Team story

Working for Solita: SOK’s Omat ostot service helps consumers make better choices

Atte Kortesmaa Software Designer, Solita

Published 30 Nov 2020

Reading time 4 min

In the Omat ostot project, Solita’s team is developing a visualisation service for SOK’s purchasing data. With the help of the service, S Group’s co-op members can analyse and monitor their consumption. The service makes consumption more transparent, and helps co-op members make better and more sustainable choices. The service is already used by hundreds of thousands of people.

The members of the Omat ostot team Atte Kortesmaa, Software Designer, Heikki Hämäläinen, Software Architect, Krista Väänänen, Software Designer and Sami Uskola, Software Architect & Scrum Master, share their experiences concerning the project.

The vision is to have the smartest consumers in the world

From our team’s perspective, it has been interesting to develop a service with the ambitious vision of making S Group’s co-op members the smartest consumers in the world. The Omat ostot service makes it possible to monitor and analyse purchasing data transparently. Data collected about people’s purchases will no longer disappear into a black hole, but people can now take advantage of it. After a visit to a Prisma outlet, co-op members can check the nutritional information, carbon footprint or domestic content of their purchases, for example.

Following these details can help people make better choices from the perspective of the environment and their own health. When you can see how much cheese you consume in numbers and calories, you may begin to wonder whether you should change your consumption habits.

It has been rewarding to design and develop such a complex and extensive system from scratch. For example, we have had to take information security carefully into consideration. Hundreds of thousands of people are already using the service, and we can take advantage of it in our own lives as well. It has also been great to see our own handprint: the Omat ostot service has aroused interest all over Finland, and it has often been mentioned in different news channels.

Interesting new technologies introduce another twist to the project

The Omat ostot project has also been interesting from the perspective of the technologies used. When building the service, our tools have included the AWS cloud service and functional programming. In addition, data collected from consumers has played a major role. There is a myriad of data, and we have stored it in the AWS cloud to further process it for the co-op members using the Omat ostot service.

When carrying out projects – and in this case as well – we usually first discuss the most suitable technological solutions with the team and make the choices together. We then give our proposal to the customer for approval. We have a great deal of freedom to make independent decisions and choose the best solutions that meet customers’ needs.

In this project, it’s also been fun to learn new things. Many team members have had the opportunity to learn more about the features of the AWS cloud service. In addition, data processing and the strict requirements concerning information security have made it possible for the team to deepen their expertise. However, it’s not only the technologies we have learnt new things about. We are allowed to invest five per cent of our work time in our professional development related to a topic that we choose ourselves. It’s a nice bonus that we all take advantage of.

In some projects, there are technologies that no team member knows anything about. We can then turn to other Solita teams for support. We have also had help from Solita’s experts in this project. For some challenges, we have also asked for comments from outside the team. It’s always easy to get help and mentoring in our company.

The team’s wellbeing is valued

We’ve had a good team spirit, and cooperation has been smooth in our team. It’s easy to prioritise employees’ wellbeing because it is one of Solita’s values. Caring is a big part of our corporate culture. In practice, it means the team can invest in promoting wellbeing and improving working practices.

In the Omat ostot team, we discuss matters openly and give feedback in all directions, which contributes to our good team spirit. We have regular retro meetings where we reflect on the team and project’s situation: what is going well, and what could be improved. For example, we’ve had an external facilitator to coach us, and based on the discussions, we’ve decided how to develop our work. Reflection and openness have helped us find best practices so that everyone can be themselves and contribute to our common goal.

The starting point is that we should like working, and the team should feel well. This also serves the customer. When people are well and work together seamlessly, the project progresses well, and top results are achieved.

We’re always looking for talented new colleagues. Join Solita’s workplace community!

Read more about the customer case related to the Omat ostot project here!

  1. Culture