Chief analytics officer and Ironman triathlete creates value from data

Maija Hovila left behind a career as a top athlete to pursue her second great passion: data analytics at KONE. She saw early on that big data is the future of business.

Maija Hovila’s trophy cabinet is bulging. The former National Triathlon Champion and Youth Olympic alpine skier has newly added a further accolade to her formidable resumé: The title of Analytics Professional of the Year presented at the Nordic DAIR Awards.

Hovila makes winning look easy, but her victories have nothing to do with luck. Her modest, warm manner belies an unflinching will.

“I try to do only things that bring me happiness,” she says. “I’m genuinely passionate about my work and improving myself both physically and mentally.”

In sport and in business, Maija Hovila’s dedication and initiative shine through.
In sport and in business, Maija Hovila’s dedication and initiative shine through.

Driver of digital transformation

Armed with an applied mathematics degree, a Cambridge MBA, and 15 years of consulting and analytics experience, Hovila joined KONE two years ago to drive the company’s digital transformation.

Her mission as chief analytics officer is to help KONE become more data enabled. This means using all the data everywhere in the company – from elevator use statistics to social media engagement – to steer strategic decision-making. She also coordinates data literacy training at KONE.

Collecting usage data on equipment – not people

But if KONE is constantly analyzing data, does this mean someone is watching us every time we enter an elevator?

“We only collect data about equipment behavior, not individual passengers. We have no idea who is riding in the elevator,” Hovila reassures privacy-conscious consumers.

Usage data is collected strictly for the purpose of serving customers better, anticipating maintenance needs, and analyzing movement patterns in cities, as illustrated in ‘Next-level cities’. The story offers insights into the way people have been moving in cities across the world since the outset of the pandemic.

Today, success is driven by how effectively companies leverage data.
Today, success is driven by how effectively companies leverage data.

Leveraging data to create value

Today, every business is a data business, explains Hovila. Success is driven by how effectively companies transform data into better decisions and value-creating solutions.

“You need to analyze everything to gain customer understanding. What are people searching for in Google? What topics are dominating online forums? Where are the trends moving and what do they mean for our company?”

The importance of data will continue to grow

At KONE, Hovila uses data to build use cases and identify untapped opportunities. Data analytics is also critical in yielding sustainability insights.

“It helps us understand where we stand and where we can improve. By tracking, we can then measure how well we meet our sustainability targets.”

In the future, the role of data will grow, predicts Hovila with unreserved enthusiasm.

“Data makes us happier! By reducing the burden of routine tasks, it lets us focus on what is meaningful. The same applies both in our personal lives and in business.”



What do you love about your job?
The fascinating opportunities to make everyday life better for the over one billion people utilizing our equipment every day.

What are your priorities at work?
Creating value from data and transforming KONE by using data.

What does the Analytics Professional of the Year award mean to you?
It gives me reassurance that the transformation my team is leading is going in the right direction.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The pleasure of spending time with my inspiring, smart, and fun team. But first – great coffee!

What’s your best habit that helps you do your job better?
Enjoying the outdoors while listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

What hobby helps inspire you at work?
The Ironman triathlon, which has a lot of similarities to my work. You work really hard, and then you still have the marathon left.

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