IT consulting superheroes are yesterday's underdogs
Witted is on a mission. That mission is to turn former underdogs of the IT industry into future superheroes. In order to understand why this is important, I need to tell you a story. The story begins from Rovaniemi.
If only you knew what a hellish struggle it has been to push from the forests of Rovaniemi into the IT business world as a child of the recession, start a company, and make it a publicly listed company. It's a long journey.
I know top executives who have started their careers in leadership positions in fairly large companies right from the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I respect you and I'm a little jealous of you too. You were the smartest kids in school, you got great grades on every exam, and you deservedly succeeded in high school and later in university.
I also know executives who have taken a similar journey with me. After thousands of failures and sleepless nights, you have made it to the top. In my eyes, you are the underdogs, you are my superheroes.
I founded Witted because I wanted to be part of creating the superheroes of the IT world. I have been an underdog for my entire life. Somehow I have still managed to succeed, and I have decided to dedicate my life and career to help others. The enthusiasm began in school, because in the 90s, schools were pretty tough places if you didn't belong to the group. I didn't always belong and wanted to be on the weaker kids' side. The same enthusiasm continued later in the army and as the chairman of the Finnish Conscripts, and still continues in work life.
From Second-Class Citizen to Top Gun
Witted's business units have been built around oppressed IT professionals. Entrepreneurs and freelancers in the IT industry had been second-class citizens for years; no access to the office or company parties. This is a group of highly skilled professionals for whom we built a place where they could be superheroes - thus Witted Partners was born. The idea was hugely successful, and Witted Partners has built one of Finland's largest IT communities.
Mavericks was once a backlash against the pizza and beer culture of the IT industry and the idea that the best workplace is the one where employees play video games at the office after work and travel to Malaga on the customer's dime. My colleagues and I started to have families – and we believed that work and free time should be separated. As fun as pizza nights can be, there are other important things in life, too. We, who worked in Great Place to Work companies, did not find it as great as advertised.
We realized that the best workplace for us would be a place where everyone would know what is expected of them and that could offer flexibility for balancing work and free time. Running out of Jolt Cola or having the wrong coffee in the pot at the office were not our problems. Our challenges were how to arrange care for a sick child and whether we could take time off for a doctor's appointment.
We were ready to trade boozy evenings and training trips for better pay and work flexibility. As an end result, Mavericks was born. Mavericks became a success story and the company has grown rapidly in Finland and expanded overseas. Mavericks is the best workplace for those who value transparency, good pay, and equality.
Our recipe stems from understanding the importance of the talent competition and being able to adapt to it with our story. We turned a group of people who had only been given scraps in work life into heroes. This is the journey we're on, although we're still in the initial stage.
Superhero cape and tights available for skilled customers
Life was easy and the sun was shining, Witted grew 100% every year until the market changed last year. Just when everyone thought this soccer game was starting to yield good results, the game changed to hockey. Market demand decreased, and the world was in turmoil. The amount of swear words has gradually decreased at the office, but the sound of typing a keyboard has gotten louder. The talent competition was put on the side. It was time to make customers superheroes too.
Today and tomorrow, we fight for the place in customers' hearts. In other words, the market has also normalized in the IT industry. There are a few exceptions, namely companies that are doing really well. This is really annoying. These companies operate in the public sector, energy or finance industry, and do not yet know what hit the others or think that their life will continue as before. When everyone else realizes that the demand in these industries has remained strong – oh boy, what a race lies ahead. The market will be redistributed. A new era begins in the IT industry: A time when today's masters may not have a place at the table tomorrow. In this race, Witted has a permission to win.
Witted is not the only customer-oriented company in the industry, but we belong to a very rare group. Witted is a challenger and contrarian. The IT industry is known for poor sales skills, failed projects, vendor locks, deceptions in public tenders, and aggressiveness.
We cannot, nor do we want to, operate in the old style where projects go over budget, and clients are threatened to be sued if they buy in a wrong way. YUCK! It's embarrassing to read such news in Tivi. It's hard to imagine that there would room for this kind of action tomorrow. The industry's occasional questionable reputation resembles the receipt business in construction.
What ruins the industry's reputation are the yesterday's dinosaurs who convince their customers that they lack the skills and abilities to develop digital services, and therefore it would be wise to outsource it to a vendor. Then the vendor lock clicks shut and the cash flow begins. Congratulations and good luck. I promise that we will run full speed behind you, telling everyone that things could be different. Digital service development will be and is already at the heart of every organization's business. The customer will become the king again because it's right. The power belongs to the client, not software consultants.
Companies in our industry fall into two categories. Companies that make their customers superheroes and help them become the best digital creators in their own industry – these companies have the right to win. Companies that sell end-to-end project deliveries to their customers, where a strong vendor lock is created and no skills are transferred to the customer, belong to the group that should lose. Bye bye, won't miss you.
Witted is on the side of the underdog
For Witted, the change in the market presents a great opportunity. The slowing demand has shaken IT giants, the talent competition has temporarily calmed down, and customers have woken up to the reality that digital business is core. That core should not be outsourced to dinosaurs, but rather be built in-house. In this world, Witted has a the opportunity of the decade to make customers superstars.
Witted is the underdog in this land of stock companies and giants. I am the underdog next to more experienced executives. Too often, the customer is the underdog when developing new services for the company.
This is my journey, which began a long time ago in Rovaniemi and continues now at the helm of a fresh stock company, with the task of making underdogs the future digital stars. That's the core of Witted.