This week the Finnish national broadcaster Yle featured Sievo in a documentary TV program “Murroksessa.” This series tells how technology and digitisation impact today’s workplace, and illustrates the importance of trust, cooperation and networking in modern working life.
Sievo was showcased as a work culture where management and employees empower each other through trust, support, ownership and recognition in everything we do, whether it’s making important business decisions or managing your daily office routine. At Sievo, we highly value teamwork and cooperation. We believe that trust is a critical success factor for business today and that’s why we encourage all Sievonians to take ownership and responsibility for important business projects. It’s not always easy, but we support each other on our journey, celebrate success together or learn from our failures. Indeed, sometimes we fail and sometimes we succeed, but it has always been trust and effective teamwork that, we believe, helped us to be where we are today.
Summary of the video documentary (mostly in Finnish)
0:00-1:00 Introduction to the program and Sievonians preparing for a meeting.
“There is a high competition for the best workforce in the software industry. Successful recruitment contributes largely to companies’ growth. On the opposite, shortage of personnel prevents companies from growth. It is important when the employer shows trust and allows you to take responsibility, as this story tells.”
1:00-2:00 Helsinki downtown January 2018, Sievo office building.
Sievo is a software company from Helsinki, Finland. It has been one of the Finland’s best places to work for years.
Jani Heino, Head of Sales, shares the reason for today’s celebration, which is the first deal of 2018. While the whole Sievo family is enjoying Finnish traditional Runeberg’s cakes, Jani says: “We always try to find a good reason for celebration and today it’s the first closed deal of the year.”
2:00-3:00 Sievo’s product is a software that helps large organisations to analyse their spend and manage savings projects.
Sammeli Sammalkorpi, Co-founder of Sievo: “After graduation the other founder and I worked in consulting. We were helping customers with analytics. Both of us had a background in software and coding, so we decided to establish Sievo and it has now been 15 years since then. So, it started like this with only two persons and now little by little we have a big firm. After 15 years there are over 100 of us and we are still doing analytics. We help large organisations to understand where they spend their money when buying different products and services.”
3:00-4:00 A description of Sievo’s growth from the first client to current international expansion. This sets the scene for a discussion ongoing with the first potential Asian client in Singapore.
A cross-functional team meeting takes place in a boardroom about an up-coming sales case in Asia. Stakeholders from different teams discuss how to get the project rolling. Included in the discussion is a recent graduate and Pre-Sales Specialist, Roni Koskinen.
4:00-5:30 Roni Koskinen shares his views about Sievo culture.
“Sievo trusts their employees a lot. We typically have only progress checkpoints. We trust that people know how to do their job and we trust that they will. In case when we don’t know something, we can simply go and ask. Questions and asking for help are very welcome here.”
There are many different nationalities working at Sievo. Many came to Finland to study.
Moramay Barinoff, Manager, Solution Support: “I’ve been at Sievo for two years and a few months and over four years in Finland. I came to study in Tampere first to do my masters, and then I was searching for a job. And, I happen to land here. It wasn’t too easy to find a job, it took me over a year. First, I started to work at the university for my master thesis, because I couldn’t find it elsewhere. When I was almost giving up, I found place here at Sievo. Many of my friends wanted to stay in Finland after graduation, but they couldn’t find a job, so they went back to their home countries or elsewhere in Europe.
5:30-6:30 Sammeli and Roni over the coffee.
Roni and Sammeli discuss the up-coming sales case in Singapore over cake and coffee.
Sammeli reveals a key challenge: Sievo’s senior sales leadership can not participate in the meeting on such short notice.
It’s up to Roni to travel to Singapore to lead the sales deal.
6:30-7:00 Sammeli shares experience of success and failures. “There has been times when Sievo was closing really big deals, but we also had difficult moments. There was a time when it took us up to two years to close the next deal, so we as founders had to stop paying salary to ourselves.”
7:00-7:45 Collaboration with marketing.
In preparation for his big sales case in Singapore, Roni meets with Sievo’s marketing team.
In a brief conversation, Roni describes some potential new approaches to marketing collaboration.
Good ideas can come from anywhere.
7:45-9:00 Football is an essential part of Sammeli’s leisure. He coaches a football team where also his own son is a part of the team.
Sammeli gives some perspectives on leadership that apply to junior football coaching as well as teamwork.
“When coaching juniors you also learn about leadership. We achieve better results, when we want to develop ourselves. Another thing is that it doesn’t work without trust and believing in people. It’s a teamwork that is based on trust and reliance”.
9:00-10:30 Roni is in Singapore and discusses the sales deal with Sammeli over Skype.
Roni gives an update on the sales case, sharing the good, the bad and the hopes for going forward.
After that Sammeli gives some practical advice and encouragement, Roni has a clear vision on how to proceed.
10:30-11:00 Reflections by Sammeli
Sammeli: “When I think about Sievo’s key stages of growth, we have always succeeded when we dared to try something huge. And, I would like to keep this spirit, when we face too big challenges, we simply take it without questioning it too much.”
11:00-12:20 Togetherness. Sievonians having fun together at Sievo Olympics.
The scene is Sievo’s annual office Olympics, where people from different teams get together for fun and games. Afterwards, Sammeli and Roni share updates about the company direction.
Sammeli: “The way we work has also remarkably changed. We still do some routine stuff, but automation is going to replace it. The demand increases more and more for those who can plan, think and develop things. Ability to do routine stuff is not in demand nowadays. I believe that there is a need for people at least during my time. I don’t think that machines will replace people in the next 20 years. We will see more collaboration between people and machines.”
Roni: “At Sievo, it doesn’t matter where you do your job. For example, myself as a student so far, I work only part-time. I often work on my projects or studies at home. Also, because we work with global clients all over the world, the working time can differ. So we are not a traditional 8-16 company.”
12:20-14:00 Time for the good news.
The scene includes an update from Sammeli about the sales case, “Good news about the Singapore case. We won it, our first Asian customer and the largest case we have ever won. It was dramatic, we were close to loosing it, but at the end of the day we got it. It’s fantastic that Roni, a young guy, was placed in such challenging position and got some winning experience.
The documentary concludes with news of plans for making Sievo employees co-owners in the company.