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WI Pro of the Season: Sari Ahonen, Senior IT Specialist at Kela and Kanta 27.3.2014

The series of Work Informatics Professionals at business and academia: person, skills, heart and motivation of an ICT expert continues.
Previous WIPro's: Anne Koskinen-Kannisto, Matti Toivonen, Pekka Tetri, Jani Koskinen, Olga Moiseeva, Katriina Korenius, Jonni Henttinen, Erkki Kallio, Adil Umer, Henry Sandell, Henrik Lintunen, Zulfiqar Ali Raffad, Jennifer Ståhlberg, Bahadir Gürkan, and Janne Pitkänen.
See also titles of WI Pros and Pro's at WI-LinkedIn, and the story of the First Lady of WI, Anne Koskinen-Kannisto.

WI Pro How do I see IT in everyday life?

It's a workday morning, and I wake to the alarm of the smartphone. At breakfast I buy, and read, a newspaper, on my Kindle.  I check the weather forecast on the smartphone so that I know how to dress the kids for the daycare. And then a look at the phone calendar, meetings for the day etc. During the day at the office I probably use a number of different applications and tools without actually paying attention to them. A colleague of mine once asked me about the tools I use in my work. The only thing that came to my mind at that moment was "Well, Word, for the most part" - the software and tools that I use have really become a part of the daily routine, so much so that I don't pay much attention to them.

What my current work is about?

My work consists of developing citizen's electronic services. This is long-term development that spans over several years into the future, it takes place in a complicated environment where one has to find a balance between the needs of a very heterogenic user group (that is, in practice, everybody above 18 years of age), health-care organizations, systems providers and various different stakeholder groups. Part of my work is to bring in the citizen's perspective into eservices development which is ultimately determined by the existing legislation. Even with the most agile methods, this kind of service is not built in a day or two.

What does WI at Work mean to me?

In my present work, WI means a holistic approach to development work - an approach that is anchored in a citizen's perspective - and about a critical way of looking at things. We must require the best usability of the IT services, and that they satisfy users' needs as far as practically possible. IT should really be a tool that "fits into the user's hand" so that the user can concentrate on what the service is all about, and not on the tools used.

Me and my future

In my work I am able to see, at close range, how national eservices are being developed, and how the future of IT in social and healthcare services takes shape. I believe that in such an environment there will be no shortage of new things to learn and to adopt. In the near future, something that I would like to hear from users of the new eservices is that they find the services so easy to use that they hardly notice they are using them.

Sincerely, Sari Ahonen
Senior IT Specialist
Kela – The Social Insurance Institution,
Kanta – National Health Archive