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Maren Grønås Birkeland

HXM Implementation Consultant


Maren Birkeland comes from a small town in the west coast of Norway, and currently resides and works in Oslo on the opposite side of the country. She spends her time outside of work knitting and hiking, both of which are pretty popular pastimes in Norway. At the time of the interview, she was expecting her first child, and so was very excited about the coming few weeks and the start of family life. She has been with NTT DATA since 2017 and works in the Human Experience Management (HXM) division, consulting on creating positive environments for client’s workplaces.

Creating success through happy and productive working environments.

Tell us about an interesting project.

I work as an implement consultant at NTT DATA using an SAP system called SuccessFactors. It’s an HXM system that companies use to facilitate all HR practices from recruitment, through training and retirement. A few years ago, as part of this type of work, I was leading a workshop on the implementation of the system between people who come from Britain, Germany, Norway, and Netherlands.

It stuck in my mind because it was such fun to do the workshops. The first was in Germany, and after we finished the training, the client entertained the whole group by inviting us to an historical tour of the city with people in period costumes. The second time we were in the Netherlands and again the workshop was great and the after event was a cookery class. It was really thoughtful of the client to entertain their staff in that way, and fun for me too.

Describe a regular working day.

I would say that there isn’t such a thing as a typical or normal day, because as a consultant work goes in waves. Sometimes we are quite busy, which gives us the opportunity to work closely with the clients, something that I really enjoy. Other days can be less busy and so instead of meeting with clients I tend to work on preparing resources and honing my approach to how I do consulting. Both are essential of course to our business being successful.

From a personal point of view, I like to get started around 7am. That isn’t an expectation, I just like to work on things during the quiet time of the day. So, I like to have flexibility in my working time rather than being asked to work fixed hours. The thing I like the most about my work though is client workshops. I love visiting the client and helping them to get to grips with the system and fielding questions. It’s a very rewarding aspect of my job.

Why do you like life at NTT DATA?

When I joined NTT DATA in 2017 it was via the graduate program, which I qualified for by being a finance graduate. I had a master’s degree in business. So, I worked for 1.5 years in the finance sector before switching to HXM, and have been there ever since, implementing SuccessFactors as an implementation consultant. What I appreciate most about working at NTT DATA is the flexibility the company offers me. I never envisioned being able to transition from finance to HR consulting, but when that opportunity came up, I grabbed it with both hands.

In fact, regarding flexibility, my manager recently approached me to find out what I would like to do after returning from maternity leave, which I thought was a very positive gesture. I expressed an interest in a move to more of the business side of consulting which would be outside the technical aspect of the work, and that door is also open to me. So yes, I’d say the flexibility and openness of NTT DATA is what I love most about working here.

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