The story of Granitumi
About nine months ago, Natalia Åkerlund contacted her former colleague Kalle Venäläinen. Kalle and Natalia had met a decade earlier while working in international consulting at IBM. Life took them in different directions and their paths diverged. Natalia continued on her own international path and at the same time Kalle and his partners founded Graniitti Services Oy in Helsinki in 2017.
After years, Natalia wanted to return to consulting, and Kalle had a project that Natalia was able to take on. “Graniitti had a strategic goal to expand its services and analyze its international expansion opportunities, so Natalia’s internationality and expertise came as an opportunity at the right moment. We want to be an innovative company with the courage to try new things. This also allows us to offer more interesting projects to our employees ” says Kalle.
Preliminary analysis for the project
Graniitti’s goal is growth, and the company has already had several international IT business experts who we want to effectively utilize. “We started a project to analyze international growth opportunities. The project started in May 2022, when we conducted about 30 interviews with customers, recruiters, consultants, and job seekers from Finland and other countries,” explains Natalia about the project’s start.
At the beginning of the project, it was known that there was international demand and opportunities, and the main challenge in the market was how and where to find skilled IT personnel when the situation is overheated in some countries. By analyzing global trends, the most significant observations were compiled.
The following trends emerged in the Nordic countries and Europe:
- Strong desire among employees to work as freelancers or through their own companies has increased.
- Employees are interested in a hybrid model that combines remote work and on-site work.
- Among younger employees, the desire for digital interaction and the willingness to work in shorter and varied projects has increased.
- Ethical values are becoming increasingly important.
- More and more teams are being outsourced to Eastern Europe and the Baltics, where freelancers have a positive reputation.
- However, people’s willingness to leave their current job is quite low.
- Generally, large IT companies offer team deliveries that can improve their service levels.
- Instead of a bulk approach, a boutique approach is appreciated, meaning that a closer relationship is sought to better understand the customer’s needs.
- Local language skills are more important on the business side than on the IT side.
- Smaller and medium-sized IT companies are willing to cooperate.
- Significant changes in the geopolitical environment, such as new countries seeking EU membership.
The opportunities of Moldova surprised
With the preliminary investigation completed, Graniitti Services uncovered a new and emerging IT market in Moldova. After establishing multiple local connections, we found potential partners in Chisinau and visited them in September 2022 with positive results, according to Natalia.
We gained valuable insights into the local market during our visit to Moldova, including
- Moldova has a population of 4 million, making it roughly the same size as Estonia and Lithuania combined.
- The country offers growing IT markets for customers in the EU and the United States.
- Moldova can efficiently utilize the skilled workforce in Romania.
- The country is seeking EU membership.
- The majority of the new generation speaks English.
- There are three universities in the country with a focus on IT.
- Moldovans seem to have a positive impression of the Nordic countries and Finland.
- IT professionals are increasingly interested in staying in their home country and working remotely, but some also find relocation elsewhere appealing.
The future includes a whole team instead of a single consultant
Our goal is to increase our capabilities and offer a whole team, instead of just one consultant. Graniitti Services’ project managers, scrum masters, and other consultants work in roles that interact between the client and technical IT staff.
“We have identified an opportunity to provide location-independent IT expertise backed by local project management experience. We have also developed an internal tool, Stonehard, which is used and further developed to support the digital growth of the business and manage the skills of international experts,” describes Kalle.
“The next step is to move the expansion project forward. We look forward to Graniitti being able to offer new and significant opportunities to existing services in the near future,” Natalia and Kalle summarize their current feelings.