Staff interview with Petri Sysilahti, the Solution Architect of Elinar
Petri Sysilahti has the longest working history in Elinar, compared to current employees. He arrives calmly for an interview with a morning coffee, even if there are unfinished projects waiting for him and messages are coming to his cellphone all the time. After entering Elinar over 20 years ago, Petri has gotten a lot of responsibility. He has also seen many steps of the company while these years. I’d like to hear his opinion, how Elinar has succeeded in getting IT-experts to commit to this company and Pori city.
Personal growing with the firm
Petri was studying at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in 1997 when he saw a job advertisement at the school’s bulletin board. He contacted the founders of Elinar, Elina and Ari Juntunen, and soon he became the company’s first employee in Pori. The other employees were working remotely at their home in the Turku region.
Petri has grown with the company and now he’s working as a Solution Architect. “I have been able to do, see, and experience a lot. Still, my work is challenging enough”, he tells. During these years, Elinar has changed, too. The number of staff has grown from a few coders to thirty experts with various fields. In turn, the specialization has made it possible to trade worldwide.
My work is challenging enough.
In practice, Petri’s job involves two aspects: working with people and technology. “I work closely at the customer interface, as my job includes sales, customer meetings and events where I represent both in Finland and abroad”, he tells. “On the other hand, engineering also plays an important role: I try to steer the ship in the right direction and decide what kind of solutions we use. In addition, I code and execute problem-solving and server installations. I also develop our Artificial Intelligence -product, ElinarAI, with the team”, Petri lists examples of things that usually fulfill his days.
To balance his IT-centric daytime work, Petri’s hobbies include a bunch of extreme sports: windsurfing, climbing, telemark skiing, mountain and downhill biking, and a bit calmer sup-boarding. “If static work at the office makes me tired, I work while sitting on the gym ball”, he adds with a laugh.
AI creates new business
Petri has been involved since the beginning when Elinar started developing its own AI product. It all started with the brainstorming with the Chief Technology Officer Ari Juntunen. Now the result, ElinarAI, is already a significant part of Elinar’s business with several client projects. Since the field was initially so new to everyone – and the practical implementation was largely done between Ari’s head and his laptop – Petri took the main responsibility for the managing process. He records information and procedures so that the guidelines will be easy to understand and share in the future. This is important, especially for new employee’s induction.
Petri and Ari have toured telling about ElinarAI at so many panel discussions around the World that they could even be described as the faces of the company. Petri first laughs at the image, but then admits that he has traveled a lot. “Besides lecturing in Finland, we have also been represented at many IBM events from the Nordic countries to the United States”, he says.
Particularly in the area of well-being and health, AI has so much to offer. Elinar’s strength is to combine AI’s capability to learn and apply with more traditional, code-based solutions. This combo can be used to, for example, analyze and categorize any unstructured content. “We find the essentials in the large amounts of data, whether it’s thousands of claims, medical records, or other dictations”, Petri lists.
More than a job
Petri is not the first person to interview, who calls his colleagues as friends. A close working group is one of the secrets of Elinar’s popularity, which explains why workers like the company so much. “In addition to the work community, the best thing about Elinar is the diversity of the job and the appropriate challenges of my tasks. Also, I like the freedom to do things in a way that suits my personality”, the Solution Architect describes.
A career-oriented workplace changing is not so usual in the Satakunta region as it is in the Helsinki metropolitan area. But it’s even rarer in Elinar. The employment relationships are long and yet they offer opportunities to advance your career inside the house. “Mutual trust between employee and employer leads to commitment”, Petri believes.
In addition to his close colleagues, there is also Petri’s wife working in Elinar. Customer Service Officer Miia Sysilahti has now worked in the company for over 10 years. “We drive to the office together and we keep about one remote day per week. This pattern works well for us”, Petri tells of the everyday life of a family with 2 children.
I feel the work I do here is meaningful.
Petri has had a long career in Elinar already. He can’t imagine working anymore anywhere else. “I feel the work I do here is meaningful. We are helping to make the world a better place”, Petri illustrates his motivation. In general, he is inspired by the awareness that Elinar does useful things that bring added value to customers. “I hope that we will become more and more an expert organization in the future. Because expert knowledge – that’s something we already have”, the Solution Architect says at the end.