"A lot of freedom to innovate"
– Lilja Helgadóttir, Machine Learning Assets
The social Product Manager never thought she’d work with machine learning – now she solves real-world problems by translating data into practical value.
Hey Lilja! You work with machine learning – how is that and what do you do?
“Yes! I work in the Machine Learning Assets team, which is a part of our Data Science Hub on Group level. We provide our customers with machine learning-based solutions that enable their end-users to work more efficiently and make data-driven decisions. My team consists of people from various backgrounds, so everyone contributes in their unique way. We're having a lot of fun working together while solving real-world problems. There’s an exceptionally high degree of freedom to innovate and experiment – we have everything we need to make an impact.”
Sounds like a great team to be part of! Can you give an example of how you help customers work more efficiently?
“We have access to huge amounts of data that we can tap into, and with that provide customised experiences and use cases. For example, scanning and extracting information from invoices and receipts. It saves people many hours of manually typing information into accounting systems, which directly translates into cost savings for companies and helps them become paperless. That’s just one of several examples.”
We’re curious to know how you ended up as a Product Manager in Visma’s machine learning team?
“To be honest, I never thought I’d end up here. If you told me five years ago that I’d be working in machine learning, I would’ve asked ‘what’s machine learning’? I have an engineering background and met Visma at a career fair during my studies. I‘d never heard of Visma before, but the people I met intrigued me. I became an intern at Visma that same summer. Then, after I graduated, I became a Management Trainee. During my trainee year, I worked on a project with the team I’m now lucky to be a part of.”
“It brings a sense of belonging because there is so much authenticity in the workplace.”
You must’ve evolved a lot since you began your Visma journey, how’s it been?
“I feel that I've built so much confidence since I started, much due to the feeling of everyone backing me up and being supportive. They put so much effort in and focus on you as an individual and your personal development. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and that has given me confidence. A part of my personal growth has also been being allowed to be myself and not be expected to be an expert in everything. It brings a sense of belonging because there’s so much authenticity in the workplace.”
Quite a journey you have had! What‘s exciting about working with data science?
“It’s definitely the combination of providing real value to our customers and that it's really clear to our team what value we bring. We're constantly staying up to date on the latest technologies and trends and trying out new research – whilst having a lot of fun along the way. I think that shines through in my team. We solve difficult and interesting problems with various use cases and we can access huge amounts of data, due to our high volume of consumers. We’re proud of working with a research mindset and taking the time to study state of the art in our field. We keep our platforms current, so that we can make reliable and accurate machine learning models.”
Cool! Can you tell us more about your role as a product manager? What do you do day-to-day?
“As a product manager I get to go out and speak with customers, which is super fun. I bridge the gap between tech and people, and I communicate what we’re doing without going into the nitty-gritty technological details. Because that's not interesting to everyone. People can be scared of tech sometimes, and I for sure was as well. I feel like I've only scratched the surface, and I love being able to communicate in a simple way to people, so that they understand our smart solutions. I’m still quite new in my role and I’m learning every day. There's so much flexibility, experimenting and responsibility – with the freedom to take as much responsibility as I want. Also, being surrounded by and learning from super clever people aka my teammates is something I enjoy.”
We’re eager to hear more about these “super clever” colleagues of yours! What do you do for fun?
“There are so many different people working here with different skill sets! And, you know, everyone's super nice and friendly. I can be vulnerable to my colleagues, but at the same time also just be confident about what I’m capable of. Everyone brings their best self to the table. It's a collective, good environment, which everyone contributes to in their way. We do a lot of walk-and-talks, so we make sure that everyone's also on top of their well-being. We hang out quite a lot outside of work. If you want to be part of a running club or a book club, we have it! We'll often grab a beer on Fridays – or even during the weekdays. Don't tell anyone... Of course, it's not always all fun and games. We do some serious hard work, but we do it in collaboration.”
“The combination of providing real value to our customers and that it's really clear to our team what value we bring is what makes data science really exciting.”