A new member of Alma Talent since January, Santtu Elsinen, 44, is Alma’s first CDO or Chief Digital Officer. What sort of job is that?
“In a nutshell, my job is to make sure that the company’s target for the digitalisation of the entire business will progress as planned,” says Elsinen.
And it is progressing. In the first quarter, January to March, more than 36 percent of the turnover accrued from digital products and contents.
“Our goal is to increase digital turnover by 15 percent every year,” Elsinen says.
Before this post, Elsinen worked as Business Development Director at Talentum, which was acquired by Alma.
“You could say I know the company well. I worked at Talentum for 3.5 years since 2012. I have an entrepreneurial background in online business from the 1990s – during the years, I’ve started a number of technology businesses with my business partners,” he says.
Before Talentum, Elsinen worked at Trainers’ House. And before that in Satama Interactive to which he sold a part of one of his businesses.
No centralised concept
Santtu Elsinen sees Alma as a strongly forward-looking, consistently operating company where the significance of digitalisation is understood throughout the organisation.
We don’t have a digital strategy but a strategy that is mainly digital. It’s a big difference.
Elsinen points out that all the four business areas of Alma have their independent digital development projects. Currently Alma employs nearly 300 digital specialists in Finland and Europe.
“It is important for us to work efficiently and combine business development output in areas that create the biggest benefits. My area of responsibility is to take care of the development of shared services. We are now particularly investing in the use of data and development of our publishing platforms."
Google and Facebook as sparring partners
Elsinen finds the media business particularly interesting because lots is happening at a high speed all the time. The high number of users is also producing lots of data about what is working and what not, so you don't have to base your decisions on educated guesses. It also provides a firmer foundation for business development.
“But of course media is still a challenging business environment. Besides the market situation and domestic competition, we also have big American operators such as Google and Facebook, each cutting a big piece of the digital advertising cake,” Elsinen says.
That’s why we have to build our success on our own strengths: contents, target groups and local expertise.
Results speak for themselves
Elsinen is celebrating his 44th birthday in July with his wife Lara, 11-year-old son Eino and 8-year-old twins Ellen and Erik.
Elsinen came to Helsinki in 1993 to study at the Helsinki School of Economics and stayed here since “the range of interesting jobs in Joensuu is somewhat limited”.
In his spare time, Elsinen enjoys skiing, sailing, crossfit and wining & dining.
“I’m a real foodie. I collect wines and visit interesting vineyards and restaurants abroad.”
Juggling the demands of a family with a career can be challenging for time management, as Elsinen’s wife also travels a lot for work, but “that’s the way it is in most families”.
Elsinen says he finds it rather easy to combine business with pleasure; it's okay to work on Sunday evenings if it helps your time management. Saturdays and summer holidays he tries to keep free of work.
“My background is in entrepreneurship, and that’s why I think that results will speak for themselves. What has to be done, will be done, even if it’s three in the morning. This is a philosophy I still find useful.”