Rapid Tampere yields results: improving customer insight with data27.10.2020
What do we have, what do we want and how to proceed, when an electricity distribution company aims to use data to better understand its customers and improve customer communications accordingly? These questions were answered in a Rapid Tampere collaboration accelerator project.
Rapid Tampere is a collaboration accelerator, searching globally for top high-tech expertise to spar business in major industrial companies. Caruna was one of the first four industrial players to join Rapid Tampere.
Electricity distribution company Caruna has invested in improving the customer experience and developed several new digital services to be used at convenience. For the Rapid Tampere collaboration, Caruna set a challenge to improve its customer insight with data-analysis.
– We want to understand how to serve our customers better in different channels; how to reach appropriate target groups, what kind of new services are needed and how to automate customer communications, says Aino Salste, Marketing Manager at Caruna.
From this beginning the task evolved into a more comprehensive customer data development project.
DAIN Studios – a data and AI strategy consultancy based in Finland and Germany – was chosen to to be the partner of Caruna. With DAIN, they soon learned that the first thing to do is to examine the current state of data capabilities in Caruna, then start to develop more AI solutions.
– It was a good timing for Caruna to start the Rapid Tampere project: they have a strong mindset for data-driven development. In this project we were able to crystallise and guide the progress, says Leena Pesu, Data Strategist at DAIN Studios.
Collaboration on real business challenges
DAIN Studios joined Rapid Tampere to meet new potential customers in a collaboration model that is built around existing business needs. The partner for the Caruna case was chosen during a one-day-event in Tampere, where six technology companies pitched their solutions.
– The tech companies posed us some tough questions in the event and inspired us to focus our challenge and crystallise our needs further. It was a productive and thought-provoking day for everyone, says Salste.
– A well-organised and time-boxed event, summarises Ulla Kruhse-Lehtonen, CEO at DAIN Studios Finland.
According to Kruhse-Lehtonen, participating in the event would have been worthwhile even if it hadn’t resulted a project for DAIN Studios. Discussions with and pitches by the other companies gave useful views on what is happening in the market.
Current state analysis and customer care models
Caruna and DAIN Studios began to work together in March 2020 and managed to meet face-to-face a couple of times. Then the coronavirus pandemic transformed the project into a distance mode. The work went smoothly with Teams meetings, file sharing, voice and video calls, and their project proceeded as planned.
– The DAIN people helped us understand the state of our technical and data management capabilities, although the most important goal was data-driven development of customer experience, says Salste.
Beside current state analysis, Caruna and DAIN Studios worked on customer care models to examine the customer-level effect of certain operations. For example, an email sent to customers, offering a change for a more suitable electricity connection.
– Models helped us to produce an overview: from which touchpoints we need to collect data and what are the development needs. This way we can gather information on our customers’ reactions on our messages, says Salste.
– The Caruna customer data is located in several separate systems. Our project provided a roadmap with recommended development priorities to reach more integrated customer care, says Kruhse-Lehtonen.
According to Kruhse-Lehtonen, AI is often seen as a quick solution for certain challenges in a company. However, it is paramount to put the basics in order and organise the data before building AI solutions. With a rational roadmap, travelling the AI path and scaling company’s data use make much more sense.
– Without the Rapid Tampere project we probably wouldn’t have got this far so soon. The DAIN people had a firm grasp on the project and they pushed us forward, to look for solutions, says Salste.
The collaboration will continue until the end of 2020 as Caruna and DAIN Studios are working on the development measures based on the current state analysis.
Rapid Tampere – new innovation and cooperation culture in Tampere
Sandvik, Kalmar, Caruna and Valmet, all high-class international industrial companies, were the first ones to join the collaboration accelerator Rapid Tampere. Partners, i.e. the best hi-tech companies in their own fields, were globally searched in the autumn 2019 to spar these companies.
Rapid Tampere offers a developing platform for collaboration and an operation model to refine innovations into business activities. The aim is that the initial Rapid Tampere pilot projects will continue as co-development, which in turn will create new innovation and cooperation culture.
– The collaboration between Caruna and DAIN Studios is a fine demonstration on the power of Rapid Tampere to get things moving, says Jouni Myllymäki, Senior Business Advisor, Industry, at Business Tampere.
Rapid Tampere collaboration accelerator is operated by the innovation company Vertical in cooperation with Eversheds Attorneys Ltd. Business Tampere and the City of Tampere are the enablers of the accelerator, helping establish a solid foundation for continuous innovation activities in the Tampere Region.
The next Rapid Tampere 2020–2021 round is about to start
New enterprise partners may join to accelerate their innovation practices. Watch Mr. Antti Keskinen, Head of Innovation at Caruna, talk about experiences of Rapid Tampere program. For more information, please see rapidtampere.fi.
Text: Päivi Stenroos