Years of collaboration and dozens of accomplished projects have built an intensive trust between Pohjolan Voima and Affecto, realizing today as a compact strategic partnership. Together with Affecto, PVO has grown into one of Finland’s most advanced energy companies as regards to automation and standardization.

Trust is the core of our collaboration. It has grown stronger over the years with successful projects and Affecto’s solid expertise. Nowadays we engage in conversation every week. Affecto brings us suggestions for development and insights into the near future of the IT field, and together we consider the opportunities involved. For example, we recently discussed using robotics as part of our financial planning system, says Minna Korkeaoja, chief financial officer of Pohjolan Voima.

This partnership allows Pohjolan Voima to benefit from the diverse expertise of the entire IT house and knowledge is shared bilaterally. Even if we hired our own expert to develop our systems, their knowledge would still not compare to all the expertise we gain from Affecto. During one man-year, Affecto brings on average 15 experts of different fields at our disposal, ranging from system architects to service designers, says chief information officer Pekka Törmänen.

Accumulation of knowledge over the years has only increased the value of collaboration. We have been doing this work with mostly the same people since the beginning. During this time, Affecto’s team has accumulated strong expertise in our branch, which is invaluably beneficial for us considering our future needs for development, specifies Marita Peltokoski, business partner for Pohjolan Voima.

We are genuinely proud of having a world-class data warehouse expert like Affecto as our partner, who has the will to help us progress into a whole new level in digitalization  – Minna Korkeaoja, Pohjolan Voima

Expertise generates rational investments

Minna Korkeaoja tells a concrete example from a few years back on the collaboration and confidential relationship between Pohjolan Voima and Affecto: We set out with Affecto to develop our system for financial reporting and processes which used to require extensive manual labour. Affecto suggested we build a complete database and integration interfaces as a basis for our operation instead of mere system development, thereby remarkably expanding the schedule and cost of the project. However, this enterprise generated the cornerstone for all our operations till today, and because of it we are not tied to any system supplier or subcontractor.

If we had kept strictly to the original definition, we would have had to pay for development work several times afterwards. Luckily we listened to Affecto’s expertise, Pekka Törmänen and Marita Peltokoski add.

Road map to guide the prioritization of development needs

For evaluating need for development, Pohjolan Voima utilizes a road map that is updated twice a year. It lists all future needs for development and ideas, and prioritizes future projects in a schedule view.

Thanks to the road map, we have an ongoing bilateral view to which direction we are going and where are goals are. This is extremely important for the progress of our entire business, Korkeaoja points out.

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Pohjolan Voima’s tips for building a strategic IT partnership:

  • You have to know your own strategy and processes so that the partnership can be adapted to them and not the other way around.
  • You have to have a clear insight of the situation in the field in order to build the partnership in the right direction and with realistic goals.
  • The partner’s genuine will and ability to help the client on many levels – this realises for example as intensive bilateral communication.
  • An open channel for discussion, where you can also tell if something is not working.
  • Longevity – a deep strategic partnership is the result of several projects and years of collaboration.