Welcome to Mediaan’s second edition of “The life of…” series! Last time, we had a sneak-peek into Ricardo’s life as a Senior Software Engineer at Mediaan. In today’s interview, we will introduce you to Bart Duijsengs, our Business Intelligence Team Lead. During this interview, we will chat with Bart about his career journey, his role as a BI Team Lead, his tips for those who want to pursue a career in BI, and many more. Curious? Let’s dive into the interview!
1. Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Bart Duijsengs, 36 years old, and I live together with my wife and two sons in Berg & Terblijt. I’ve been working at Mediaan for half a year now as a Business Intelligence Team Lead. Actually, this is my second time working at Mediaan.
2. What led you to come back to Mediaan?
Well, Mediaan was my first employer after I finished my Information Management study a long time ago. After 7 years of working as a Consultant and having learned a lot by working on various projects, I decided to leave Mediaan for a new career adventure as an in-house BI specialist to get to know the world outside of the consultancy world.
However, for me, my first job at Mediaan and consultancy in general still felt like a first love. I tended to compare it with everything that came after, and I knew that I wanted to return at some point. Surprisingly after more than 5 years, I ran into Elmer, our Managing Director, and he said that Mediaan was looking for a BI Team Lead. With the challenges ahead, I knew for sure this was the right time to return.
3. What made you decide to become a BI consultant?
Information Management used to be a very broad study. It covered not only BI but also other fields like Business Economics, E-commerce, Databases, Data Modeling, Change Management, Service Management, etc. With such a broad study background, I felt that I lacked the necessary IT-related hard skills to succeed in business and IT.
Hence, I started working in an IT company to develop not only soft skills but also the necessary hard skills. As a junior consultant at Mediaan, I was lucky to work with colleagues who had a lot of experience from which I could learn a lot. Throughout the years of working at Mediaan, I was involved in many types of projects related to data. I had come to enjoy analyzing data, solving puzzles, and making things visible and understandable for our customers.
4. What do you like the most about your job?
As a BI Consultant, it is really about diving into data, understanding how things work & correlating them with each other, and translating the data into something that adds value to the customers. It gives me such tremendous satisfaction when I can turn something complicated into something that can be easily understood and used by customers.
I especially enjoy working at Mediaan because I get the chance to work with customers from different sizes and sectors. That way, I continuously learn new technologies and techniques. A new challenge every time; you keep on learning new things.
5. Can you tell me a bit more about your role as a BI Team Lead at Mediaan?
Besides working as a BI Consultant, I also have a supporting role as a Team Lead. My responsibilities include assisting colleagues and interns, resourcing new customer projects, drawing up plans for the BI department, and setting up goals for my team’s personal/knowledge development. We are a team of 6 experienced consultants with big ambitions regarding our service offerings and corresponding growth.
6. How does it look like working on a project for a customer?
The type of work I am doing varies for each customer, from data analysis to setting up Power BI dashboards with specific features and setting up data pipelines and data warehouses from scratch. Customers often reach out to Mediaan because they need someone with the right expertise to help them solve their problems. Depending on the project’s complexity, it can last from 2 months up to 1 or more years. In my current project, I’m participating in a team of 10 people using the Scrum methodology. Even in these Corona times, this proves to be the most efficient way to work as a team for delivering software/data solutions.
7. What are the soft skills and hard skills you need to become a good BI Consultant?
I think the most important thing is the ability to listen well to your customers, so you understand their needs and be patient, as it can sometimes take a while to get to the surface of what a customer really needs/wants.
Another important thing is the ability to structure data. You can make a complete spider web out of data and create some fancy visualizations using complicated queries in a random BI tool. Still, for me, the added value of a good BI consultant is to make future-proof data solutions that can be built upon when the next data related challenge comes up.
8. How has the BI Consultant role changed in recent years?
In the past, reporting was one of the only reasons for extracting data from (relational) source systems. Nowadays, there’s a lot more data available, both structured and unstructured. There are also many more appliances for the same source data, like monitoring & alerting and data science. Furthermore, there is a growing demand for (near) real-time data in both reporting/ dashboarding and for self-service purposes. All of this has only changed the way of working with the stakeholders and how to deal with tooling and (cloud) infrastructure. In the right and good way!
9. What is the most common misconception people have about a BI Consultant?
My personal opinion is that, in general, people don’t realize what’s going on behind that simple-looking dashboard or report that they work with on a day to day basis. With self-service BI tools, even business users themselves can create visually attractive dashboards fast. However, there is a lot more to it. Think about performance, maintainability, reusability, privacy, security, etc.
10. How can a company attract a good BI consultant?
From my perspective, it is crucial that a company offers challenging environments to work in, not just for BI consultants, but in general. To me, there is not much fun in solving that exact same puzzle over and over again, but working with different people in different markets with a variety of requirements and data solutions is!
11. What advice do you have for junior/future BI Consultants?
In general, my advice to any junior BI consultant would be to search for an environment where you can learn from your colleagues that have already implemented multiple data solutions. However, keep in mind that you can learn from anyone, also from people who haven’t got a single clue about BI. Just keep being open to suggestions and find and adapt your own style on the way! And don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just make sure you learn from them!
Are you a BI Consultant/ BI Specialist looking for a new challenge and does Bart’s story inspire you? Perfect! Make sure to apply for our BI Specialist job vacancy. We hope to welcome you as a new member of our Mediaan family!