Written by: Danielle Mullings (Mentee) and Raquel Seville (Mentor)
After gaining an understanding of what Business Intelligence is, I sought to understand what it is like as a career for budding I.T. enthusiasts. The following is an interview with my mentor, Raquel Seville.
How did you get involved in B.I.?
- I basically fell into it. After finishing my computer science degree and pursing my masters, I was offered a two month internship at Cable and Wireless. At the time, they were working on a project to build an app for the cricket world cup and needed a data analyst on the team. I’ve been in B.I ever since.
What does your company B.I. Brainz do?
- I. Brainz is a B.I. intelligence company focused on actionable insights and making your data speak. It is international as it started in the US and now has offices in Europe, South Africa and in last November, opened in the Caribbean.
Describe your job.
- We are currently in start-up mode for the Caribbean office. We’re really small and starting to scale so I have a LOT of work to do. This means that I get to do everything so I do a bit of sales & marketing as well as the hands on projects.
- It’s interesting though as you get to directly see the impact you’re making. You can’t hide behind the typical 9 – 5 job. Starting small means that you have to show more accountability and responsibility. My job is also very fun because I get to travel frequently, meet new people and share my experiences working with data in the Caribbean. Surprisingly, they are dealing with the same challenges to see across the world.
What does it take to do BI?
- I think anyone can learn to do B.I. because data science is a field that can be assimilated into regardless of which subject you studied. I feel you can make the transition over to learning BI once you have understood the core concepts. Once you are able to learn the programming languages and how to run queries, you’re good.
- However, I think it is suited for someone who is naturally curious and eager to understand why things are the way they are or why they’re not. There are a lot of free courses online where you can learn about BI. You could actually spend a month or two learning and bring yourself up to scratch.
How has your qualification helped in your job/ work experience?
- I believe my master’s degree helped me a lot more than the undergraduate. The undergraduate degree helped me understand how to troubleshoot and deconstruct problems whereas I got exposed to data warehousing in my post graduate. The master’s really helped me to get better insight into the business world.
- Continuously reading also helped. Education doesn’t end at high-school or college!
How do you adapt a BI solution to keep current with fluid business requirements?
- In doing BI, you have to approach everything from a very agile and iterative perspective. It is definitely not just a build it once and then you’re done type of job. Although, it doesn’t matter which business you work in, there will always be fluidity.
- For BI, you have to operate from a stance of continuous improvement and figure out new and better ways to do things. This can be done by networking and going to other conferences to expand solutions therefore you should ensure you have a community.
- Another way to combat this is to keep in constant conversation with business users by having regular meetings. Your stakeholders have to be engaged them. I suggest creating reports and dashboards as a means of stimulating discussion regularly. Lastly, maintain a two way communication with internal and external users so that you can get an understanding of their challenges.
I see you wrote a book. Can you give some background information on it?
- My book is a hands on guide to building mobile BI & analytics apps using SAP Open UI 5 which is free open source. It explores how to use the framework to build apps and then goes a bit deeper to assess how this can be integrated with B.I.