8.4. 2015 Kuukauden kasvo

Kari Lindgren masters information systems

Kari Lindgren helps SMEs to manage their IT systems comprehensively. As a founding member and deputy chairman of IT Entrepreneurs Southwest Finland Association he also promotes the networking of IT companies operating in the province.

EM Systems Oy was founded in 2011 to fulfil a need which the founder Kari Lindgren considers to be significant particularly in SMEs. It is a question of overall management of IT software, and often there is no clear view regarding it. Companies may purchase different software in product-oriented manner, and the overall system is a mess in which holes have been patched with random pieces. Different pieces of software do not work together, and the same information may be stored in a number of locations or be missing from where it is needed.

”IT purchases are often made individually, when a defect is spotted, instead of examining how the new piece of software fits in with the existing systems. Even a small company has many kinds of information management needs, such as project management, sales budgeting, financial administration, and management of documents. The overall system may become quite complicated, if it comprises of many separate items that don’t fit together”, Mr Lindgren says.

The lack of overall management often becomes a problem, if the persons responsible for IT issues leave the company and take the knowledge with them. The managing directors of small companies are so closely involved in everyday operations that they rarely have the time to familiarise themselves with information technology solutions.

Responsible IT master

”Our solution is to offer companies access to a responsible IT master, an outsourced professional who has the overall system under control. In the same way as there has to be a responsible master on a construction site who manages the project professionally.”

The IT master maps the current state of information management which reveals the system’s hardware and software, cost structure, data security, and compatibility with mobile devices and social media.

“When a professional sees the overall system, he or she can suggest improvements that provide above all better management of information and work processes. Very often the suggested changes also save time and reduce costs, because it is common that the same information is saved a number of times and license fees are paid for overlapping software”, Mr Lindgren says.

EM Systems offers software solutions based on open source code which release the company from dependence on a single software provider. In an open environment, corporate software is continuously being developed by a global community, and the company can choose just the right parts from the supply. It is also easy to adjust the software settings for each company, and sometimes even customisation (own module development) is possible, but it should generally be avoided and use ready modules whenever possible.

As the Managing Director of his own company Kari Lindgren is in the right place, because he has always been interested in information technology and equipment. At the age of 10 he built a radio receiver and later decided to study to become an electronics engineer. It turned out to be the right choice. In his previous jobs at Finlux, Nokia and Ericsson, Mr Lindgren encountered both possibilities of information systems and companies with difficulties in information management.

Association of IT Entrepreneurs

Mr Lindgren was interested in entrepreneurship, because it allows steering the course of your operations. Shortly after setting up a business he wanted, however, to create contacts to other entrepreneurs.

“Together with a few other entrepreneurs we founded IT Entrepreneurs Southwest Finland Association in March 2010. The purpose of the association is to share information by networking with other IT entrepreneurs and arrange training on new issues locally. There are now 50–60 members and we arrange 3–4 events a year”, he says.

Mr Lindgren is still the deputy chairman of the association and finds its activities meaningful.

“Knowing entrepreneurs in your own industry helps in being concretely aware of what companies really do. The network has turned out to be an excellent channel for finding the right special expert for the customer’s project and seeing everyone’s core expertise. It’s much easier than looking for partners by browsing websites or directories which often focus more on creating a general image, because the companies don’t want to exclude any potential customers.”

Dancing and canoeing

Kari Lindgren lives in Kaarina, and studied and has always worked in Turku. In his spare time he can be found in events of dancing society Sekahaku, as he got into ballroom dancing about ten years ago.

“I like to listen to music and I like all kinds of dances, maybe most of all slow waltz and rhumba. It’s different from competitive dancing, I’m not into that.”

“In the summer Mr Lindgren does not head to open-air dances but to the sea, because canoeing is a dear hobby, and he can stay on a canoeing trip for a week. He also acts as a trainer in Saaristomeren melojat canoeing club.

“Canoeing is relaxing, you completely forget about work. I’m planning a trip to Utö and Kökar for the next summer”, he says.

Text and photos: Anne Kortela

Kari Lindgren

• Born in Turku in 1961, lives in Kaarina

• Education: Bachelor of Science, Telecommunication in 1986, Turku Institute of Technology

• Career:
Finlux 10 years / Nokia 3 years
Ericsson 9 years (product development)
Elektrobit 3 years
2011– EM Systems Oy, Managing Director and principal owner
2010– IT Entrepreneurs Southwest Finland, founding member, currently deputy chairman

• Hobbies:
- Ballroom dancing/partner dancing: dancing society Sekahaku
- canoeing; instructor: Saaristomeren melojat ry
• Family: wife and two adult children