As a new employee, Amalie Eikeland got close to three months at our Oslo office before the pandemic sent her and her colleagues into home offices. Even though her chair at the office has been empty, the pandemic has not slowed down her productivity.
In the year Amalie has spent working from home, she’s gone from being a newly graduated Business Analyst here at TietoEVRY to becoming the product manager for a brand new ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and climate tool.
"During my time as a Business Analyst for the Loan Processing department, I got to work closely with the Norwegian banking industry. You end up as this kind of link between the technical resources and the banks, namely by mapping out and understanding the bank’s needs and translating them into functional specifications. I enjoyed this work, especially as I got to use the analysis skills I had picked up during my Master’s degree" Amalie told us.
From a recent graduate to product manager in green banking – in under a year
But after a while, she was offered the opportunity to work on a brand new project that would prove to be a golden opportunity – albeit one with a decidedly green hue! Her colleague, Tom Johnsen, was the one who initiated the project, after having spent the last year researching the green shift in the banking and finance industry.
At the same time, a wave of green regulations from the EU were introduced into the financial sector. Tom received the go ahead from TietoEVRY to develop the first version of the solution. This solution now assists the banks in identifying and assessing ESG and climate-related risks when it comes to their credit process. Both agree that this is an opportunity that TietoEVRY can’t afford to miss out on.
"We are passionate about this topic, and have spent many late evenings discussing new functionality, as well as product strategy and what exactly is changing within green banking and finance, on both a national and international level" she says.
Amalie has taken on the role of product manager. What is unique about this solution is that it ensures that ESG and climate assessments are structured such that they are an important and central part of the banks’ processing of loan applications. According to Amalie, loans in the future should not be paid out without this kind of assessment being made first.
If we fast-forward a year from the start of the project, we now have 28 banks across Norway who are currently in the start-up phase of implementing the solution. Seeing as it is a newly established product area, she is now working extensively on developing this area of the business.
"Legally, the terrain is still unclear, and the rate at which regulation is being introduced has increased significantly over the last few years. It is for that reason that we have put a lot of effort into ensuring that we stay updated on the relevant regulations and legislation that could affect our product. This way, we’re able to ensure that we can be a valuable sparring partner for our customers when it comes to the further developing our solution" she explains.
A proactive culture
According to Amalie, she maps out the needs of the market on a daily basis. It’s all about understanding the challenges and opportunities that are being driven by the green shift.
"It has been important for us to show our customers that we don’t just take technical orders. In fact, we strive to be proactive contributors who seize opportunities and solve challenges. By doing so, we have been able to create a good functionality that can support the banks’ own business models, and the solution will provide a higher level of quality" she says.
At 26, Amalie is also one of the younger managers at TietoEVRY. But when asked whether her age has played any significance when meeting with Norway’s biggest banks, she resolutely shakes her head.
"I've rarely felt that this is the case. In my experience, age isn’t really taken into account, as long as you act professionally, come prepared and display a level of confidence in your work" she replies with a smile.
Collaboration is key to achieving this green transition internationally
Although 28 banks in just one year is a great result to have under her belt, Amalie is still not satisfied. Her ambitions for the business area are international.
"The climate effort is global, and we’ve developed a product that the market is in great need of. This is why we are also working with sales outside of Norway, with our initial focus being that of the Nordic region. There is a significant commitment to ESG and the climate at the moment, and the banks are also expressing an interest in looking at similar solutions for their private market customers" she says.
One thing Amalie has learned in her short time in the role is that positive and close cooperation internally at TietoEVRY, and not in the least with the customer themselves, is what provides the quickest and best results.
"In a way, we’ve actually been very lucky that the field we work with is so new. This means that we can approach issues with a fresh perspective, and we can discuss ideas more freely and sit down with the banks to ‘figure it out’ together. We don’t take the fact that this cooperation is going so well for granted, and the culture I’ve experienced here is something I hope to recreate further in my career" she emphasised.