Principal Technology Architect of Informatio n Management Consulting,Infosys
The Journey: Early days to How I got here
I got a chance to work with national informatics center during my last semester course in my masters degree. Its a large government organization and they cater to most of the IT needs, so I was able to work on a distributed database systems in oracle which was a dream come true for any IT professional in 1997.That was a very different kind of experience, at least weve only read that in books, then when I started working with LIC in projects, that is when I saw how the theory that you read in schools and colleges is practically implemented and that was a very realistic insight for me, and the advantage was that during the course of my growth I was able to make sure that I keep up phase with the latest trends and technologies which were rocketing, with my focus on one technology. My main focus was on the databases and that was my core focus from the beginning and I kept on moving from oracle to Microsoft and to many other databases, java technology started picking up, web was booming , .net came on,I started learning on my own, picking up wherever I can get formal training if not formal training, the internet is always was always there, I just started picking up those technologies and trying to implement it in certain levels of the thoughts that I had, all that I am saying is if you do not have the right level of guidance, then it would be difficult to learn, I was not so fortunate to have the right level of guidance so I was not able to pick up some technologies, then I moved to HCL technologies in the year 2002in Delhi and that is where I started my career in BI.
Decisions that mattered
One of the most important decisions that Ive made along my career path in this 14 or 15years is to never be away from technology, there are chances and scopes in Indian organizations mostly. People from this background who have done BI certifications tend to move away from the technology and try to get into a project management role, but I have the urge to pick up new technologies,wherever I can and that is one thing that will never change.
The turning points
There is one thing that, nothing has been steady. I first was in the java technology but then the advantage I got out of this is that you were not able to own java technology, people used to hire underlined database core platform on java, that is the point that I went from the data warehousing world to the BI world. The other one was around the recession period in 2008, luckily I had joined Infosys then.The good part was that, recession was a conscience that it was going to happen now and again. So you need to understand one aspect and keep learning new technologies and new areas.
Todays world is breaking more towards what social media is, what mobile connectivity and mobile data base is and big data platforms which are evolving. Keep understanding and learn about those. It may or may not stay but you at least have an understanding of what a cloud is and how a cloud operates, how people are handling such large data, know its concepts and you still have good potential. Trends to watch out for
One of the major things happening in BI world today is- the BI you knew was something that was the beginning away from what your transactions systems are. You take snap shot out of it take transactions and then you start doing collected analytics on top of it and then figure out what your strategy should be. Overall, in terms of how business is changing, consumers are no longer approaching the organizations. It is rather the organizations have to start caring for organizations now. Customer never comes back and calls your call center to ask what kind of products you have. What they basically do is, they go and talk to facebook and if its 5 bucks you want to buy a product from food bazaar today and if I’m very satisfied with the kind of service I got and the product I bought then I’ll probably go and tell my friends on facebook, probably tell them through mobile, through mobile communications. All these messages are going outside. So the organizations are becoming more and more aware now. They have to start working into the relationship which is building up. Social media has drastically changed the way we used to do business and the way BI is. Here you work for a team more from a transaction system for people who really would primarily want to do management level reporting, no, certainly not. Today it has gone down to lowest possible level of organization, they are customer care representatives, business representatives and the BPO folks who are dealing with the customers, today they need answers they need to know. One good point is that it is going back to the basics again. Basics always said that if somebody would have read data base in their own time they would have probably known that there is first normal form,second normal form and a third normal form as well, so you try and eliminate a data redundancy that means you go back to the basics again. That’s what even MBM talks about today, minimize your confusion in the organization, have a consistency across the department, build the mobile data of faster data model and that is one thing to make sure that the organizational efficiency is there internally. Externally it tells you what your customers are doing and you can always call back your customer with mail rather than an ID or something else. BIs challenge was always that BI is always a disconnected part. BI is always an approached transaction;there is a distinction between those two. Now real time BI memory database which is coming up in new resolution is the solution so far. These are coming up because of the need in the market in terms of reducing the latency between when the data base entered and when the transactions actually happened, and then you can take decisions on that transaction.
What I learnt along the way
Firstly, always be eager and anxious enough to learn new things happening in the industry and the market, both in the business and technology point of view. Secondly focus on the technology you need to know how times are changing. Always be on a constant look out for people who keep track of changing technology. Luckily I got to interact with the different customers and understand their challenges. With the knowledge of technology you have, you need to understand what the customers need. IT can only provide you the tools to do it.
My advice if you are starting out
First and foremost read the Ralph Kimball book entirely. Know what are involved in the BI, what the challenges in BI are and what landscapes are we talking about; understanding how the practical management works and how the BI solutions can be. This is what I basically do, if you are new, take a reference book. Ralph Kimball, father of BI talks about one such aspect that is the freedom of approach. Must have skills in BI.. As I see them
How do I make sure that my different generating/ computing data devices which Im using today(mobile devices, laptops, hardware, software) will generate information? Through analytics- Im talking about core statistical analytics you do on a data,trying to understand the patterns which are not visible in the data. Any BI reporting can obviously give you analytical statistics which you already know.In terms of analytics and algorithms, you try to find out the hidden pattern as in credit card fraud where different algorithms are there. Again today, people are growing up very fast. This is where the world will eventually go.
Do we need certifications
One has to be very choosy about what kind of certifications he wants to do. Certifications do help. I mean they helped me in my professional life. Why do you need certification? Even we could have read the books, noted the questions down,gone and given them to get certified. Its not about the question and answer,it is about you understanding the basics. It does help in credibility because most of the customers expect that. Customers consider certifications and go through the profile. So yes, it does help.
For enterprise aspect in the BI point of view, popular certifications like CDMP and CDIBP (certified data management professional and certified data intelligence business professional) add a lot of value to career.