Digital journey with straight shots
Grieg Seafood ASA is one of the world's leading breeders of salmon, with fish farms in Finnmark, Rogaland, British Columbia (Canada) and on the Shetland Islands. At the main office in Bergen, we meet CIO Trond Kathenes, who tells us about a fish farming industry in rapid development. - Large parts of the industry are in the midst of a big digital transformation. Our industry must become more industrialized and more digitally oriented.
- In this process of change, the IT provider Visolit is an important partner in cloud services, system architecture, collaboration and regular operations and support. Visolit must always be updated with the latest technology and trends in order to guide us in the right direction, says Kathenes.
Visolit is our IT department
Kathenes emphasizes that Grieg Seafood has not outsourced its IT department, but that they have insourced Visolit as an integrated part of the business.
- Visolit is our IT department, and we have an ongoing and close dialogue with them. It enables the partner to learn and understand our business and thereby give good advice in our digital development, says Kathenes.
Stable and safe solutions are important to Grieg Seafood, who has been a Visolit customer since 2011:
- At that time, we focused on consolidating and standardizing the technological platform. It was in itself a challenging task that was solved through good dialogue and close cooperation. In all relationships, there are good and bad days, but there is a reason why one renews after five years of collaboration. That is because there have been more sunny days than rainy days.
We experience being heard when we warn that something needs to be done, which is important for all customers. We should be an important and demanding customer, without being a difficult one. At the same time we try to be a clear customer, and straight talk is our way, emphasizes Kathenes with a spark in his eye.
Managing devices out where "no one would think anyone could live"
Kathenes says that safety and stability in the operating platform are absolutely essential for the company.
- Visolit manages all our units. Visolit`s geographical responsibilities ranges far beyond ranges far beyond regular office landscapes. We have facilities in places where people do not live and that are far out of the way. This presents additional challenges in relation to data communication and dialogue with end users. We have standardized throughout the organisation. Those who sit with a PC out at a plant in Canada have exactly the same equipment and solutions as here at the office in Bergen, emphasises Kathenes.
Digital journey - to understand the fish better
Kathenes willingly shares his knowledge of the market and the industry's challenges.
- The purpose of our digital commitment is to understand the fish better, in order to make the right decisions so that the fish have the best possible growing conditions. We must, like any other animal breeder, ensure that the life cycle of the animals is optimal. It means the best possible growth conditions, the least possible stress, and by seeking to avoid disease and reduce lice problems.
This in itself is a demanding exercise, because we operate in a field where we can do very little about the bigger picture. There are many parameters that can affect the biology under water without us having had good enough sensors to capture and understand it. Our digital journey must, therefore, have a biological focus, explains Kathenes.
In our digitization strategy, we have introduced the concept of Grieg Seafood Precision Farming. This involves a digital development that Visolit is very involved in with us. We need to be even better at data collection and analysis, as well as being able to automate management information and government reporting.
The digital transformation is about culture and people
Kathenes also speaks about his role as a CIO in a large company.
- We are facing a change in the way we work, and we must bring everyone with us on this journey of change. Creating new work processes does not help if those who do the tasks are not included and given proper training.
We work closely with production staff and HR to involve the employees in the projects we initiate. This is not a mindset from a closed office in Bergen, but are issues we discuss with production managers out on the facilities, he explains.
It is also about competency development, and we want to support and promote "The curious employee". If we want to stimulate the good questions that require thoughtful answers, we must also applaud good solutions and smart practical approaches.
Professionally up to date with Visolit and Gartner
In the role as CIO, it is important to stay up to date, and Kathenes uses insight from selected partners and from Gartner.
- We use the experience and expertise of those who are invited to the table with us to bring out the best in each other. We are rather more picky in the selection of the partners so that the composition fits with our strategy for development.
The industry needs better decisionmaking support
The aquaculture industry has a bit of work to do in the area of data quality in general, and within parameters that affect the fish's environment in particular. This process has begun, among other things under the auspices of a national expert centre for the seafood sector (NCE Seafood), where the largest industry players work together to solve several of the challenges facing the industry, says Kathenes.
In the work, a common analysis platform is central to being able to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning on the large amounts of collected data from the respective industry players. -If we get a better fact-based decision basis, we can make the right decisions earlier on with higher efficiency, concludes Kathenes.
About Grieg Seafood
Grieg Seafood ASA is one of the world's leading breeders of salmon, with fish farms in Finnmark, Rogaland, British Columbia (Canada) and on Shetland. The head office is in Bergen. Altogether, more than 700 people work in Grieg Seafood. Grieg Seafood uses modern farming technology to ensure a safe and clean salmon production of high quality.
"On this journey of change, the IT provider Visolit is an important partner in cloud services, system architecture, collaboration, and regular operations and support. They work to be constantly updated with the latest technology and trends to guide us in the right direction." - CIO in Grieg Seafood, Trond Kathenes.
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