Mika Naatula has dedicated his career to data management. He believes data can help us make better decisions and even make the world a better place – little by little.
As CTO of Enfo’s information management business in Finland, Mika oversees new technologies and tools in this field. He also helps with data modeling and architecture in new customer projects.
From monoliths to evolution
The traditional way to manage data is to build one big data warehouse, kind of a monolith. Eventually, this leads to traditional problems: when one part is changed, others are affected. At some point, you will reach the end of the road and have to carry out a massive reform. Therefore, Mika is enthusiastic about breaking down the data management process into clear, independent services.
Data management could be designed in an evolutionary manner. This means building small, separate pieces that are interlinked according to a defined architecture. A city or a society is built this way – as separate projects, but with common principles and infrastructure. When small components are developed independently, you avoid reaching a dead end.
The technologies for this are already available, and the methods are getting there as well. But the change takes time, and the greatest obstacle is the resistance itself: we have done things in a certain manner and the tendency is to continue in the same way. Also, the lack of standards may slow this development down.
In data utilization, the sky is the limit
Data is needed everywhere. It describes what is happening and it can be used to predict what will happen. Primary data is created and used in operative processes. In addition, there are practically endless possibilities for secondary use of that data. This is why information should be seen and treated as a valuable strategic asset.
“New technologies make our work easier and create value for both the customer and Enfo. It is fascinating to discover these new ideas and to surprise our customers with our work. I want my work to have an impact and I believe that doing useful things bears fruit in the long run,” says Mika. “I also believe that whatever you do, you should do it as well as you can. This is a lot easier when you choose tasks that match your internal passion. In the consulting business, passionate work that adds value for your customers is all that matters. Everything good just follows – you can grow your business, choose better assignments and, eventually, get a financial reward too.”
Automation and AI boost development
Right now, we are heading towards automation and bringing artificial intelligence to data management. This will eliminate routine work, just like robotics has done in the factories. Building data management systems will become easier and there will be less need for building or even planning details. Data will also be able to be analyzed, processed, visualized, and modified more fluently than before.
Artificial intelligence will also change decision making, but you must know where to use it. There are many decisions in which AI can only play an assisting role, at the most, since only humans distinguish between what is morally right and wrong. But there are other choices that can be taught and delegated to machines. “The insurance companies, for example, already rely on automized decision making, and a similar development is going on in different fields. I believe decision automation will be the next big thing.”
Mika Naatula is a software professional with a strong entrepreneurial mindset, and the CTO of Enfo’s information management business. He believes that we should treat data as a valuable strategic asset.