23 Mar 2020Blog

Introducing Solita’s Data team in Finland: over 200 consultants specialised in data

Here at Solita, we will soon have worked on data-related projects for 20 years, and our more than 200 Finnish data specialists are currently engaged in consultation projects for more than one hundred customers.

Our Finnish offices are centrally located in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Lahti. We are also expanding rapidly in other countries, currently Sweden and Germany in particular. Data is one of Solita’s four areas of expertise. The other three are software development, cloud services and integrations, and design and strategy.

In this blog post, we will introduce our Data business area in more detail:

What are Solita’s data capabilities?

We have over 200 specialists working on data projects. Our talent pool includes (at least) the following skills:

  • Data platform building, data warehousing and IoT. We help our customers make the most of the business opportunities in data and to also modernise by moving data warehousing to the cloud, for example. We always choose the technologies that best serve the customer’s needs. New projects are almost always built into the cloud with Snowflake, AWS, Azure or Google Cloud solutions. An an example, see our projects for YIT, Fingrid and Finavia.
  • Data architecture from a technical and business standpoint. We help our customers truly identify the needs of their business and choose the most suitable technologies for their needs so we can design the solution to implement together. As an example, see our data catalogue project for Finnair.
  • Data visualisation. Our data visualisation consultants work in both specification and implementation projects, as well as trainers, who help our customers operate and utilise their current systems. In most projects, we use Tableau and Power BI, and our team is also capable of using a wide range of other tools. You can read more about our solution for Amer Sports.
  • Master data management. High-quality source data is always the foundation for exploiting and refining data. Our MDM consultants can use Semarchy, Microsoft MDS and more to realise the needs of customers. As an example, see our work for Fortum!
  • Data science. Our data scientists help customers solve issues with their business by using machine learning, optimisation, text mining, deep learning, reinforcement learning, machine vision and so on. As an example, see our customer work for Coxa and DNA.
  • Business performance management. One of our main competences is the designing and simulation of the operations and finances of organisations. In close collaboration with our customers, we can model core business processes and create management tools by using Jedox and IBM Planning Analytics.
  • Project management. Project and service managers are key for successful customer projects, and Solita is no exception. Our managers form their own team and share their knowledge with colleagues from other units. We use agile development methods in our customer work whenever possible, and we have in-house Agile Coaches who train both us and our customers.
  • Exploiting data for business. Sometimes our customers are at a stage where they are unsure what they could even use all the available data for.

We have also developed our own product, the Agile Data Engine, to help automate many data processing steps previously done by hand.

What is a typical workday for a Solita data consultant?

As someone who constantly works with customers, our Team Lead Tuomas has said that there is probably no such thing as a typical day. Situations often vary even within a single customer project, but there are some common and connecting factors. One of them is the fact that our projects almost always involve a Solita team. This means you will have colleagues from Solita with you in a project, often equipped with various skills: quite regularly we will have data engineers and an architect working on the same project, as well as data visualisation and data science specialists, for example. Routine and customer work are an excellent time to learn and improve.

We work together with the customer’s experts during the week, both on their premises and at our own office. Telecommuting is always allowed whenever the project team or customer does not object to it. We keep our Fridays office days. We have arranged it with our customers for Solita employees to work from their own office on Fridays – this provides us with an opportunity to meet colleagues and catch up at least once a week, although many of us do work at the office on other days. On Fridays, all offices also serve breakfast.

Our specialists mainly work according to their own wishes, either full-time on one project or on several projects simultaneously. This does depend on your specialisation. Personal preferences will also affect how long you work on a given account: it is not uncommon to work with the same customer for many years, while some appreciate a faster rotation.

If you are willing, customer projects with international assignments may also be available in Sweden or Germany, for example. If you are posted abroad, you will work with local Solita specialists and customer representatives.

How are customer projects assigned and do the employees have a say?

Every Solita employee, including those of us at Data, can greatly influence the types of customer projects that they work on. Over 90 per cent of new learning happens through working with customers, and that is why we emphasise fulfilling the wishes of our specialists – whether they concern working in a specific industry, with certain technologies or getting working experience abroad. At times, wishes may take a while to fulfil, since we are a consultancy firm and customer projects dictate what we can offer. Therefore we encourage our specialists to make their wishes known as early as possible.

We also do our best to ensure that the first customer project for new Solita employees is an enjoyable one that matches their skill level and provides appropriate learning opportunities. This is done because the first project will heavily influence the mood during the first months of working a new job. To help them acclimatise, every new Solita employee is given a “task list” of things they should familiarise themselves with and the people who they should meet at the beginning. Supervisors will support new employees and help initiate them, and we also have shared induction events for new colleagues.

How can Solita employees develop their skills?

We believe – know, in fact – that our consultants learn the most from customer projects and daily work. Therefore, we heavily emphasise assigning people to enjoyable customer projects (see the previous section). There are of course many other ways to learn and improve. As a consultancy firm, our customers expect our skills to be the best in the industry, and we have invested much to provide our employees with excellent opportunities to build their skills.

One way to learn new things is to get certified, and in 2019, Data personnel completed 39 new certificates related to AWS, Microsoft products, Data Vault, Data Bricks and more. Naturally, certification is included in working hours and we regularly hold “joint starts” aimed at certification where colleagues motivate one another and study new things together.

Formal qualification is not always necessary: we have an active Slack community with channels for just about every technology we use, as well as larger themes (for example, #datagovernance and #dataops_mlops). For instance, Slack can be used to answer questions encountered in everyday work or to share thoughts on the AWS re:Invent live stream from home, if you don’t happen to be at the office, as was the case for Miia and Anniina last time. Check out their blog post on the new AWS product launches.

Our relaxed specialist communities also offer a great avenue for learning about a technology or theme together with similarly interested colleagues. All Solita employees are welcome to brief their colleagues on topics that are important to them. Several dozen briefings were held in 2019.

New hires – what experience and characteristics does Solita value?

Most of all, we value passion for learning new things and personal development, as well as caring for colleagues and customers. We are rather laid-back and wish to see the same in our new colleagues. And lest we forget: courage. You can read more about why we chose these four values.

In addition to shared values, we will also consider your current skills and previous experience. If one or more of the above areas of expertise are a core competence of yours, we would like to hear from you, whether you have a couple years or decades of experience. We will work from your wishes and expectations to see what we can offer you.

You can send an open application by email to [email protected] (let us know your wishes and attach your CV or LinkedIn profile link) or check if there is a good match for you in our job openings. We constantly have openings for Data Engineers and experienced Data Architects.

If you see yourself as a future data professional, check out the Solita Academy. We hire promising people directly for permanent positions twice a year to further develop into ultimate data specialists. The application periods for the Academy are always announced on our website.

You can contact the Solita Data unit recruitment team anytime – we will be happy to talk to you!