2/2016

How to turn software into business?

Assistant Professor of Software Product Management and Business Sami Hyrynsalmi finds software business expertise to carry enormous potential for the Finnish economy and people’s well-being. To students, he hopes to teach versatility.

Sami Hyrynsalmi

 

"The Finnish product developers and managers represent the cream of the crop, but we must also know how to turn our software expertise into revenue", Assistant Professor Sami Hyrynsalmi reminds.

 

WHO? Sami Hyrynsalmi (b. 1985, Turku)

  • Key degrees:
    M.Sc. (Tech.), software engineering, 2009, University of Turku, Department of Information Technology
    D.Sc. (Tech.), software engineering, 2014, University of Turku, Department of Information Technology
  • Key work history:
    Worked in various positions at the University of Turku for the past nine years. ”I was a research assistant in the Productization research group in Salo for 2.5 years. After that, I worked at the Department of Information Technology, the Turku School of Economics and the Business and Innovation Development special unit as a doctoral student. After completing my doctorate, I worked at the Department of Information Technology of the University of Turku as Postdoctoral Researcher for a few years.”
  • Leisure: Family: wife Sonja and Bitti cat. Hobbies include coffee, exercise and boxing coaching for children and youth.
 

Sami Hyrynsalmi assumed his position as Assistant Professor of Software Product Management and Business at TUT’s Pori Department at the beginning of October. He studies the way that software companies and other parties in the field go about doing business with software. In his view, the field holds great potential for Finland as a whole.

“We are able to genuinely compete on the global market with our high-expertise products. The Finnish product developers and managers represent the cream of the crop, but we must also know how to turn our software expertise into revenue. To me, a business mindset and software entrepreneurship are important additions to software developers’ education,” Hyrynsalmi says.

Hyrynsalmi strongly recommends that the students in the field take courses on software business, as an understanding of the topic is an integral part of everyday operations for any modern company.

“To an increasing extent, developers work either at the customer interface or in small companies in which everyone needs to master a bit of everything. Software business studies cover means of using software to generate and further develop business operations. In today’s digital, networked and open world, everything we do is increasingly intertwined with data and software,” Hyrynsalmi points out.

“We should be able to break away from the traditional mindset of first manufacturing a product behind closed doors and then launching it. We need to shift the focus more on customer- and market-based development. This will allow for faster time-to-market and also enable us to validate from the get-go that the product is manufactured for an existing customer base that is also willing to pay for it.

Appropriate mix of technology and economics

Sami Hyrynsalmi has been dabbling in coding and machines ever since he was a teenager. He started his studies in communications engineering and electronics but later shifted to software engineering – before taken over by the field of software business. In his own research, Hyrynsalmi has recently focused especially on software ecosystems and mobile applications. What he brings to TUT is welcome versatility.

“You could say that I am a software developer who reflects on business economics, or an economist who knows how to code. Software business has a natural multidisciplinary air to it. In order to grasp it, you need to have an in-depth understanding of a number of other fields. I feel that I am juggling the field of software business with quite an appropriate understanding of both technology and economics,” Hyrynssalmi notes.

With a long history working at the University of Turku, Hyrynsalmi appreciates the strong industry collaboration at TUT.

“TUT has close ties with industry, which makes both research and teaching all the more relevant – focusing on things that also generate direct back feed to society.”

Text and photo: Sanna Schildt

 
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