Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” This quote aptly defines Tuuli Pärenson, who is responsible for numerous changes leading agile and lean principles. By undertaking the act of not taking oneself too seriously, she conquered one of the most difficult obstacles in her early career.
From being on digital transformation journeys to being a part of numerous large-scale reforms, Tuuli has come a long way in her career. Currently, she is serving as the CEO of Gofore Estonia, an international software development and consulting company. In this role, her ultimate goal is to see her customers flourish in their businesses.
Tuuli takes on issues head-on and makes a change. At Gofore, she is responsible for international business development with the goal of creating a more ethical digital environment. Currently, Tuuli is leading the subsidiary located in Estonia, but on a daily basis, her team works as a crew with the Gofore group.
We at Insights Success caught up with Tuuli in our endeavor to find “Top Inspiring Women Leaders to Watch” to learn more about her journey and how she is driving a transformative change in the IT sector with her expertise.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Enlighten us on how your diverse skillset and experience in different fields have helped Gofore to flourish.
I joined Gofore about 3 years ago to support Gofore on its international journey. I have a long experience in driving change and IT-related changes in different corporate and public sector organisations. For example, I used to work as a director of development in the banking sector when Estonia took the euro into use. I led the change of replacing the data exchange solution, that was used by all government organisations. I helped one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Estonia (Telia) improve business agility through leading the digital transformation.
At the end of the day, all changes are about people and helping build a piece of shared knowledge, why are we changing at all. No matter if these changes are about Gofore or helping our customers to take the digital transformation path.
Tell us more about your company its vision and the key aspects of its stronghold in the IT services space.
Gofore is led by agile and lean principles, and we truly believe in them. We believe in working together with our customers to help them achieve their goals. That is why we have consciously decided to be a pure-play consultancy. When we offer management advisory services, then the consultancy approach is probably no surprise.
What has surprised some of our customers is that we apply the same principles to everything we do: may it be the task in the field of security, data, design, or coding. Our experts work hand in hand with our customers to make sure that we focus on what is important and make the decisions that are best for the specific customer. We are proud that in the 2021 customer survey, our net promoter score was 54. That is significantly higher than the market average.
We truly believe that is equally important how we do things, not only what we do. And it is important to also help our customers grow the competencies and capabilities that they need to operate in the changing environment. We can do that through dedicated pieces of training, but we also do it as part of our daily work – through discussions that help us make the best choices together and help our customers to understand why we are opting for one option over another.
Considering the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you plan to navigate through similar situations in the future? What efforts did you take during the pandemic to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your team at the same time?
We are the leading digital transformation consultancy, and therefore we were prepared for the work in the digital environment only. We did not need to invent anything as all the systems, solutions, and working methods were in place before. We were happy to see that the same applied to our long-term customers. We had prepared together for the digital era, even if we had not hoped it to take over almost everything.
As our customers were well prepared, then we could afford to focus on what we believe matters the most. It is the well-being of our experts and staying mentally healthy when working remotely.
Please share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML is impacting the IT industry and how is Gofore riding the technology wave?
One of the most important aspects of an agile and lean organization is organizing around value. That is what we believe ourselves and that is what we recommend to our customers. No solution should ever start from selecting the technology. The starting point for designing any solution is understanding the challenge that we or our customers have and then select the best tools.
For us, as a consultancy, it is of course important to be aware of the modern and emerging technologies and make sure our experts have chances to learn and experiment with them to be able to help our customers make the right decisions.
As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the IT industry?
I do not like to talk about the IT industry. We do not talk about the management or leadership industry, do we? Organizations need IT as they need leadership or accounting. These functions are constantly needed, and experts are constantly needed.
Think of it as a spoon in the movie “Matrix,” where the Buddhist boy said: “Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth… there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”
How do you envision further strengthening Gofore’s stronghold in 2022 and beyond?
Gofore remains to be the best partner in ICT for organizations who believe in organizing around value and want to improve their business agility. Our stronghold has been, is, and will be our customer’s success.
Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.
I can share only the remarques that are agreed to be shared through our website. Although we partner with our customers for years, then there can be smaller projects within the cooperation. We do have a lot of experience with the public sector in Europe and worldwide industries, but also with start-ups.
The best praise for us is when we see our customers succeed in their business. I think that the innovation manager of electricity distribution company Caruna Mika Suomi has summarized it very well: “The number one thing was that the people from Gofore were not afraid to tell us if they thought our ideas were bad.”