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Agility meets the benefit of scale: A story of becoming customer-centric


Grano is a versatile expert in content services from planning to production, publishing, and material management – in all the print and digital channels relevant to their client's target audience.




Grano is a versatile expert and thought leader in its markets. It provides services enabling creativity from planning to production, publishing, and material management – in both print and digital channels. Grano had identified that the organisation has been too focused on both its products and production. It was on a transformational path to becoming a service and customer-oriented organisation.

Key objectives

As with many larger companies, Grano also has a variety of applications and operating systems that have made it challenging to manage relevant customer data and synchronise information from one system to another. As the digitalisation wave is sweeping through the publishing industry and rapidly transforming it, Grano has prioritised the shift towards their services even further. This is where we were invited to take part in the planning of Grano’s journey into the future.

Grano wanted to identify how to develop its omnichannel experience and commercial capabilities further to improve the provided customer experience and simultaneously increase digital sales.

From a strategy point of view, there had already been a lot of talk and ideation concerning the business model transformation; it still needed aligned steps to bring synergies with each of the increments. The transformation journey includes major elements: from technical system transitions to a completely new mindset of how to serve customers. A transformation project of this magnitude spans multiple years. The shared mission of the project with Columbia Road was to focus not only on quick wins but help Grano to future-proof its business by adopting digital tools and providing value-adding services to its customers.

Columbia Road helped us crystallise our customer experience vision and worked with us to align it to our group-level strategy in vivid, super-concrete terms. The holistic approach combined with actionable planning meant that we could start taking steps straight away!

Mikko Mäkynen, Sales and Marketing Director, Grano

Our approach

Since the beginning of the project, it was our objective to make systematic changes instead of separate small improvements so that real business impact could be achieved. We wanted to focus on finding the pain points and opportunities for turning the business piece by piece into a fully customer-centric operation. This also meant that during the project, we could quickly see the need to shift our perspective into a more wholesome roadmap of all elements of the business and tie in with the business strategy.

We started the work by auditing the current state of the business and its digital capabilities, company culture, IT architecture, and leadership models. Through twelve internal interviews with all key stakeholders from both the project team, the management team and internal functions, we were able to form a holistic picture of the current situation and the possible next steps.

After hosting workshops to formulate the target state for Grano’s digital ecosystem and the surrounding customer experience, we validated the target state with internal stakeholders. Our work clarifying the vision and tying it in with the business strategy included going through the different elements of customer experience, future customer journeys, and future enablers of influential customer experiences.

Once a crystal clear target state vision had been formed, we could continue by planning, visualising and creating a roadmap and vision for developing Grano’s provided experience and service, sales and customer support. The items on the roadmap were all estimated and prioritised based on impact versus effort for the best possible action steps, keeping cost efficiency and flexibility at the heart of the plan.


With the strategy work and a clarified vision, we were able to help Grano take steps toward its goal: to serve its clients better, at the right time and to the right needs. Our work also produced a well-thought-out, concrete roadmap and an analysis with findings from the roadmap.

Our involvement in the project helped Grano to react faster to the upcoming changes in their business. Our input helped identify critical focus areas in the business strategy and, simultaneously, ensure that the roadmap components work as entities creating concrete value for the organisation.

Feedback from the project has been stellar, and the stakeholders have described the roadmap as an exceptional and comprehensive plan that is easy to both endorse and start executing on.

We feel incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to help Grano on its transformation journey. There are many exciting steps to come. By enhancing resilience as well as its ability to react to changes, Grano is on its way to becoming an even more customer-oriented organisation and ready to thrive also in the future.

The roadmap takes a stance on not just individual touchpoints but more broadly on customer experience, our people, data management, and the change in our business model. The holistic approach and actionable planning meant we could start taking steps straight away!

Mikko Mäkynen, Sales and Marketing Director, Grano

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