In partners we trust.

Recently, Visma was awarded TimeXtender Partner of the Year 2020. Considering their expertise in the fields of BI & Data Management, we decided to interview them to learn more about their thoughts about some of the exciting things taking place in these industries, the role that TimeXtender plays in their business and much more.

For this interview we had the pleasure to talk to (from left to right):

  • Mikko Kontsas, Business Unit Director at Visma Consulting in Finland.
  • Mona Eng, Head of Digital Growth at Visma bWise in Norway. 
  • Hanna Stjernkvist, Digital Marketing Manager at Visma bWise in Sweden

Screenshot 2021-03-02 at 12.33.18

A brief history about Visma. 

 

Visma is a fairly large organization with 12,000 employees and competencies in multiple areas.

While maintaining fast organic growth Visma also often acquires companies to speed up growth in different business areas.

As a result of a decisive acquisition strategy on BI Visma is now the leading vendor of BI and advanced analytics in the Nordic region with hundreds of consultants within Business Intelligence, Data Management and Budgeting & Forecasting. Visma delivers solutions to help customers with data-driven decision making.

All types of customers are supported within both private and public sector enabling better decision making based on accurate and actionable data.


 

The interview.

 

TimeXtender (TX): How far do you think businesses and organizations are in terms of building their data management strategies? 

Mikko Konstsas (MK): "Data and analytics as a means to help steer businesses has been steadily gaining importance. Many companies have implemented different BI solutions, but this is an area where there is always room for improvement. The amount and diversity of data created in different companies keeps growing so new development is required constantly. TimeXtender is a great tool to help make data warehouse development faster and enable companies to keep up with the ever-increasing amounts of data."

Mona Eng & Hanna Stjernkvist (M&H): "Large enterprise organizations have been focusing on data management for several years now and are looking to improve or re-architect to a more modern data platform. The interesting development we have seen in recent years is that mid-market organizations, due to a rapid digital transformation, are now looking to improve their analytical skill set in order to stay competitive in the market. These companies can achieve a super modern infrastructure with Automated Data Warehouses in the cloud."

TX: What type of challenges you find in tying data management to business strategy?

MK: "Nobody likes to make decisions on leaving something out or closing a certain door for the future. This sometimes leads to data warehouse projects where the scope is "everything". These kinds of projects are hard to manage and result in delays on reaping the benefits. It is important to understand that leaving something out today and focusing on a certain scope of data in the first project increment does not mean leaving that data out forever. Data warehouse projects are best managed in increments and new areas of data can be added in later project increments." 

M&H: "We believe that the biggest challenge tying data management to business strategy is the approach you take regarding data's impact on the strategy. Often companies start with the business problem without thinking of the data infrastructure. They should use resources that know the business and be iterative in development, use modern tools that support the automation and the consistency in data. Please have big dreams but start small."

TX: What type of skill set you think are required on this industry?

MK: "Business intelligence is a difficult area requiring understanding of both business and technology. Towards the reporting and data mart end of BI architecture the skills on understanding what are the business requirements and uses of the data get more important. Then again towards the source systems and large data volumes understanding of technology and data becomes more important." 

M&H: "We are focusing our competence in understanding the business problem, and data management is fundamental in how the flow of data could solve that. We need to understand and be responsive to what the customer wants to achieve with their data to be able to help them to be data driven and build the best solution. The magic happens when the business, technical people and external partners understand each other and work as one unit."

TX:Where do you think TimeXtender helps your customers the most?

MK: "TimeXtender helps with the initial project, but my personal view is that the more important benefits are in the later life stages of a data warehouse. TimeXtender makes sure that the documentation is always up to date and it is always easy to verify the source of each piece of data. These are things that are often very difficult a year or two after the initial project without TimeXtender."

M&H: "TimeXtender is a cost-effective solution that can be implemented quite fast when you start or redesign your data warehouse project, especially due to all the savings in time and development cost. My personal view is that TimeXtender is helping customers the most when it comes to using data to drive innovation and business value, as it makes it easy and fast to get data ready to consume.

It is also much easier to involve business in the process, as they understand what you are doing, this is not code, and results are immediately available." 

TX: What type of projects and technologies are you more excited about to see unfold?

MK: "Personally, I like to see projects through to business benefits to customers. When there is a management need to be able to monitor business in a new way and we can help provide that information in a timely manner I feel most satisfied." 

M&H: "We would like to see more products and technologies that support customers be more data driven. We are really looking forward to even more advanced analytics solutions, that lead to self-sufficiency for customers. We also expect that additional functionality like optimization, prediction and support through AI and machine learning will be incorporated in the platform going forward."

TX: What type of projects do you feel TimeXtender will be used more often in the future?

MK: "A lot of companies have existing data warehouses, so I would expect to see TimeXtender being used to extend those data warehouses with new data and gradually take over as the development tool of choice. Naturally the transition to Azure has also been on-going for some years and will continue, so those projects will be common." 

M&H: "I think we are in a sweet spot for when and how TimeXtender can be valuable for the customer. In Visma bWise we have more that 250 customers within the BI and analytics field, many of them struggling with data management and building a modern data platform. Adding more and more data to business users, we see TimeXtender as a vital part of mid markets and larger organization’s BI and analytics strategy. Probably more ML/AI functions will also be integrated in the next couple of years."


 

We want to thank our partners at Visma for contributing to our blog with their insights and their expertise. To learn more about Visma visit:

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