Meet KONE’s Trailblazing API Services

Did you know that KONE has world-class external APIs that provide an unrivaled developer experience? Or that KONE is embracing the platform economy to develop the best customer solutions with different partners?

Tech-heads, read on...

The new API ecosystem is run by the API Services DevOps team and it enables innovative collaboration with external partners and customers. It also opens up a wealth of opportunities for people working at KONE (or thinking of joining, hint hint).

But, as Kim Tikkanen (API Product Owner) reminds us, KONE is doing all this for the customer. A heady mix of cutting-edge tech and customer-oriented thinking is precisely what makes KONE such an exciting place to work.

We sat down with Kim who gave us the lowdown on his experiences at KONE, what it feels like to lead such an innovative team, and what you would need to know about API life at KONE.

Meet digital native Kim Tikkanen. Kim, tell us about your background...

“Computers and software have been a big part of my life ever since I got my first computer back in the day and my hobby became my profession.

I love discovering new technology. It’s a way of life. I have an engineering degree in programming and an economics degree specializing in information governance.

I must admit that a lot of my free time is also spent in front of the screen, for example gaming: the inner geek inside me lives on.”

Tell us more about your career journey

“I was always interested in the relationship between computers and humans, especially how digitization will make our lives a little bit easier in the future.

While studying at Jyväskylä, I worked for Nokia as a test engineer. After graduating and migrating to Helsinki, I worked for a decade in the financial sector developing digital products and sales channels for retail and corporate customers.

I worked on a wide range of B2C products including SME banking solutions, mobile banking, and applications like voice-controlled banking. I also led development and operations on a third party API marketplace: that is where my passion for APIs started.”


In the fall of 2019, Kim joined KONE to spearhead the API Services DevOps Team which owns and develops the KONE API ecosystem:

“I saw joining KONE as an opportunity to develop new innovative products on a global scale and be part of the company’s digital journey.

APIs are great catalysts for innovation: it's exciting to bring this kind of thinking to the world of escalators and elevators.”

What do you do at KONE?

Kim's role as an API Product Owner means he is the product manager and team lead for the API Service team.

He wants to build an API ecosystem that will provide real value to KONE customers and partners, using a platform economy model where KONE offers the best platform for partners and customers to connect and create innovative solutions.

“When I got here, we started building out the core API team that is now seven people strong and growing still. We’re working closely with customers; the team will keep growing in the future in function of customer needs.

We’re definitely going to see a lot of growth in this team.”

What does the API suite enable?

It’s about co-creating technology, working with innovative partners, and bringing amazing results to all customers.

“Digitization has enabled innovative solutions at KONE like residential flow and 24/7 services. In the API service area we are following that same path!

Using APIs, we want customers and partners to become the new innovators and create their own digital products that bring the most value to them.

We already have a large partner network, including interesting partners like ILOQ and many others in the robotics industry.

We are seeing customers use robots to deliver room service orders, clean offices, and provide deliveries.

Smart office spaces provide completely digital visitor management and elevator traffic can be controlled remotely through end-user application, removing the need to queue in crowded spaces and touch buttons. These and many more innovations are enabled by the KONE API ecosystem...”

How does the KONE digital platform help you serve customers better?

“Digitization is ultimately done for the customers. Digitization adds more value, either through better or new services, or enriched customer experiences.

At KONE a digital platform means using real-time data to enable predictive analytics and 24/7 services.

This API ecosystem is truly one of a kind; KONE offers a great ecosystem that partners want to get involved with.”

Championing the developer as well as the customer

“The customer is why we do everything, but we’re also creating a stellar developer experience by offering extensive developer tools, a developer portal, and quality documentation.

It’s a big leap: providing value by working with a variety of development partners. We are building stability into the tech foundation and making things scalable.

It’s a software-oriented approach.”

Meet the API Services DevOps Team

“We are a very techy team consisting of senior software developers who have backgrounds in cloud, microservices, enterprise solution development and DevOps practices. We also have some juniors (and we need more of them).

In the future, service design people will be important: we believe in co-creation. Working closely with customers is a must, and tech sales skills is another area that will grow.

Our stakeholders? The whole of KONE, from product development to IT and the frontline. We’re really in a unique vantage point with a wide-angle view: APIs bring people and platforms together like never before.”

What cool stuff is going on in your team right now?

“We are continuously developing our current API products, creating new API products, and holistically developing the API Ecosystem, but right now we’re specifically developing data-driven API products.

We’re piloting with customers and iteratively developing products. We are also making our third-party tools even better for developers so that they want to use our KONE APIs. This is one of cornerstones of the platform economy: investing in the developer experience.”

What kind of talent do you need on your team?

“We need good cloud and full stack developers, as well as QA professionals.

From the cloud side our tech stack is AWS and Azure. We are building a microservices architecture based on Java, TypeScript and Python.”

What kind of journey will people sign up for when they join your team?

“You will get to be very hands-on: working with customers and piloting API products with them.

You will also get to build the digital platform, using customer feedback to enhance its capabilities.

Check out our developer site to get a feel for our API suite:

It’s an example of a great API economy; we’re really ahead of the game in a lot of this.”

Sounds like a journey you’d like to take? Visit our open vacancies here or read more about our software development!

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