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Internal IT is a true talent pool – about development opportunities and the role of a Product Owner

The career in the Internal IT Department is one of many development paths available for the employees at Sii Poland. People who work in this area have the opportunity to face many interesting and rewarding challenges that improve the daily work of the entire organization. One of the flagship projects is the internal Job Changer app. Joanna Karpowicz talks about the work in the role of Product Owner of this unique solution.

Job Changer is one of over 100 projects completed within the Internal IT department, which currently numbers about 200 people. This is a place that offers great opportunities for professional development. we’re working on the latest technology stack. The company is winding up the implementation project for Office 365 products. in which all users were migrated to Exchange Online. All employees can now also use Teams and OneDrive, which is the beginning of the absorption of a wide package of new cloud solutions. In addition, the upgrade of Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 and Sharepoint to version 2019 is ongoing.

– Internal IT is a strategic and long-term investment for Sii. It guarantees business continuity and development, while also offering a competitive advantage – says Michał Kopczyński, CIO at Sii Poland. – What we’ve got here is an internal IT department in a company that is a market leader in IT services and employs over 4,000 people. On the business side, we have the best experts and managers in HR, recruitment and marketing and we work alongside them on coming up  with modern IT tools created for their needs. What our team does is of great importance in the daily life of several thousand people in the company, which brings great satisfaction, because every day we can observe how our work changes Sii and makes life easier for all of us, and that’s something that can’t be overstated! The fact that Internal IT is a great place to grow is confirmed by statistics – in the last year over 30% of the team was promoted or changed their position – CIO adds.

Who would you recommend work in projects run by the internal IT department?

Joanna Karpowicz, Product Owner of the Job Changer app: Internal IT is a very important link in the company, while the technology industry itself offers a lot of paths for development. For a programmer or tester, the ability to switch technology, position or location is something natural. The internal IT department employs people with different educational backgrounds or profiles, because not every position requires purely technical skill. Here I mean Technical Writers, Scrum Masters, Analysts, Product Owners and many more. I am the best example of this – I graduated in administration. I have been working at Sii since February 2015 – currently as a Product Owner in the Integration Team, which deals in integrating internal Sii applications and automating business processes using the IBM BPM platform.

Could you describe your career path?

J.K .: Previously, I worked in sales, in the telecommunications industry, serving customers at the other the end of the proverbial receiver, as well as in a debt collection company. I started working at Sii as a Product Owner Support. I was involved in many different tasks, such as writing manuals for apps, helping create our Internal IT newsletter and presentations, or support for Product Owners and the Manager Program. I assisted in the creation and implementation of the software development process as well as in the management of IT projects. After some time, I received an offer to change the project and move over to the Integration Department, where I embarked upon my adventure as the Product Owner of an application that everyone in the company uses – “Absences” and “Periodic appraisals”. Currently, I am involved in the development and maintenance of several applications in the area of Monitoring, Human Resources and Payroll.

Who do you work with on a daily basis as a Product Owner?

J.K .: Product Owners divide their time between people on the business side of things and teams of developers and testers. On a daily basis, I contact customers – Power Users in particular areas in order to examine the needs for a particular IT product that we want to create together. I organise status meetings, where we decide what we need to do to complete successive tasks aimed at developing and maintaining applications. Then I pass the ideas generated from the business end over to the team of developers and testers who then implement the expectations. In the next step, we conduct acceptance tests so we can finally make the new functionality available for Sii employees.

What do you appreciate most in your daily work?

J.K .: That it’s full of challenges! There’s always some kind of change that motivates me to seek out new solutions, often having to work out a compromise between business and IT. It is also important that I see different perspectives in front of me and at this moment I focus on the development of the analytical side of my role and the improvement of the process of analysing customer needs. The Product Owner’s job involves responsibility because he or she is accountable, to a large extent, for the final result – the product that is delivered to the customer. On the other hand, I feel over the moon when the employees enjoy using applications that I was involved in creating.

My “product owner” portfolio includes the Job Changer application, thanks to which employees can develop, easily switch projects and have a real influence on their career path in the organization. The application goes the whole nine yards – analysis, the architecture creation process, pricing and tests. It is integrated with the CRM and the reporting system that enables reliable data analysis. We are currently in the development phase of the application – we are working with Power Users so that the application meets the needs of all users – Sii employees, HR departments and Line Managers. This is a unique tool on the market and I am happy that I have a part to play in it. We’re keeping track on how it develops and how many people use the application. Over the past year, 352 applications have been received thanks to Job Changer. 170 people have switched projects and 91 are in the process of change. 63 employees withdrew their applications, because changes were made in their project to their satisfaction. I’m also a big fan of the atmosphere in the Integration Team. Although we’re all different, we find a common language. Currently, the Integration Team consists of 16 people: Architects, Developers, Testers, Technical Writer and Product Owners. We work from Lublin and Warsaw.

It is worth taking a look through our projects, both from the point of view of current employees who can make use of Job Changer and join Internal IT as well as specialists in the open market. Among the open positions that definitely bring about this kind of satisfaction, now we have, for example, the Mobile Applications Architect, giving access to all Sii systems involving mobile devices or Senior Consultant in the field of ​​Office365/SharePoint, whose job is to help the entire company adopt new cloud solutions from the Office365 suite. All current job offers can be found on our website under the Career tab.

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