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How the Koc Group built remarkable tech recognized by the World Economic Forum

Updated: Mar 7

May 29, 2023 | Koc Holding | Transformation | CIO | MIT CIO Summit | By Kapil Nagpal and Priyanka Nagpal

Koc Holding, a leading investment holding company contributing to 9% of Turkey’s GDP
Koc Holding, a leading investment holding company contributing to 9% of Turkey’s GDP

Koç Holding A.Ş., a leading investment holding company contributing to 9% of Turkey’s GDP built a remarkable tech recognized by the World Economic Forum. The Koc group has Turkey's largest intellectual property portfolio with over 7,000 trademarks, 1,000 industrial designs, 4,700 internet domain names, and 4,700 patents.


Oguz Sezgin is the group CIO of Koç Holding A.Ş., leading the digital transformation program of all the group companies. The group companies include automotive, manufacturing, consumer durables, finance, energy, and lots of other units. Oguzs leads over 1,800 projects, implementing digital technologies such as advanced data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and the Internet of Things.

"When the whole team believes in your vision and understands the value of digital transformation and how it impacts them in the future, it's easier to accomplish success.", - Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.

The Koc group has made significant advancements in software-based Electric Vehicle charging technologies. The companies within the Koc group have leveraged data-driven decision-making and doing business, by focusing on the use of advanced data collection and analysis opportunities brought about by technology.

"Data and AI-driven decision-making contribute to customers’ transition to digital transformation and data commercialization." - The Koc Group investor report.

The core business of nearly half of the Koc Group companies is manufacturing.

At the end of 2022, two out of every three manufacturing facilities within the Group were being managed by end-to-end IoT platforms.

The Koc group continues to invest in technologies not only to drive business benefits but also to spearhead solutions to the most important issues that confront the world today.


The challenge of wildfires

In the summer of 2021, Turkey experienced a significant outbreak of wildfires in various regions across the country. In the aftermath of the wildfire, there was a significant impact on the people, environment, and economy.

In the summer of 2021, Turkey experienced a significant outbreak of wildfires in various regions across the country.
In the summer of 2021, Turkey experienced a significant outbreak of wildfires in various regions across the country.
The wildfires affected multiple provinces, resulting in the loss of lives and injuries to both residents and firefighting personnel. Some of the affected areas included popular tourist destinations and forested regions, impacting the economy and the environment.

The wildfires caused substantial damage to forests, vegetation, and wildlife habitats. There was the loss of green cover and the destruction of ecosystems with potential long-term effects on the environment and biodiversity. The wildfires had economic repercussions, particularly in regions dependent on tourism. The destruction of natural landscapes and infrastructure, including hotels and resorts, impacted the tourism industry and local economies.


AI-powered wildfire prediction system as the solution

Leveraging advanced data analytics

In the context of wildfire disaster management, the efficient conveyance of information and prompt decision-making is crucial. Timely and accurate information dissemination helps authorities, emergency responders, and the public make informed decisions and take appropriate actions to mitigate the impact of wildfires.

Timely and accurate information dissemination helps emergency responders
Timely and accurate information dissemination helps emergency responders

The Koc Group employed its competencies in the artificial intelligence area in line with the needs of the Directorate General of Forestry to build an advanced analytical model.


The advanced analytics model incorporates over 400 variables across 14 distinct datasets. It not only predicts wildfires but also develops logistical planning suggestions for extinguishing possible fires, making it the most robust project implemented globally, as recognized by the World Economic Forum.


The model analyzes vast amounts of data related to weather conditions, vegetation, topography, and historical wildfire patterns to identify areas prone to wildfires with high accuracy.


Promoting real-time monitoring and rapid decision making

The wildfire prediction system continuously monitors various environmental parameters in real-time, including temperature, humidity, wind speed, and vegetation moisture content to detect early signs of fire risk and provide timely warnings to relevant authorities and communities. This enables proactive measures to be taken, including prompt firefighting efforts and evacuation procedures, to minimize the impact of wildfires.


Rapid decision-making based on reliable data and expert analysis allows for the effective deployment of firefighting personnel and equipment, allocation of resources, and coordination of emergency response efforts.


Going a step further - engaging the community

Koc Holding has actively engaged with local communities, raising awareness about wildfire risks and providing guidance on preventive measures. They have conducted educational campaigns to empower individuals with knowledge and skills to prevent wildfires and respond effectively in case of emergencies.


Building collaborative partnerships for global impact

They collaborated with governmental agencies, scientific institutions, and technology partners to develop and refine the wildfire prediction system. The recognition by the World Economic Forum has facilitated the project's dissemination and the formation of a global community of multidisciplinary experts, fostering collaborative technology efforts.

Global impact
Global Impact

Additionally, this project stands out as the inaugural research and development endeavor conducted on the World Economic Forum's AI and Machine Learning platform, adding to its uniqueness and significance.


By prioritizing swift information conveyance and decisive action, wildfire disaster management can enhance public safety and minimize the potential damage caused by these natural disasters.


Recognizing the CIO's efforts


Koç Holding A.Ş. launched a transformation program in 2016, which included agile transformation, innovation, zero-based budgeting, and carbon transition. It was a challenging task to achieve this transformation at the group-wide level because of the complexity of value offerings and the diversity of the size of companies, Koç Holding A.Ş.has some giant companies and some mid-size companies in the portfolio. It's a complicated group with companies in multiple sectors, including energy, automotive, finance, and durable goods.

"We started the transformation with all group companies and quickly understood that we need to transform our suppliers, dealers, partners, and even NGOs. Transformation won't happen just by transforming our company, we need to transform the whole ecosystem.", - Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.

Oguz Sezgin established governance processes, introduced innovations across the group of companies, created an agile ecosystem, and promoted a culture of sharing innovations across the different group companies, leading the entire group of diversified companies towards a brighter future. He went a step further to leverage the company's scale and innovation to solve the problems faced by the country and the world.

"Aligned with our mission to transform the whole ecosystem, during COVID, we decided to open our learning platform to the entire world, to enable digital capability upskilling", - Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.

As part of the digital transformation across the group of companies at Koç Holding A.Ş., Oguz Sezgin has focused on investing in talent development and upskilling. He created training and development programs focused on digital skills, collaborating with renowned universities and leading technology companies. Koç Holding A.Ş trained over 10,000 employees. Training is an important metric they measure as part of the Key Performance Indicators in digital readiness and transformation. Oguz went a step further and opened the digital learning platform for public benefit in the spirit of enabling digital capability upskilling, especially due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.
Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.
"There are two kinds of responsibilities. One is making sure that business services are running in the most resilient and sustainable way. The other one is looking for innovation and process improvement in each part of the business area.", - Oguz Sezgin, CIO at Koç Holding A.Ş.








Conclusion

Through the development of its wildfire prediction system, Koc Holding has demonstrated its commitment to using digital technologies for social good. By providing early warnings, empowering communities, and fostering collaborations, they have significantly contributed to mitigating the devastating effects of wildfires and protecting lives, property, and the environment. In an era defined by disruption, this transformative tale serves as a call to action for other CIOs.


References

MIT CIO Summit Panel Discussion - "CIO as Chief Transformation Officer: Strengthening Digital Dexterity across the Entire Organization" - https://mitcio.com/


Panel: CIO as Chief Transformation Officer: Strengthening digital dexterity across the entire organization



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