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“The work is different, but the goals and values are fundamentally the same” – former social worker Sauli Hyvärinen now leads the digital transformation of social and health care organisations

Sofigate works extensively with social and health organisations on their digital transformation. With grassroots experience in social work, Sauli Hyvärinen is the perfect person to act as a translator between people from different fields when Sofigate’s platform offering is used to provide social and health care professionals with the best possible tools.

Sauli Hyvärinen had no plans to work in the technology industry. He studied at the University of Turku School of Social Sciences, majoring in Social Politics and completing comprehensive studies in social work. After graduating – and receiving an award for the Best Master’s Thesis of the Year 2012 – he became a social worker for the City of Helsinki child and family welfare services.

It all sounds just about as far removed from business technology as one can imagine. Yet here Sauli is, little more than ten years later, working on the digital transformation of health and social care as Sofigate’s Senior Advisor.

“It may not seem like the most straightforward career path, but I genuinely believe that my work at Sofigate reflects the same values I have always believed in. I started out helping some of the most vulnerable members of our society. At Sofigate, we aim to provide social workers with the best possible systems and tools for their important work”, Sauli says.

“The work is different, but the goals and values are fundamentally the same. At Sofigate, the values are reflected in the quality of our products and services.”

From grassroots to transformation

After the City of Helsinki, Sauli Hyvärinen continued his career at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit investigating reports of child abuse. Next, he moved on to the NGO world joining Finland’s Central Union of Child Welfare where he eventually rose to the position of Chief Specialist, representing the organisation in political decision-making and social and health care reform.

Sauli’s big move to the business side of things came in 2018. He became a management consultant for Accenture, once again working with social and healthcare organisations, but this time concentrating on their digital transformation.

“I had always been interested in consulting. What I found especially important was that I could use my grassroots experience from social work and apply it to large transformation projects”, Sauli says.

Winning the client’s trust

Since 2021, Sauli has been with Sofigate. He works as an Industry Lead for social and healthcare in the Platforms Stream, where his responsibilities include product management and business development of platform offering, especially ServiceNow. He also acts as an Account Lead for some the company’s largest social and healthcare clients.

“I knew Sofigate as a company that has deep insights into transformation in different fields, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide variety of different projects and with different clients. My work now requires a combination of operational and industry expertise. The end goal is always to use our platform offering to provide social and healthcare professionals with systems that are efficient and easy to use.”

Even as a person without a background in technology, Sauli hasn’t found his work on complex systems insurmountably challenging. He has, of course, learned a lot – and often finds himself acting as a “translator” between tech and non-tech people.

“The Business Technology Standard is a very useful frame of reference for a non-tech person like myself. It’s important to understand IT jargon when one works with technology experts, but it’s just as important to be able to talk about these things in a way that everybody understands”, Sauli says.

“I’d like to think I also bring a degree of social skills to the table. In social work, everything depends on winning the client’s trust the first time you meet them. Working with industry clients is not that different.”

”Everyone has clear, quantifiable goals”

”Learning” is a word that comes up often when Sauli Hyvärinen talks. In addition to systems, technology and IT jargon, Sauli says he has learned a new mindset at Sofigate.

“Work culture is, of course, very different here than in a social care organisation. But what I like is how results-driven the company is. Everyone has clear, quantifiable goals. It has taught me a lot.”

Learning is important to Sauli even off-duty. He spends much of his free time practicing and coaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu and training his two-month-old Lapponian Herder.

“Martial arts are a great way to learn patience and humility. There is always someone more skillful and better prepared than you are. And of course, the best way to learn patience is to get a puppy”, Sauli says, laughing.

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