Annika Anikari // June 16 2017

Coffee break with your extended family

Annika Anikari

Leader and Privacy Expert, Lead of Developing Client Operations, One Digitalist Platform Product Owner

New and familiar faces

Visits to the home office from customer premises always feel nice:  Meeting the fellow –Digitalists, noticing them lift up their heads behind their laptops and greeting me with their welcoming smiles when I walk along the hallway to my seat. Every month, among these smiling faces, there seems to be some new ones belonging to persons who have started recently, but most are already familiar ones. Digitalist Group has a long background as a company. Through a newcomer’s eyes the company seems to be totally different than the one I joined.

I started 2007 as project manager. During the years I have worked in several positions: as group manager or team lead to different kind of teams consisting of project managers, software developers, architects and support specialists. Then as service manager leading service teams for several key customers. For the last two years I have been working in close collaboration with our top management and implemented internal development projects. At the moment I share my time between several roles, company-level knowledge management, quality management and working as privacy ambassador in customer projects. I have always seen it as very beneficial for my own growth and as an enabler for gaining wide expertise if I share my time between customer work and internal support functions.

One day I was discussing long employment contracts with my colleagues. Niina Känsälä started as software developer in 2004. Her story is quite similar to mine, covering several areas of expertise. Niina has gained expertise from support specialist’ tasks to support and service management and being responsible for 1st line service desk for customers. Now she has the role of Head of IT and DevOps.

Jari Tianinen joined the company the same year as I did, 2007. He has worked as application support specialist for several business critical systems, both in customer premises and at the home office. We shared the same opinion that the customers, projects and focus areas have changed during the years a lot, and that’s why you never stop learning new things. Together with Jari “Hakki” Hakola, who has worked most of his time in sales related roles since 2003, our analysis went even further when looking back into history: During the years targets have changed from finding the correct candidates to customer projects to offering added value and consultancy in digital transformation, focus in helping our customer to understand their customers’ expectations and growing their business. We all considered the current position of Digitalist Group much more rewarding to both customers and employees.

Jaana Diakite has been programming, testing, working as requirements specification expert, project manager and system manager. Originally she started as Cobol developer in 1994. At the moment she is studying Service Design as a new expertise area in the same way as I have studied information privacy.

The reasons for your tenth year

Approximately 25% of our personnel have chosen to stay for 10 years or more. When sharing our thoughts, we noticed that many of the aspects that I had considered to be important to me were also important to the others. We have enjoyed working here because of being able to do so many different things, being able to work in so many different roles, with so many different customers. That is never boring, and you are able to keep your competence up-to-date. We also experienced that our wishes have been heard and that we have been able to develop our expertise to areas that we were interested of.

Another topic, which seemed to have significant meaning to us all were our colleagues! We have top-class professionals, delivering great stuff. We can always count on each other and on the fact that everyone does their best to guarantee excellent customer satisfaction. Because of having worked several years together we have learned to know each other: sharing ideas and tasks within the group is easy. I felt grateful when I noticed that I had been extra lucky, my former service team members were now among my best friends. We are not working in the same projects at the moment, but if we haven’t met for a while, we spend time together on social media services in the evening or make phone calls on topics that are not necessarily work-related at all. When we still were a team, I knew I had their support and they knew they had mine. Now they are my extended family.

The third topic that was inspiring us to deep thoughts was the changes that the company has gone through. As Hakki already said earlier, our position in the market is now different. We are now a consultative company. But what we can see from inside is even more: It has been important that a lot of work has been done for getting to know each other despite working in different studios in different locations, for creating an open atmosphere where persons are sharing their knowledge and everyone is encouraged to do that. We also shared the feeling that as individuals we are appreciated as an essential part of this community and our input and effort is noticed. Attitudes have been supportive and flexible, for example combining work to family or studies has also been easy.

We have several open positions. Do you have courage to apply, are you willing to become one of us? You might end up here for the next 10 years!

More from Annika Anikari