"The highest success rates are achieved collaboratively, and positive tension can provide solutions to seemingly impossible tasks,” emphasizes Anna-Mari Ylihurula.

DNA's new SVP, Corporate Business: "Planning is good, combined with action even better"

Anna-Mari Ylihurula assumed the role of SVP, Corporate Business at DNA in early August 2023. Her first hundred days in office included a deep dive into the operations of Telenor, one of the world's largest operators. The global reach of Finnish telecommunications operators is exceptionally strong.

To Ylihurula, who has extensive experience in leadership roles in the operator field, DNA’s profile was that of a bold challenger characterized by customer-centric and employee-friendly practices. With growth exceeding the market’s pace, however, DNA is no longer just a challenger but the second-largest player in the mobile market. Via parent company Telenor, DNA is part of one of the world's largest operators.

"Telenor’s capabilities are unique in the Finnish operator market. Telenor is significantly larger than other operators active in Finland, and this scope opens up significant advantages and opportunities for us and our customers," explains Anna-Mari Ylihurula.

Experience is crucial in critical security environments 

The close connection between DNA and Telenor is exemplified by joint research and development, competence centers operating in key strategic areas, and global procurement enhancing operative efficiency. Joint product development targets specifically selected areas, such as software-defined networks, cybersecurity, and mobile private networks. 

"The overwhelming market position of the 168-year-old Telenor is evident in the company’s home country, a founding nation of NATO. Telenor has a strong role and seminal experience in designing and building telecommunications services in critical security environments," notes Ylihurula. 

The breadth of Telenor's scope is particularly noticeable in network coverage. In addition to mobile networks in the Nordic region, Telenor has nearly 200 000 kilometers of its own fixed fiber network, including several alternate land and sea routes. Satellite connections can be utilized to secure additional backup routes for highest-priority telecommunication needs, such as ensuring patient data access for hospitals in extreme situations. 

The global roaming agreements negotiated by Telenor also yield significant benefits to DNA's customers. Large volumes enable early adoption of new services, such as next-generation network solutions or higher-quality voice services. In addition, volumes yield cost benefits. 

Skills requirements are growing 

Quintessential to Ylihurula's thinking is the outside-in principle. In practice, this means that internal development within an organization is pointless without customer input. 

"During these first few months I’ve met with many DNA customers and asked them to provide their views on how we’ve succeeded in serving them. Their positive feedback has reinforced my notion that customer-centricity is a key strength of DNA," says Ylihurula. 

According to a recent EPSI Rating study, DNA is the top-rated mobile operator in customer satisfaction for both business and private customers. Another recent study found that Finns consider DNA the most responsible company in its industry. 

Skill requirements are constantly growing in the field of telecommunications. It is important to understand both telecommunications and information technology, as themes such as cloud connectivity, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity are present in practically all discussions with customers and partners. 

"I think it's important that we have a clear understanding of how the industry is developing, what technologies are emerging, and what we are able to offer our customers. My goal is for DNA to combine the best practices from around the world and imbue it with pride in the expertise we can provide on a global scale. This affords us the humility to learn new things and refine our understanding to reach greater heights than before," outlines Ylihurula. 

Planning is important, but execution is paramount 

Ylihurula exudes a hunger for learning new things. A sense of determination echoes in her words, and many new wheels have already been set into motion in the first few months. 

"I have worked in various leadership positions for a long time and have become accustomed to a mindset that everything can be built from scratch if need be. At DNA, for the first time I have found myself in a situation where it is possible to see the best practices of a global organization from the inside. It's truly rewarding to utilize them in the planning and management of high-quality and efficient operations," notes Ylihurula. 

The ability to understand customers' business needs and required use cases is essential. Telecommunication services are a critical link in the chain in practically all organizations, and proactive guidance must be a core competence of an operator. Choices need to address not only everyday needs but also potentially heightened requirements. A solid piece of advice is that simple services cannot be implemented into complex environments. 

"The highest success rates are achieved collaboratively, and positive tension can provide solutions to seemingly impossible tasks. A key principle for me is that action is essential: planning is important, but high-quality execution is paramount," emphasizes Ylihurula. 


Since DNA became a part of the Norwegian Telenor Group, Nordic and global collaboration in connectivity has strengthened further. Read more about DNA's telecommunications connections from the Nordic region to the world!