I was working at an IT company in 2007 when I came across an interesting University of Helsinki job advertisement for a Project Manager to lead a Service Desk project. The aim of the project was to centralize the IT support services into a professional Helpdesk, develop support processes and adopt an ITSM ticketing system. I had spent my career working for IT and data communications companies, so the subject matter was familiar to me. The job sounded challenging in a good way, and I was interested in working for a university, and so I began working as an Information Systems Project Manager at the IT Center of the University of Helsinki.
The University was a new kind of working environment for me. My biggest culture shocks were probably the fact that, instead of driving to work myself, I now rode the bus to Vuorikatu, and that I could no longer get my coffee from an automatic coffee machine. My first tasks were related to our own information systems projects, which included implementing systems needed by IT support and developing support processes. This helped me learn how the IT Center organizes its support operations and what kinds of expert services it offers, and of course I also got to know some really great people, i.e. our experts.
For the last seven years, I have been working on the University’s SAP projects, which have included the implementation of the SAP HR and SAP eRecruiting systems and the updating of various SAP systems. Through experience, I have also learnt that you should always be prepared for change. For example, we ended up changing the planned system version to a newer one right at the beginning of the SAP finance system migration project, which immediately brought about a huge number of change requests. At the moment, we are working to create a new project management system functionality within the SAP finance system with the HTML5-based SAP Fiori user interface. We are also developing our HR processes related to competence development with the help of the SAP SuccessFactors cloud service, among other things.
I really enjoy being able to take part in the University’s digital leap projects. Carrying out challenging projects, adopting new technologies and being able to see the progress and results of the work are, in my opinion, the most exciting parts of my job. Being able to work with people who are friendly and have a lot of expertise (co-workers and the representatives of suppliers) is also a big plus!
We invest a lot in training, and the IT Center attracts professionals who are looking to further develop their skills. The training offerings include many courses by the University, and we also have the opportunity to take part in courses arranged by external providers. For example, I have personally taken part in training such as the Project Champion training programme as well as learnt facilitation and various project methodologies. Training is also offered in connection with ongoing projects. We also have the opportunity to take part in various seminars both in Finland and abroad. These are great opportunities to network and learn about the “newest of the new”.
We are actively encouraged to do job rotation, and there is genuine support for employees’ career development. Personally, I am planning to take part in supervisor training next because, in addition to my current Project Manager duties, I have also begun working as a supervisor. I think it is great that Hupari, the IT Center’s staff club, actively organises fun events for us. Our employer also offers us the opportunity to take part in a weekly instructed exercise routine. The IT Center takes ergonomics seriously, and electric height adjustable desks and saddle chairs can be arranged for all who need them. The University also supports its staff’s well-being by offering the Unisport card for a good price. I personally partake in some “fair-weather” bicycle commuting, and that is another form of exercise I can thank my employer for, especially on days when I have meetings on several campuses.
At the IT Center, you will find very many development-oriented people who want to keep the work environment comfortable and pleasant. The IT Center genuinely cares about its employees, and when you work here, coming to work in the morning feels great.