"We will be a driving force in developing the bank of the future"
Petra Ålund is in charge of more than 2,500 employees in SEB's Technology division. She wants her organisation to be a driving force in developing the bank of the future through technological expertise and innovation.
– Our core mission is to make sure that the bank's systems are always available, reliable and future-proofed," she says. "Customers must be able to rest assured that the payment systems will work and that their money and information are always secure.
– Moreover, we serve as the bank's R&D unit, responsible for studying how we can create value for customers with the help of new technologies such as AI, machine learning, and data analytics.
Petra Ålund has worked for SEB since 2017. She has an extensive industrial background, where she has held high-level IT positions for both Scania and Sandvik. She was born and raised in Oxelösund and has a Master's in International Economics from Linköping University, among other things.
– I bought my first computer in 1982 and have always been interested in IT," Petra says. "I did some programming when I was young, but I see myself more as a generalist than a specialist.
What do you like best about working with IT?
– It's exciting that development is going so fast, which means that you have to learn new things all the time. It gives everyone a chance to get up to speed on a new development together.
– I also enjoy the adrenaline kick you get when a disruption or some other unforeseen event occurs. Solving problems through teamwork is an energy booster.
You head one of Sweden's largest IT organisations. Can you tell us more about how you work?
– We are nearly 2,500 people working in Technology. We are situated in 14 countries, with our largest units in Sweden and Lithuania. Then there are another some 1,500 tech-related professional roles in the bank. We are not separated from each other, but work together in a virtual, agile organisation, where our joint goal is to create products and services that our customer truly love. We provide our technological expertise and strive to jointly find new solutions that no one has thought of before.
Can you give some examples of various professional roles in the organisation?
– We have all types of roles – from in-depth specialists to broad generalists – and we work both with old and the absolute newest forms of development language. It's a large organisation, which offers fantastic opportunities to develop, change your area of focus and find new challenges.
– It's also an international organisation with employees in many different countries and a lot of cross-border collaboration. A large share of communication is done in English, so you don't need to have a command of Swedish or any other local language to be able to work and develop here. In addition, we focus a lot on recruiting talented women in all parts of the organisation.
What do you think is best about SEB as an employer?
– How we take care of our people. We try to make sure that each and everyone has an opportunity to develop, but also require our people to be self-motivated to grow and take responsibility for their own learning.