April 21, 2015

Sales at the heart of digitalization – keeping up with change

Elina Rintala

Sales manager, Tieto

"I would have preferred my daughter to become a lawyer, doctor or a teacher", says my mother. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents and they have always supported me when it comes to my career and education. However, they find it hard to understand what I do for a living as a Sales Consultant at Tieto.

Around three years ago when I started my career in the field of IT I worked with a financial application. My parents understood that – I was able to say it's like a bookkeeping system for big companies and my job is to implement or perform maintenance on these applications (truth: I worked as a consultant within an ERP Financials module). Now, when I work in sales, our conversation goes usually like this:

"So what does Tieto sell?"
"Well, it always depends on customer needs. We are providing a full stack of services and solutions, so it can basically be anything from a few hours of consulting work to a long infrastructure outsourcing project"
"Like computers?"
"No, not really, it's more like platforms, servers, solutions or consulting work. Our most famous product is Tieto Cloud server. It is like a bigger version from your iCloud."
"I still don't get it"

It's hard to explain ICT-related dilemmas to someone who is not inside the industry, or even interested in technological changes. Things that are really clear to me are hard for them to understand because usually it's something that is really "out there" as technology develops so fast.

Nothing's more certain than change

So how would I describe the change that has happened in the past 60 years?

Here's an example. I have a lovely black and white picture of a young couple sitting on the riverside in the middle of Finnish summer. It's my grandparents' engagement picture. They look perfect – everything is in place and you can really feel the spirit of the picture. At the same time I have around thirty selfies in my phone taken by my 3-year-old godson. What you can see in those pictures is mostly his tongue, or nose. But it's okay, I can always delete them.

Digitalization and technological evolution is rapid and the ICT field is facing more changes in the future. My role as a Sales Manager at Tieto requires me to be up to date of current IT solutions as well as the challenges facing our customers, and these are changing incredibly fast. As my colleague Anssi Pakkanen wrote on our Business Transformation blog "In the near future, the business you are in will not look like it does today. All businesses are changing; even my own – within the ICT industry – is undergoing transformation."

I truly agree: Industrial Internet, for instance, ensures that many completely new innovations are right around the corner and it really is something that will change the world permanently. Manufacturing industry is on the frontline of change, and I look forward to seeing new solutions that will combine traditional IT, big data and sensors, for example.

At the moment I am for instance working on a case which is about an archiving solution where the customer needs to keep their data archived and secured over decades and they need access to that data every now and then. We have discussed practicalities with my colleagues around this topic – now we are able to provide safe place to data, but can we guarantee that there will be pdf-reader applications after ten years? So far no one has not been ready to promise any single cost-effective solution that would be timeless and functional also in 2035. These are the types of challenges we continuously face and that is why we have to keep learning and be aware of new innovations all the time.

All things considered, there is one thing that I'm sure of – if I ever have kids, 20 years from now they will be sniping at me in the same way I'm sniping at my parents at this point. Some things never change.


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