Hi Olle, how nice to have the opportunity to interview you! Tell me a bit about your background. I have a Master´s degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Uppsala, with a major in Computer Engineering. Early in my career, I worked within development and technology, but soon I became more interested in working with people and business. I have been almost everywhere, from development, support, project management and sales, to now working more strategically with change management and different types of management assignments. I have always been interested in change and improvements. There is nothing that’s done so well that it cannot be done better, says Olle.
Have you been to Anchor for a long time? Yes, time flies when you are having fun. It’s approaching ten years.
Olle, you have worked in the retail industry. What are they facing in the near future, as you see it? I have been in many industries, but Retail, Transportation, and Real Estate are probably the industries in which I have worked the most. Lately, I have had a longer assignment within Retail. Their biggest challenges, of course, is the switch from physical store to on-line. I myself, think that the urban environment is important. I live in the town of Västerås and I rather go down to the center and shop, than travel to a shopping mall or shop on-line. The challenge is to find the right mix between stores, showrooms and on-line shopping. For the customer, it must be seamless. What I buy on-line, I must be able to return in a store, and vice versa. Another challenge is how to process the payments. How should those who have stores be able to compete with those who have no costs for stores? It must be possible to prove added value. The staff in the stores must be changed from cashiers to purchase advisors and personal shoppers.
Olle, you’re in on your second round with GSIT now. What do you bring to the table this time? In the city of Stockholm, GSIT stands for GemenSam, or common, IT service. Stockholm City Council is an exciting organization. It’s a large employer with many employees and many different and widely different activities. Finding a common IT-service that works for everyone is a real challenge. In 2008, Stockholm City decided to outsource its IT-service to an external supplier. At that time, it was Volvo IT (now HCL) who won the assignment. I had the privilege of joining both at the pilot stage at one of the Real Estate companies and later, when GSIT was introduced to administrations and companies, I was allocated to the project at the Stockholm City Management Office. So, now it’s time again. Yes, and this time, Tieto has been assigned the task of introducing GSIT for administrative operations. I work on the supplier side, at Tieto. That’s what’s nice with the consulting world – To have the opportunity to work with many different issues from different perspectives. In one way, it’s easier now. The first time, all IT services spread across different administrations and companies would come together as standardization was introduced. This poses major challenges in a business of the city of Stockholm’s size. All this is already done at second-generation outsourcing. On the other hand, the customer has learned more and thus, imposes tougher requirements on the supplier. The implementation timeline is also more aggressive. Together with the customer, we have one challenging and exciting year ahead.
Olle, you who worked with private organizations and municipalities – what are the similarities when it comes to implementing new support systems? I do not think there are such big differences between the private and public environment, especially not for large organizations. There are more similarities. Both have rather complicated decision-making processes and regulations to which one must relate. When introducing new support systems, communication with employees is the most important. Everyone must understand why change is made and what benefits it provides. «What’s in it for me?» It’s also important to be transparent. If some things cannot be solved, it’s better to be clear about that, rather than trying to hide the shortcomings that exists. All support systems have flaws, no matter how good they are. Managing expectations is also important. One of the most common mistakes is to inflate expectations. With the right expectations, the likelihood of success increases.
Where does your interest in these questions come from? I like to work with people. To be with and pilot them through all stages of a change process, and hopefully bring them along on the forthcoming change. As a change leader, one must be both driving and humble. In addition, as I said before, I have always been interested in improvements. I think that nothing is as stimulating as seeing that the result of a change has become better than what was before. It can be anything from learning to set up a patterned tapestry in a better way, to introducing new improved processes, and support systems into a large organization.
Olle, finally, give us a personal tip at a good restaurant. There are many good restaurants. But if you go to Berlin I can recommend a dinner at the Restaurant Volt. A converted transformer station that serves excellent food. I celebrated my last birthday there. Thank you, Sir!
We at Anchor are, of course, happy to have Olle with us and be able to take advantage of his knowledge. Olle makes us all better!