Students from Aalto University School of Business explored challenges and opportunities in the Finnish micro-enterprises’ digital service environment for the telecom operator Elisa. The three month Customized Student Business Project, organized by the School of Business, enabled the students to acquire valuable work experience and to contribute to real-world business development.
The team consisted of two Master’s level students Katariina Palvas from corporate communication and Riku Metsänen from accounting, as well as Panu Kallio studying economics and business administration at the Bachelor’s level.
‘The telecom industry is facing new kind of competition and changes as apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype have entered to telecom’s competitive market. Our primary goals was to better understand the digital service environment where micro-enterprises operate, in order to give Elisa new perspectives and ideas to serve their micro-sized corporate customers better’, the students explain.
The students conducted 14 interviews with Elisa’s B2B micro-enterprise customers and compared the findings with literature review. Based on the analysis the students provided recommendations to Elisa regarding what should be considered in terms of customer service in different channels, digital service offerings, and the overall situation in the industry.
Project findings utilised by Elisa’s business development
‘The outcome of the project really matched our expectations! The students provided interesting viewpoints about network effects and questioning the automation hype’, says Esko Kurvinen, Elisa’s Service Design Lead. ‘As the research was a combination of literature review and interviews with entrepreneurs, the project report serves as the foundation for another development project and some ideas have already been picked to develop them further’.
The business project gave the students valuable work experience in project management and problem-solving, for example, as well as increased their know-how of the telecom industry. An added bonus was that one group member got an offer for Master’s thesis collaboration with Elisa.
‘Small and medium sized enterprises constitute an increasingly important part of the economy in terms of GDP and employment. Therefore, I was excited about this opportunity to supervise a student group aiming to decipher the impacts of digitalization on SMEs’, says Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen.
‘The students did a really good job in turning the company assignment, which was quite abstract, into concrete recommendations to Elisa. The students produced a number of very insightful ideas that Elisa can take further in business development projects’, Penttinen adds.
Through the Customized Business Projects concept managed by the School of Business, students carry out genuine research, development and consulting projects for companies and organisations.
Tommi Vihervaara, Project Specialist
Aalto University School of Business
+358 50 3837388