Aki Antman from Sulava Oy starts as a lead to The Digital Neighborhood Group’s new AI and Copilot Innovation unit

Mika Sarhimaa Joins Sulava’s as COO

The Digital Neighborhood, an international group that owns 13 tech companies specializing in Microsoft cloud and AI services in Northern Europe, establishes a unit focused on AI and Copilot innovation. The unit is led by Aki Antman, founder and CEO of Sulava Oy*. Sulava has been Microsoft’s Finnish Partner of the Year in modern work for four consecutive years (2020-2023).

This is a significant investment by The Digital Neighborhood to support its 2,400+ customers. The company’s dedication to utilizing artificial intelligence has forged a dynamic partnership with Microsoft and has redeemed The Digital Neighborhood’s position as a market leader in Microsoft Copilot deployments in Northern Europe with more than forty customers.

Aki Antman, now at the helm of The Digital Neighborhood’s AI Arm, brings experience, insight and momentum to the role of utilizing artificial intelligence to develop, streamline and transform the company’s customers’ businesses.

Our journey into the AI era is based on innovation and our focus on leveraging Microsoft’s cloud and AI capabilities. We have already assisted more than 40 of our industry-leading customers improve their productivity, efficiency and innovation with Copilot solutions. Some of the customers joined already in the pre-program before the public launch of Copilot on 1.11.2023, and some have started their journey in recent weeks

says Antman and continues:

“Finland is one of the world’s leading countries in utilising Copilots, and we want to ensure that Finland remains at the top of the world in the future by developing our own expertise. In addition, we are now able to offer Copilot solutions to all customers of The Digital Neighborhood and are investing even more in the development of our expertise. We are already working around Copilot with more than 30 customers in Finland, and this past week we have agreed on several Copilot projects with top customers in their respective fields in the UAE.”

Finnish customers at the forefront of the utilisation of artificial intelligence

The City of Helsinki will start implementing Copilot together with Sulava. Riitta Laanala, ICT coordinator at the Helsinki City Executive Office, emphasises that it is important to understand what artificial intelligence can be used for and what makes sense to do with it.

“The introduction and use of AI is an extensive learning process. We are currently identifying the best use cases, doing practical learning of Copilot in IT management, planning the next steps for the change process and, for example, evaluating what needs to be modified in data classification to ensure data protection”, says Laanala, and continues:

We want the user experience throughout the organization to be such that people know what they can do with AI in their own work and are well equipped for it. In the organization of a large city, different departments will surely find very different targets for the use of AI. In administration, for example, finding and combining information efficiently is certainly one of the key benefits.

“I would give the collaboration we have with Sulava 5 out of 5 stars. They know our operating models and challenges, so when starting with new things, they can be taken into account immediately. Solution-orientation, flexibility and agility are Sulava’s strengths. In addition, it is easy to communicate with our contact persons and with a low threshold”, Laanala comments.

In the Otava Group, Sulava has been a starting aid for the utilisation of artificial intelligence at a very early stage. CIO Maarit Laakkonen explains:

“Sparring together helps us perceive the big picture and thanks to it we know how to get started. Increasing our know-how, understanding and competence is another important thing. Sulava has been able to provide good guidance on which trainings to participate and what kinds of things to get acquainted with. For the implementation of Copilots, we have built a roadmap together, that we are now starting to execute”, comments Laakkonen and continues:

At Otava, we have already made AI solutions aimed at speeding up business processes, lead times and operating models, for example. I expect artificial intelligence to be an effective tool for us in our everyday work in many different ways, for example in improving the efficiency of processes and content production.

“We have been working together with Sulava for years, so both companies know the other’s ways of working well and Sulava also knows us as an organization. An open and trusting relationship with your partner is very important. We are a company that strongly utilizes Microsoft technology, and as Sulava is a strong partner for Microsoft, it clearly benefits us. Sulava is a partner that genuinely speeds up the implementation of things, as they have in-depth knowledge of Microsoft products”.

Mika Sarhimaa appointed Chief Operating Officer of Sulava

As Antman takes on his new role as the Head of AI alongside his position as CEO of Sulava, industry veteran Mika Sarhimaa will be responsible for Sulava’s day-to-day operations. Mika will start as Sulava’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), bringing with him extensive experience in Microsoft technologies and customer engagement. Mika has held numerous senior leadership positions at Microsoft and HP.

The Digital Neighborhood and Sulava warmly welcome Mika and look forward to benefiting from his in-depth industry knowledge and experience.

From information work to thinking work

Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO of The Digital Neighborhood, says, “Our venture into Artificial Intelligence embodies The Digital Neighborhood’s dedication to cutting-edge technology and customer-centric solutions, an our partnership with Microsoft is at the core of the technological advancements we are delivering to our customers.”

Antman emphasizes the importance of training and adopting new ways of working in the age of AI:

As a global Microsoft Training Partner, we know that both our own employees and all our customers need training in the new way of working. With generative AI and Copilots improving productivity by double-digit percentages, we are fundamentally moving from information work to thinking work.


Aki Antman

Rozzyn Boy

About The Digital Neighborhood

The Digital Neighborhood is your destination for deep cloud, Microsoft and data expertise. Together, we’re a growing community of 13 entrepreneurial tech companies with over 1,300 IT consultants, engineers and employees. All leading in our own fields, we specialize in all things Microsoft, data and the Cloud. The Digital Neighborhood is made up of True, Fullstaq, Beyond Blue, Pink Elephant, DMP, Cmotions, 2Foqus, Focus Enterprise Solutions, GAC, Delegate, Projectum, Sulava and Iquality. Based in seven countries, our HQ is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

For more information about The Digital Neighborhood

About Sulava

Sulava is a pioneer in the transformation of working life since 2010. The company is a leading cloud partner, providing innovative Microsoft cloud solutions, expert, and training services with a huge passion for modern work culture. Sulava improves the competitiveness of its customers by introducing modern technology, by skilling and improving their employee’s everyday life and by helping them focus on their own business and special expertise.

Sulava started operating in the Middle East in 2019 as our skills and expertise matched the requirements of the market very well. The Dubai office was opened in January 2020 and we are now working with a variety of customers of all sizes, including large financial institutions, retail and other industries.