Starting up Posti's Ecommerce Engine
Future of Growth
Written by Li Nieminen
When I first joined Posti as a Payment Gateway product owner a bit over a year ago, I had some doubts. Coming from a purely startup background, Posti would be my first corporate job. How would I, with my startup way of working, fit into a large, government-owned organization?
To my surprise, it turned out that working at Posti feels just like working at another startup. All of the possibilities, the development mindset and the agility – as well as some unique challenges and great colleagues around. And now with my team, we are developing a core payment system to support Posti’s ecommerce business development and growth.
Building a legacy – on top of legacies
Developing a payment system means leaving behind a legacy – and there may be some before yours. What you build will usually last for a long time: the payment system built 15 years ago in my previous job is still being used today. Building a reliable and scalable payment system is a very rewarding experience. When I joined Posti, I was thrilled to be offered the challenge of building something completely new from the ground up again.
But unlike at startups, at Posti you don’t start with an empty table. One of the main challenges of working in a large organization such as Posti is working with the legacy systems already in place and making sure everything functions smoothly while you build something new. You also have to make sure that everyone understands what we're doing, why we’re doing it and what the benefits are. And then, of course, you need to prove that the new system actually works and brings the benefits.
When I started at Posti, I hit the ground running to develop and gradually launch Payment Gateway, a consolidated payment system which will integrate with all of Posti’s online sales channels under one holistic touchpoint. I joined the project in November 2018, and by the end of March 2019 we had already launched OmaPosti’s invoice payment service, supported by Payment Gateway. Now it processes a monthly average of over 4 million euros in invoice payments.
A gateway to more holistic ecommerce
Posti’s different online sales channels each currently have their own integration with payment service providers and back office system (SAP). This is not efficient from a development, maintenance, payment monitoring, error handling, reporting or data analytics perspective - and this is why we’re developing Payment Gateway as a single touchpoint that handles all integrations and back office communication. The new functionalities of Payment Gateway will greatly improve user experience for both end users as well as Posti’s internal teams.
As a product owner, I have a regular session with the development team where we talk about what Posti needs from both a business perspective and an end user perspective. My team is great to work with – they’re dynamic, international, competent and have the passion to build something new together. This is a very big motivation for me, because it’s always a team effort rather than driving the whole thing on my own.
Development is not just about coding – in the end it’s all about the people and our customers. When I used to work in gaming and app startups, we targeted very specific customer segments. But when we talk about Posti, we’re talking about everybody. I like the utility of our service – it affects everybody’s life.
An agile giant with a human heart
As you can tell, the doubts I first had about Posti were quickly diminished. Everybody’s ready to take on challenges. New ideas about business, ways of working and development practices are always welcomed and encouraged inside the organization, and we follow agile development practices. There’s a lot of support from colleagues in our business unit and across the Posti organization as well. I have had lots of fun at work!
In my team, we’re not just consultants and customers or internal and external employees – we all want to get things done properly and we want to be proud of what we’ve done. There may be misconceptions that working for a huge organization means less flexibility and less opportunity to leave a visible mark on the world, but my experience at Posti so far has been completely opposite. Our work will have a huge impact on ordinary Finnish people. And after some years, when Posti is still using the payment system, we can be very proud to say that we built that.
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