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Business Intelligence


After working for Sogeti as a contractor for 34 years, Vodafone asked me in 2014 to join as a manager Business Intelligence Competence Centre Strategy & Architecture (BICC S&A).
I had no experience in Telecom but was eager to become an ‘internal manager’.
Vodafone liked my out of the box thinking and soon granted me permission to implement my strange ideas.
For the first time I didn’t have to find a manager that would understand my ideas and was willing to implement a change.
Now I was the person that decided how and when.

In two years I changed Vodafone BICC into an agile (big) data driven organisation, application and infrastructure.
Now, how did I do that?

  • Find money to start a change.
    Diving into infrastructure I found out that changing to Linux and ‘in memory’ we could save a lot of Operational expense (Opex).

  • Find out what to change.
    BI projects were always delayed and not delivering enough data quality and data freshness. Offshore model was not performing. I decided to change:  projects to initiatives, waterfall to agile / fail fast, offshore to onshore, ETL to ELT and introduce Data Warehouse automation and Data Vault.

  • Let the team decide.
    I ordered my team to find a Data warehouse automation tool.
    They found WhereScape.

  • Find an opportunity.
    An opportunity is always disguised as a problem.
    Upper management needed new figures and our BI system could not provide this in time.
    We build our first WhereScape application in two weeks.

  • Spend your money wisely.
    We bought WhereScape and are using it in all new inititiatives.

  • Enjoy your success but be aware.
    New initiatives are successful, Business is cooperating with BICC and we reduced a lot of Opex.
    Keep looking for opportunities to improve.

Of course it isn't that straight forward as simply following this list.
It takes a lot of discussions and political influence to change a company and you have to manage your team of experts without blaming them for past decisions.

A remark about Internet of Things (IOT).
Most companies still think it's just more (big) data and that's partly true. If you gather data from 'strange' devices you can use it in your Data lake or Data Warehouse. But IOT is so much more. It gets interesting when 'thinks' are communicating to each other.
Example: I'm a sea container and I feel a lot of pressure because a crane has parked five more containers on top of me.
My structure is weakened by the last collision and I can’t take that weight. I could ask a central computer to tell the crane. But I can also tell the crane directly.

For BI and BA there are lots of new opportunities in this model, but no longer as a centralised place that "knows it all".
BI will become just one of the players that communicates to the rest of the world using services.
Some things will communicate to your BI, because they are instructed to do so. BI can ask other things to share their information.
BA could turn this gathered data into new insides and act on it.
Example: Your cranes are sending data to your BI, ask (external vendor) containers how they feel, optimise the process of parking containers. Send new instructions to your cranes.