In recent years, data has become an increasingly valuable and, at the same time, very sensitive resource in the digital world. Not only externally but also internally, the topics of data and business intelligence have become increasingly important and will remain highly relevant in the future. Within the team, competencies have been built up over a long period, and informal working groups have been established and developed deep expertise. With the establishment of the cross-functional Data & Business Intelligence department, experts from the respective areas of knowledge have been brought together and given them an official mandate.
In this interview, our Team Lead Data Roman W. (RW) and our Director of Engineering Jan H. (JH) provide insights into the potential created by the establishment of the new Data & BI Department, how customers and partners benefit from the bundled competencies, and which projects were the focus in 2022.
Data has become an incredibly important resource in recent years. Would you agree with the statement “data is the new gold”?
RW: Gold has a long history as a capital investment and has always been able to maintain its importance, so it is often confronted with new themes: Real estate as concrete gold, bitcoin as digital gold, and raw data as the new gold.
JH: That’s true, but I would still rather say “data is the new oil”: sources must be discovered and tapped before data can be “mined.” Besides sizable, established sources like Facebook, Google or TikTok, we are delighted to be able to import data from emerging platforms like Xing, IAS, or Amazon DSP. We harmonize raw data from various sources and provide tangible insights to our users. Safe, responsible, and sensitive handling is a top priority with oil, as well as it is with data.
The Data & BI Department has been rebuilt since last fall. When you look back on your day-to-day work, what fascinates you most about your job?
RW: First and foremost, of course, our fantastic team. The drive of our colleagues and the freedom to shape processes motivate us to rethink established strategies and seek constant improvement. But we are also spurred on by the fast pace and dynamism of our industry. Our department is very diverse and was designed for “New Work” right from the start. We come from different nations, and our team is spread across Europe. Although we have never been in the same room at the same time, we still work together efficiently and in a good atmosphere. But of course we all enjoy meeting our colleagues at our home base in Hamburg.
JH: Furthermore, our cross-functionality and thus the cooperation with many different colleagues from various departments spurs us on. Our ambition is to be a one-stop shop for everything that can be done with and from data. Since esome is also a tech company, agile working methods and cross-functional teams are in our DNA, and we were able to draw on extensive first-hand knowledge when setting up the Data & BI Department.
What were your biggest challenges in building the department?
RW: The biggest challenge was to rethink familiar processes and create new meeting structures and work paths for them. Of course, this also entailed a high level of coordination. But the team was consistently motivated to tackle new topics so that this transformation process was exciting rather than stressful.
JH: At esome, we live “New Work,” which implies low hierarchies and less disciplinary structures. However, building a new department presents challenges due to not being guided by a hierarchical framework. In the end, however, we have grown with each one. In particular, the internal support and positive feedback from our colleagues have strengthened us on our way.
What topics are you driving forward with the Data & BI Department?
RW: We are responsible for developing, expanding, and maintaining our data warehouse, which brings together data from various sources and makes it available. We also handle CRM processes via Salesforce and support management decisions with specific BI projects, such as setting up dashboards. In addition, we conduct data science intending to generate profitable insights from the data and provide reports, dashboards, and APIs for external partners. The two areas of Data & BI are firmly intertwined. We constantly check whether existing data sources can be used for analysis or if a potential analysis can be a reason to connect new sources. So it can also be said, “Data is the ingredient, and BI is the cake we bake from it.”
JH: Our focus is on making all data useful where it is needed. We have that firmly embedded in our department’s vision. We make data available to internal and external users, meeting the same high quality and transparency standards. At esome, transparency is at the center of everything we do. Customers should always be able to track how their campaigns are performing.
How do partners and customers benefit from the new department?
JH: We harmonize data from over two dozen sources and make it available directly to our partners and customers through reports, dashboards, interfaces, or direct access. Thanks to our extensive historical data, some of which goes back almost a decade, we can guarantee the best prices and an optimal media outcome of campaigns. Our benchmarks can also be used to provide advice. Based on our extensive data pool, we can support with reliable forecasts on the performance of various campaigns and recommendations on the relevant KPIs according to the individual campaign goal – so our customers can benefit directly from our experience. In addition, a broad infrastructure enables a fast and uncomplicated onboarding of new customers. Data can be quickly integrated into our systems, and customers can access the processed data in various ways.
What projects in particular have kept you busy in 2022?
RW: To name a few of our current and completed projects: For example, we have developed a pricing tool that enables automated pricing of our products according to relevant metrics. We also provide colleagues with a benchmark overview across all platforms and industries, broken down according to a comprehensive set of parameters. In addition, our budget allocation tool is also worth mentioning: This enables automated budget allocation between individual campaigns based on relevant optimization KPIs and thus serves as AI-driven decision support for daily controlling.
JH: Another major project that has seen another big step forward, especially this year, is our Client Collaboration Center. This is aimed at efficient communication and collaboration between clients, agencies, and esome. By providing dashboards, we enable stakeholders to get an overview of their campaigns at any time. Everything is accessible at a glance and protected by our login area.
Looking ahead, where are you headed in the coming year?
RW: It may sound counterintuitive, but our goal is for the department to act less as a pure data provider in the future and instead enable everyone at esome to query the data they want quickly and easily on their own. To do this, we need to create the appropriate structures and automation that make it easy and intuitive to work with data. For this purpose, we provide data and support with its handling and the design of the right data mindset.