We talked to Esko Hannula of Qentinel on how to accelerate software creation and provide insights that help to deliver fast and flawlessly and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Esko Hannula: Thanks for asking, we are doing fine. We’ve been working and studying from home as much as possible. Living in the countryside, we have enough space around us and don’t feel locked at home. We miss the regular social contacts, though.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Qentinel.
Esko Hannula: I joined Qentinel when it was a small consulting shop, specializing in software quality consulting. Although we have a different business now, the foundation remains the same. We believed that the humankind would become increasingly dependent on software and saw that the software is not worth the trust the humankind is putting on it. Since the very beginning, our mission has been to improve the quality of life by improving software quality. Our product, Qentinel Pace, is a cloud platform that deploys software robots to tests software systems.
Before joining Qentinel, I made my career mostly in business development and product development positions in a larger corporation. Such background has given me some useful experience in building an organization that can scale and be cautious about making things overly complicated in a small organization.
How does Qentinel innovate?
Esko Hannula: I believe you need three main things to innovate: demanding customers, technical and methodological skills, and visionary foresight. These three need to be orchestrated by people with an ambitious but humble attitude. Working on real, tough challenges of the customers drives us every day to take those steps that take us closer to the realization of our vision and help us learn and improve fast.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Esko Hannula: First, it seemed like everything’s going to stop. It has, indeed, been quite challenging to win new business this year. Qentinel Pace’s market keeps growing, and interest is more significant than ever. However, many businesses are still hesitant to buy if they feel they can delay their decision for better times. The business has been more active towards the end of the year, but I still wouldn’t call it normal.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Esko Hannula: We were facing difficult choices. Looking at my peers in some other industries, I feel that the pandemic treated our business gently. No matter the circumstances, it is essential to believe in your business and be entirely focused on it. If you lose faith, you’ll lose the business. Your team is with you if they feel you are with them.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Esko Hannula: My recipe is sports, music, and meditation. With sports, I mean jogging alone or with my dog. A little bit of yoga and meditation every morning has been of great help getting up to speed and keeping the mind focused. I have also tried to pay attention to sleep and nutrition. My eating habits are healthier now, and I have even lost some weight, but I still don’t sleep enough.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Esko Hannula: I could name a long list of good competitors but, to be honest, our main competitor is ignorance about how to build great software and test it fast. Staying in the game means educating the market, innovating faster than competitors, and keeping customers happy.
Your final thoughts?
Esko Hannula: Nobody wants a pandemic or a business crisis, but I believe we will eventually remember 2020 as the year that changed the world for better.