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  • Ahead in the Cloud: Empowering Data Ownership with Sameli Mäenpää

    November 08, 2022
  • Sameli Mäenpää, Chief Data Officer at OP Financial discusses using cloud in insurance and banking industries. The discussion covers what it means to be a data-driven organization.

    Hosted by Chad Watt, researcher and writer with the Infosys Knowledge Institute.

    “Data is not equal, so data is valuable only when you can connect that to the business and to the customers.”

    “I always say that cloud is something that has brought democracy in the digital world.”

    “Data not only is an asset, but it is an asset that you have to treat the same way as the actual financial assets.”

    - Sameli Mäenpää


  • OP Financial is one of the largest banks in Finland. It has a 40% market share in banking and insurance markets.
  • Most of the big local and global players are realizing that data is actually their number one asset right after the financial assets.
  • It is so important that with cloud, you can get into the development mode as fast as you can. While on-premise, you spend a lot of time in creating the environments, the pipelines, and sometimes the scaling and so on, which is kind of native in cloud. Cloud helps when you want to derive the value from the data.
  • When you think about the operational use, very little operational use is in cloud. But when it comes to the analytical use, almost all of that use is from the cloud.
  • Data is not equal, so data is valuable actually only when you can connect that to the business and to the customers.
  • Data does not have intrinsic value and we derive the value more efficiently, in the cloud than in on-premise.
  • I think data is oil. I think it is nuclear fuel, and I think it is gold. That’s something you can refine and especially, the ore. I mean when you have the ore, it's not worth that much. You cannot really know how much gold you have if you have a pile of ore. But when you refine it, then you start to get a grasp of gold coming in. The thing is that you have something raw and you have to refine it and then you have to use it.
  • Refinement is a cost. Especially if you cannot use it. So I think it is so important to also understand how are you going to use the data? Are you going to reuse it? Are you going to get some real value to the customer of the business out of it?
  • Banks and insurance companies are one of the pillars of the society. Hence there are some regulatory and government requirements involved. Some data and systems will always have to be run kind of in an on-premise environment, which is very regulated. But I do believe in innovation where most of the applications and data can be on cloud, for both operational and analytical use.
  • We have created even something we call data balance sheet where we have data assets and data liability is kind of the same way as in the financial balance sheet. You need to put solutions onto the left side of the balance sheet, make assets out of data. So I think that's one of the foundation of being data driven, that you can understand how that process works, how that value chain works.

Show Notes

  • 00:33

    How long has OP had a Chief Data Officer?

  • 01:03

    Before becoming the Chief Data Officer, you told me a little bit with pride that you were a hardcore developer. Let's go back to those days and tell me how did you get started in coding?

  • 01:51

    What was your first computer?

  • 02:23

    Now talk to me a little bit about how you went from kind of coding and hardcore coding to managing systems and managing other coders.

  • 03:17

    Tell us about OP Financial. What are you known for among the Finns and where does the name OP come from?

  • 04:17

    Let's move on to some cloud calibration here. I know you're the Chief Data Officer, but data and cloud go hand in hand. What proportion of your data right now is in the cloud?

  • 05:49

    What can you do when you have that instructive data and the analytic tools in the cloud that perhaps you couldn't have done previously if those were either on premise or in different systems that you had to integrate?

  • 07:22

    There was this analogy more than 15 years ago that data is the new oil and all you have to do is refine it and then you have value from that. Is it data oil, is it nuclear fuel? Is it something else? Do you have something else you'd throw out there?

  • 08:34

    For your bank, for your insurance operation, is there anything in the data or app side that doesn't ultimately go to the cloud?

  • 09:16

    We’re talking about migrating to cloud in 2022. Can you give me some of your insight around what's different about migrating to cloud, adding things, applications and data to cloud now versus 2008, 2007 when Netflix is pioneering this cloud movement?

  • 11:24

    Cloud native apps or tools that have helped you build the data driven organization you want to build?

  • 13:14

    How do you use data upfront to build your organization? And you talk about data driven organization?

  • 14:52

    Are you putting AI to work with your cloud and your data?

About Sameli Mäenpää

Sameli Mäenpää

Sameli is a business and technology leader with international experience. He is currently working as the Chief Data Officer in OP Financial Group. In this position he is in the forefront of digitalization and technology development; concepts like AI, platform economy, big data and blockchain are part of his daily life. He has over 15 years of experience in banking. Mäenpää has founded several start-ups of which Oima is the most significant.

    Connect with Sameli Maenpaa

  • On LinkedIn