CGI and the Aalto University School of Business have entered into a two-year agreement as of the beginning of 2016. The first fruits of this collaboration were introduced to about 1 500 guests in the Ratkaisu 2016 event organised by CGI at Finlandia Hall on 2 February.
‘What this partnership we have just formed means in practice is that CGI will be actively involved in the different areas of the partnership programme, such as job-search training for students, sharing knowledge and expertise for example by providing real-life cases for teaching, and collaboration initiatives in project form,’ says Anne Salonvaara from Corporate Relations at the School of Business. ‘It is great that CGI’s involvement in this partnership programme is so broad-based.’
The student team with Aalto University's Project Specialist Tommi Vihervaara (left) and Professor Markku Kuula (right).
Collaboration started rather speedily when CGI and VR Group’s maintenance unit launched a joint student project aiming to find new models for the maintenance of trains.
Students from Aalto University created an operation and prediction model that will improve production planning for locomotive wheel sets and help to predict the need to turn and replace them. The new solution requires that data from monitoring the rolling stock and from measurement stations along the railway network be analysed in real time.
Professor of Business Technology at the School of Business Markku Kuula said that, with two parties participating on the business side at the same time, the project was a new kind of opening for collaboration between business world and higher education.
‘The Aalto University students who took part in the project gained excellent practical experience in gathering and analysing research data, were able to network with experts from businesses and gained valuable experience in business projects.’
Jenni Heinisuo, Head of IT at VR Maintenance and VR Track, was happy with the outcome of the project. ‘It is possible to gain clear economic benefits from developing the maintenance programme and anticipatory production planning.’
‘Cooperation with universities and universities of applied sciences is important to us – and rewarding. The partnership with Aalto University adds a new dimension to our innovation-led projects, in which we study the practical opportunities digitalisation provides in the business operations of our customers,’ describes Director of Marketing and Communications at CGI Jarkko Virtanen.
‘Data, open interfaces, the Internet of Things, mobility, robotics and service design are already key motors of change in our customers’ business operations and customer experience. Along with this collaboration, we also offer the young generation of diginatives an opportunity to experience the ongoing transformation and make an impact on it,’ Virtanen summarises.
Through the partnership programme, companies get the chance to engage in long-term collaboration with the School of Business in many different areas. Possible forms of collaboration include developing the company employer brand, contributing to teaching, carrying out research cooperation, for instance in connection with student projects, and acting as a visiting lecturer.
Anne Salonvaara, Corporate Relations at the School of Business
Jarkko Virtanen, CGI, Director of Marketing and Communications