Anneli Hallik, who took up the post of IT Product Manager at Holm in 2020, is responsible for the development and smooth operating of the bank’s website, app and self-service site. She says that what makes Holm an enjoyable place to work is the flexibility and efficiency of its approach, free as it is from long-winded approval processes, cumbersome bureaucracy and drawn-out waits before plans are implemented.
“I’ve worked in big companies before where planning and preparing for projects takes an unbelievably long time,” she reveals. “When you’re a small cog in a vast machine it’s often difficult to recognise the results of your own work, let alone assess them. To me, Holm is just the right size – a real goldilocks company. Everyone knows everyone, and they all work together from one day to the next towards the same end. Plus there are never any delays with decisions and approval, or with taking good ideas and making something of them.”
How do effective IT solutions come about?
A raft of IT solutions have been developed under Anneli’s guidance and watchful eye, thanks to which Holm’s clients have a very user-friendly self-service site at their disposal: one that allows them to keep an eye on their money matters, apply for credit, open deposits, amend contracts and more.
“Clients don’t need to know how much work goes into ensuring that IT does what they want it to, giving them the chance to finance promising plans or securely deposit their funds,” Anneli says. “When our team comes up with an idea for a new function or option, a detailed list of the tasks it will involve takes shape in my head like the pieces of a puzzle. And when you put them all together you get the satisfaction of seeing the bigger picture, which in this case is of a better future solution.”
Anneli says she only succeeds in her role because the Holm team is made up of dedicated specialists who work so well together. “For good ideas to become great solutions, you have to have amazing teamwork,” she says. “Plus our partners have to understand how important our projects are, and be on the same wavelength as us. I’ve been incredibly lucky when it comes to both my colleagues and my partners.”
Every project is another rung on the ladder of personal development
Anneli says it is important to her that she never feels like she is becoming bogged down in routine or repeating the same tasks over and over again. “Luckily, that hasn’t been a problem here in Holm,” she reveals. “In the time I’ve been with the bank we’ve worked on some large-scale, high-impact projects that have really contributed to my development – our new Estonian webpage and app and self-service site, for example, and the new website for Latvia, and transferring our card products from the old banking platform to the new one.”
All of these projects, Anneli says, have required a great deal of thought, thorough testing and the ability to develop user options that are as convenient for clients as possible. Her role is to be an IT planner, to establish priorities, to outline requirements, to carry out testing and to serve as a product visionary, while at the same time fulfilling the role of ‘interpreter’ between her department and all the others in the bank. Her colleagues say she has got what she does – devising effective IT solutions that meet the needs they are designed for – down to a fine art.
Anneli adds that she sees parallels in her line of work with sports. “Working on Holm’s IT solutions is like running the 100 metres,” she says: “I have to prime myself for every race and keep the finishing line in sight every step of the way. And once I’ve crossed it, I immediately start thinking about the next race.”
The key lies in time management
Anneli is quick to add that despite the race analogy, her days do not involve endless running around and biting of nails as deadlines loom.
“When your job feels more like a hobby – in a good way! – you take no issue with how fast-paced it is or the big things it throws at you,” she says. “I’ve never been a ‘Wednesday is hump day’ or ‘TGIF’ sort of person who marks off the days on the calendar until their next lot of annual leave comes round. I’m a mother to twin girls, and when they came into my life, which wasn’t all that long ago, time management and efficiency took on a whole new meaning for me. You always have to have a plan for getting things done in both your work and private lives. Happily for me, that’s worked out well so far!”
Anneli says it is the people she encounters in the course of her work that keep her enjoying what she does. “I work from home a lot, to save on travel time,” she explains. “But I really enjoy the days I go into the office, because my colleagues are so friendly. And though I only tend to see them on the other end of a Zoom link, my partners are a delight to deal with as well. There’s a real sense of standing shoulder to shoulder. I’m really grateful to them for that, and always enjoy working with them.”
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