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Bilot adds intelligence to ICT

Bilot is headed to Sweden with a changing market in mind.Credits: : Bilot

“Life is what happens when you’re busy doing ICT,” says Finnish digital service company Bilot. The growing company digitalises businesses intelligently to leave more time for life.

Quality, not quantity. Bilot, founded in 2005, is based on the idea of not only getting things done, but getting them done right.

“Back in the day, the ERP (enterprise resource planning) market was a little overheated and the quality of consulting services started to erode,” says Mika Tanner, CEO of Bilot. “In general, large consultancies no longer focused on quality and, instead, delivered commodities and volume.”

Bilot’s co-founders, some of them long-time friends of Tanner, didn’t want to do business in which the quality of work was not paramount. Completely owned by its employees, the company promises to design and deliver the best digital solutions by people who enjoy their work and are keen to learn and develop themselves further.

The idea has sold well. When Tanner joined the company in 2011, there were about 50 employees and now the number is about 150.

Data is king

Bilot’s core offering of digital solutions is based on two dimensions: customer journey and advanced analytics. According to Tanner, the largest fields of the company’s business are e-commerce solutions, customer relationship management and marketing automation tools, and other innovative digital solutions needed to support all stages of a customer journey.

The key differentiating factor lies in the latter layer. Bilot specialises in charging its solutions with advanced analytics, AI and genuinely end-to-end technical integration.

“We provide intelligent customer-facing solutions, such as pricing and profitability optimisation, that are strongly data-driven,” Tanner explains. “Beginning from data architecture and basic reporting all the way to prescriptive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, that’s Bilot’s forte.”

Bilot’s solutions are mostly built on existing and widely used software, such as those of SAP and Microsoft.

“We work with leading cloud-native software platforms, and, with our industry expertise and acclaimed technology acumen, customers can attain better competitiveness.”

Under Mika Tanner, Bilot has grown and internationalised. Image: Bilot

Bilot has also launched its own range of products known as Bilot SmartSeries. SmartChannel boosts companies’ omnichannel commerce, SmartMDM supports efficient and lean data management, and SmartPricing helps in real-time pricing optimisation.

In the future, Tanner sees artificial intelligence being embedded in IT solutions as the new normal. Bilot is, among others, developing ways to utilise it in its solution offering – avoiding unnecessary hype and saluting pragmatism.

“There’s definitely an industry-wide drive to integrate new solutions enabled by artificial intelligence into every business.”

Peeking across the border

Some five years ago, Bilot came to the same conclusion as plenty of other Finnish companies: the home market is only so big. Projects had already taken the company all over the world, but then it decided to set foot in Poland as a local operator, benefiting from the competitive advantages it has developed in Finland.

The next step is to establish a subsidiary in Sweden. Plenty of Bilot’s customers are present in the market, and they’ve been asking Bilot to come along to support them.

“They’re in need of an agile partner with a value proposition like ours,” notes Tanner. “We feel like now is the right time to go, and we can also utilise some of the lessons we’ve learned in Poland.”

The potential subsequent markets will be decided once Sweden has been conquered – but Sweden, as Tanner points out, is a big chunk to bite off in itself, as it’s very different to Finland and Poland.

“In Sweden, the market position of SAP is not nearly as prominent as in Finland, and there’s a large and vibrant mid-market which can be really interesting for a mid-sized player like Bilot,” he explains. “Thus, we see plenty of growth potential, and with our story and excellent references I believe we stand a realistic chance to do well.”

Lack of hierarchy at Bilot offices is a way of letting employees take more responsibility – but have more freedom, too. Image: Bilot
By: Anne Salomäki