Supporting technology and change management in a crisis: Case Finnair

Close-up detail picture of a Finnair plane, highlighting the distinctive features of the aircraft operated by Finnair.

Constant change requires finding the flexibility, ability, and courage to react quickly. Read more about how Onitio as a partner of Finnair played a supportive role amid a time with crisis and change.



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Technology services

Sudden changes and uncertainty following as repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a completely exceptional year. Tourism and air travel were hit particularly hard by the crisis as operations came to a stand still. The situation also posed new challenges for technology solutions and IT management. In

March 2020, Tiina Flytström transferred from Post to Finnair with responsibility for infrastructure. At this time the effects of the corona crisis had just begun to materialize in Finland as well.

“I practically came at the heart of the crisis. Everything changed really fast which meant that in the morning the situation could be quite different than in the afternoon. By April, a significant part of our traffic had been shut down”. Says Flytström.

Rapidly changing situations were also reflected in technology solutions and their management.

“My responsibilities include managing the internal team, end-user equipment and data security. The reduction in air traffic has also affected the amount of work in my own team, but at the same time it has been important to ensure that there is sufficient manning in critical functions”. Says Flytström.

Quick response with a technology partner

Sudden changes and uncertainty also created new kinds of needs for the technology partner.

“We needed a service provider with the ability to respond quickly to changing situations. A partner with an agile and cost-effective way to deliver services that scale quickly”. Flytström explains.

Onitio had been providing local support services to Finnair as a subcontractor for a long time, now a much more comprehensive service was needed. In the autumn of 2020 a larger, single point-of-contact model, which controls all IT services, was introduced on a fast schedule.

“When the supplier was already known and there were familiar staff involved, no time was spent in the introductory phase, and the project was able to move forward quickly”. Says Flytström.

Corona also brought unusual limitations to the practical implementation of the project which resulted in the whole project being carried out completely remotely without the project team meeting at all. The schedule was tight and when choosing a service provider, it was important that the partner was able to act quickly. The project plan also had to be exceptionally flexible. However, challenges were solved quickly, and everyone had a common goal of succeeding. The new situation brought challenges, but on the other hand it also pushed towards change even more boldly.

“The constant uncertainty forced everyone to act very systematically and ensure action in a new kind of situation. In a way, the crisis also created an opportunity to make big decisions in a positive way which meant that there was also more risk-taking”. Says Flytström.

However, in a situation of change, it is also important to keep in mind the big picture and the continuity of operations in the future.

“Even in a crisis, it is important not only to be too immersed in coping with everyday life, but also to keep in mind the company's strategy. We must remember where we are going in the long run”. Flytström concludes.