Dec 17, 2018 Corporate blog

Digital Garage has been making ideas happen fast

Rashmi Kasat
Rashmi Kasat
VP, Head of Digital Business Development, Digital Garage
In the summer of 2018, Metso set up the Digital Garage to speed up its digital experimentation pipeline. The new function is part of Metso’s Digital Office and it specializes in creating digital concepts and fast prototypes of innovative ideas and validating their value for our customers and us. The ideas can relate to any area of business operations where digitalization can play a game-changing role.
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All the ideas are first screened within the respective businesses and the ones with most potential are studied and selected for prototyping by the Digital Garage Council, which consists of business area executive sponsors, the CIO, CDO, Digital Garage lead and Enterprise Architect.

First digital prototypes are now ready

Our first prototypes are based on data- and knowledge-driven themes from our business areas

  • A web-based, self-service capital investment planning tool for our mining customers and sales people
  • A sales dashboard for forecast-based operations planning for our valves sales and operations
  • A cost reporting dashboard for global travel management.

All prototyped ideas revolve around the concept of data-driven decision making and have great potential for further development. We presented five questions to the business owners of the ideas to share their insights about the success of their respective projects.

1) What kind of project have you been working on with the Digital Garage?

Simo Sääskilahti, Vice President, Valves business area: We developed a prototype for a sales dashboard with Microsoft Power BI. The dashboard visualizes valves sales data at a highly granular level to improve forecast-based operations planning.

Guillaume Lambert, Vice President, Mining crushers: It was a prototype for a web-based, self-service design tool that enables customers to get quick ideas for their mining capital investment plans in just a few clicks.

Virpi Vilén, Global Travel Manager: Our project was a reporting dashboard that pulls together data from different data sources with different formats and visualizes it all in one single format. Now I can get quick insight into monthly travel costs in just a few clicks.

2) How did you run these projects?

Rashmi Kasat, Vice President, Head of Digital Business Development: The key was to understand the underlying business development opportunities clearly and to create a quick digitalization concept. We then quickly found technology and digital development partners to make us a prototype. Prototypes were provided to key users to test and validate the usability. Based on the very positive user feedback, we have now decided to invest in first pilots for all the cases.

3) How will data and information create new opportunities for your business?

Simo Sääskilahti: With the dashboard exercise, we quickly learned through practical prototypes and iterations what kind of data will add value and how to make it available and useful. Now we want to build the first version, use it, and learn more about what other data we need and how to turn it into business insights for practical decision making. We could potentially also apply machine learning for predicting data trends, etc. The key is to get maximum insights into customer demand data to make internal operations and plans so that we can ensure on-time deliveries and improve the customer experience.

Guillaume Lambert: We know that mining customers don’t have access to any quick and easy tools for making their investment and other plans. Instead, they use sketching tools, which are not very well suited for the task. Consequently, we thought of making Metso’s knowledge available to customers in the form of a self-help tool. The tool would help customers to do equipment replacement plans, investment plans and trade-off plans in an easy manner. They would not have to rely on mere estimates, but could leverage deep knowledge and expertise from Metso.

Virpi Vilén: When we spoke with Rashmi, I was looking for a cloud tool where all data could be automatically collected, viewed and seen in a unified format. Rashmi introduced me to this Power BI tool from Microsoft. Before this, I was doing travel cost data collection manually in an Excel spreadsheet; that took several hours and caused a lot of frustration. Data was available in different formats from each of our key regions and making a report was very time-consuming every month. But with this new data dashboard, I get my reports made conveniently and in a reliable way.

4) What are your key lessons from the Digital Garage projects so far?

Rashmi Kasat: We don’t want to develop digital concepts just because they are “cool;” we want to do them because it will make our business and our customers’ business run better.

The data, information and knowledge we have within our company and amongst our customers are immensely valuable. We are running these prototype projects to assess exactly what value we want to get out of that data, how we will do that, what it will cost, and how the end-to-end process with data will work. It’s important to remember that the value of data is as good as its quality. We want to determine exactly what data is most valuable and, based on that, drive relevant “data discipline” within our businesses.

5) What is happening next in the Digital Garage?

Rashmi Kasat: Many more interesting ideas are bubbling to the surface and some of those will be ready by the beginning of next year. We are experimenting to see how we can apply technologies like virtual reality, deep learning, and machine learning to carry out, for example, training, performance optimization, wear detection and anomaly detection. Stay tuned for more news from the Metso Digital Garage!

Reshaping the future
Digitalization plays a strong role in today's innovations. Our ambition is to become one of the digital leaders in the industries we serve.