interactional leadership aims to build mutual trust. It is about how people work together and define their mutual relationships.

Change leadership can be found in us all, but can we nurture it enough?

Eeva Kiiskinen

Eeva Kiiskinen

Eeva toimii organisaatiomuotoilun ja muutosjohtamisen asiantuntijana. Hän sparraa asiakkaita organisoitumiseen, vuorovaikutukseen ja asiakaskeskeiseen kulttuuriin liittyvissä projekteissa. Eeva toimii johtamisviestinnän kouluttajana Tampereen yliopiston EMBA-koulutuksissa. Eevan tuotantotalouden alan väitöskirja käsitteli johtajuuden rakentumista strategisessa muutostilanteessa.

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Goforella edistetään uusia ajattelu- ja toimintatapoja, joilla on myönteinen vaikutus ympäristöön, ihmisiin ja heidän liiketoimintaansa.

Keväällä iskenyt koronavirus on aiheuttanut runsaasti epävarmuutta lähes kaikilla toimialoilla. Ikävistä seurauksistaan huolimatta koronavirus on tuonut mukanaan myös paljon hyvää.

”On ollut upeaa nähdä, kuinka esimerkiksi digitaalisaation näkökulmasta on otettu isoja harppauksia eteenpäin. Koronan myötä on lähdetty hakemaan erilaisia innovatiivisia ja ketteriä keinoja palveluiden tarjoamiseen niin julkisessa hallinnossa kuin yrityspuolella”, Head of Society Riikka Vilminko-Heikkinen Gofore Oyj:stä kertoo.

Gofore on kansainvälistä kasvua tavoitteleva digitalisaation asiantuntija. Yrityksessä työskentelee yli 700 alan johtavaa asiantuntijaa.

”Olemme tehneet melkein 20 vuoden ajan yhteistyötä julkisella sektorilla ja rakentaneet Suomen digitaalista perustaa yhdessä pitkäaikaisten kumppaneidemme kanssa. Julkinen sektori on tiukasti Goforen DNA:ssa ja olemme ylpeitä siitä, mitä olemme päässeet rakentamaan digitalisaation saralla. Me ymmärrämme asiakkaitamme ja heidän toimialaansa. Se on aina ollut meidän vahvuutemme”, Vilminko-Heikkinen sanoo.

Gofore on ollut mukana muun muassa elo-syyskuun vaihteessa käyttöön otetussa Koronavilkku-applikaatiossa. ”Se on valtavan tärkeä sovellus koronan hallinnan näkökulmasta”, Vilminko-Heikkinen toteaa.

Vaikka koronavirus siivitti digitalisaatiossa isoihin harppauksiin, Riikka Vilminko-Heikkinen näkee, että vielä on paljon myös tehtävää. ”Koronan myötä esimerkiksi terveydenhuoltoon syntyi satojen miljoonien eurojen edestä hoitovelkaa. Digitalisaation avulla hoitovelkaa on mahdollista pienentää esimerkiksi tekoälyä hyödyntämällä”, Vilminko-Heikkinen sanoo.

”Kestävän kehityksen teemat ja vastuullisuus näkyvät yhä enemmän asiakkaidemme projekteissa kuin myös meidän palvelutarjoomassamme. Keväällä olimme mukana hankkeessa, jossa haettiin ratkaisu käytettyjen suojamaskien puhdistamiseen ja uusiokäyttöön. Varsinais-Suomen ELY-keskuksen kanssa toteutimme ratkaisun, jolla pienennetään Saaristomeren fosforikuormaa. Molemmat ovat hienoja projekteja luonnon näkökulmasta. Tavoittelemmekin Goforella merkityksellisiä projekteja, joilla on suuri positiivinen vaikutus yhteiskuntaan ja ympäristöön.”

Artikkeli julkaistiin myös Talouselämän Nouseva Suomi -liitteessä 11.9.2020. Nouseva Suomi -jutuissa käsitellään suomalaista osaamista ja kestävää kasvua tukevia tekoja ja tekijöitä, jotka ovat mukana tekemässä tästä maasta parhaan yrittää, tehdä työtä ja asua.”

Gofore Oyj

Gofore Oyj

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Gofore is pioneering an ethical digital world – on an international scale! Sounds good, doesn’t it? And you know what, it feels even better if you have a chance to do it as your everyday work.

We believe digitalisation can and should be a force for good. We believe that this is the core of our existence and it has to show in everything we do. As a consultancy company, our main impact on the world becomes evident through our customers. One of the best examples of making an impact is our contribution to X-Road®.

Gofore is an X-Road Technology Partner with expertise in core development, deployment of X-Road instances, and service integrations. Our consultations have included consultations for potential X-Road implementation, instance implementations, software developments, training for local experts, and upgrades to the newest versions of X-Road. This means that we can help you all the way if you are considering implementing a free and open-source data exchange layer solution.

X-Road is an open-source data exchange layer solution that enables organizations to exchange information securely over the Internet. X-Road is released under the MIT open source license and is available free of charge.

Some examples, what is the impact and the potential of X-Road in the world:

  • 3 out of the 5 most advanced digital societies use X-Road: Denmark (Faroe Islands), Estonia, and Finland.
  • It’s distributed deployment model is resilient against cyber attacks.
  • X-Road might be the solution that will be used by the World Health Organisation.

Our journey with X-Road goes back in 2015. Finland had decided to implement X-Road. We were one of the companies that supported Finland’s overall National Service Architecture implementation. The whole program consisted of roles and authorizations, service views, digital authentication, and data exchange layer.  In June 2015 we started the work on the Finnish X-Road implementation project and we were responsible for the development of X-Road 6 based on the Finnish requirements. We collaborated closely with the Estonian private and public sector because at that time X-Road version 6 was under development and was not publicly available in GitHub. So many things have changed since then and it is one good example how fast things can be done also in the public sector! The source code of the Security Server was published in GitHub on 18.11.2015 and soon after that, the whole X-Road solution became open source.

What surprised us already 5 years ago, and what keeps us continuously excited about the solution, are the principles upon version 6 and later versions are built.

  • X-Road embraces diversity. It is one of those solutions that accept that organizations are different, their information systems are different, their needs are different. It allows us to standardize secure cross-organisational data exchange with rather small adjustments to the organizations no matter the sector or business domain That. eases its implementations a lot.
  • Born to be international. X-Road version 6 has a built-in capability for the federation of X-Road instances. It is widely known as a feature that enables cross-border data exchange, but it can be used successfully to adjust the solution for circumstances when one country has several implementations.

After the successful implementation of X-Road in Finland, the governments of Estonia and Finland decided that they are interested in the joint development of X-Road and they established the Nordic Institute of Interoperability Solutions (NIIS). NIIS ensures the quality, sustainability, and cross-border capability of core e-government infrastructure components. Gofore provides the X-Road Software Core Development Services for NIIS since 2018, based on a 3-year agreement. We have also made pro bono contributions to the source code to create a positive impact. This is the opportunity for anyone, who is interested!

Our multidisciplinary team around X-Road activities includes employees from our offices in Finland, Spain, and Estonia. We have provided our consultations on all the continents around the world, except Australia and Antarctica! Our strength is to bring the international teams together even in a remote working mode and turn our customer’s dreams into working solutions.

Tuuli Pärenson
International Business Development

Tuuli Pärenson

Tuuli Pärenson

Tuuli is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of implementing change and digital transformations in both public and private sector. She is skilled in digital government and governance solutions. At Gofore she is responsible for international business development and leadership in Gofore Estonia.

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