Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Richard Ohlsson, Solution Architect at Arelion

“An opportunity for reinvention”

At Arelion, we pride ourselves on a “best of both worlds” approach to our culture and execution. This approach combines an innovative startup mentality with our proven track record of success. Richard Ohlsson, Solution Architect, has been with Arelion for five and a half years. He has been vital in supporting our journey to a standalone company from the IT side, helping to converge that with the business side. We interviewed Richard to learn about his background and his approach for successfully collaborating and executing on challenging projects.


Q: Tell us about your background. What does a solution architect do?

I finished my university study with an MSc in Engineering and a BSc in Economics. I got into IT and started developing and creating applications, gradually moving to the solution and architectural side of things. Through the years, I gained experience in software project management and learned how to integrate that with business strategy. That’s where I am now, working with business teams and development teams. These previous experiences informed my current role at Arelion: shaping the overall architecture of a solution to address whatever business challenge we may face.

Q: What does Arelion look like on the inside? 

It’s a unique company because it’s one of the few companies I’ve worked for where people outside of it truly appreciate and like us! In conversations among people outside of telecom, the phrase “service provider” might elicit groans. However, Arelion differentiates itself not only through its high quality of service but also through its focus on world-class customer experiences. Customers genuinely enjoy our support and services, and our people are enthusiastic and passionate about facilitating trustworthy, global connectivity.

Q: What are some of the key goals for IT? 

Our current goal is to migrate out of Telia Company’s systems following our divestment from the company in June 2021. This major migration project means we must rebuild our IT services from scratch. This is an interesting yet difficult undertaking because we’re essentially building a large company’s IT side from the ground up. Even experienced IT people do not always get to take on a project like this in their careers.

We still have this global network and all this machinery that needs to keep delivering high quality of service. We still have that responsibility to customers around the world to consistently innovate our network and keep it operational and secure despite unprecedented challenges. Our focus on continued quality of service is a challenging goal, and it puts a lot of pressure on IT. But it’s also a strength because we’re rebuilding our IT side with world-class quality in mind from day one. We don’t have that startup luxury where we can build through trial and error, we must do our best to get things right the first time.

Although we’re one of the largest global operators, we still face the same challenges as any company. We must ensure this companywide enthusiasm for reliable quality of service trickles down into IT as we rebuild to better align with our customers’ connectivity needs. These are challenging goals, but it’s also an opportunity for reinvention that will help us better serve our global customers.

Q: How will you accomplish these goals?

A project of this magnitude requires highly skilled, collaborative IT people to accomplish our goals. It can be difficult to navigate, no individual can do it alone. It requires skilled navigators that are genuinely passionate about the connectivity services we provide to steer the project in the right direction. Our IT team consists of people located in Sweden, Poland and more who work together to provide the best possible service. By hiring globally, we ensure our workforce reflects the global markets we serve and is best prepared to execute our critical projects. I must give credit to our hiring and HR departments that work ceaselessly to find skilled people that help us achieve our vision of reliable, secure global connectivity.

Q: Any plans for the future? What’s your favorite part of working at Arelion?

Aside from the IT migration, I work with Finance and HR. After the migration, there will be projects to increase the efficiency of the internal processes between these departments. These are paused because we must set up the IT environment that is the functional backdrop underlying further internal efficiency.

Arelion is a great company to work for because it offers the best of both worlds. We have the opportunities and mentality of a startup, but we also have the resources and proven track record of a larger company. I enjoy working here because I can make a real impact on the company. As a startup, you don’t always have the resources you need to effect change. While at a more mature company, you may have the resources but not the opportunities for innovation.

There are no strict rules on the IT side. We’re creating that structure in real-time. So, you have the opportunity to push that structure in a certain direction. Every individual can effect change, yet you’re surrounded by skilled people who are always open to help.

Q: Final thoughts for someone considering a career at Arelion?

There are a lot of talented people in this company, and that’s an opportunity. Growth doesn’t happen from being the smartest person in the room and being complacent with that. You only get better if you surround yourself with better people. At Arelion, you have the unique opportunity to join a larger company with a startup mentality focused on persistent innovation strengthened by resources that enable meaningful change.


Check out open positions at Arelion.