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Christopher Keller, Head of Consulting in Big Data Analytics

My name is Christopher, I'm 29-years-old and I'm the Head of Consulting in Business Intelligence & Big Data at it-novum GmbH. Because data is often spread across a number of systems, many businesses lack the necessary comprehensive overview of important information. This is why in our department our focus is on harnessing data and the associated generation of added value or competitive advantages for businesses in a variety of different industries.

Our team is composed of a mix of consultants, software developers, trainees and students who look after different open source products. Our technical department manager is responsible for coordination within the team and assigning us with new tasks and projects. Together, we develop solutions for data analysis and evaluations, Big Data, reporting, data visualisation and dashboards as well as the integration of data sources.

Communicating with all project stakeholders is crucial

For me, as an IT consultant, it's crucial that I get to know the customer's commercial and technological requirements and goals long before the project actually begins. There's no such thing as a typical project in our profession. This is why we make sure we have meetings and conduct workshops with all project stakeholders before a project actually gets off the ground. As soon as I understand the customer's needs, I start developing a strategy to fulfil them. During the implementation, I work closely with the company's IT personnel, which sometimes includes being on site. By doing this I can ensure that the customer gets familiar with and understands the product we're delivering. If required, I also conduct training workshops so that the people who'll actually be using the software acquire the necessary know-how.

An internship got my foot in the door

I got my start with it-novum GmbH in December 2010. At that time I was completing my internship semester as part of my bachelor's degree in business information systems. I then wrote my bachelor's thesis on the analysis, conceptualisation and paradigmatic implementation of a model for process costing based on the business intelligence software Jedox. Since the topic for my thesis had already been decided during my internship, I could really use my time to explore the subject in a specific and targeted way. I also had the opportunity to assist my colleagues with their various internal and external projects.

After I had completed my bachelor's, I began my master's degree. As part of my degree, I attended a number of courses that weren't offered during my bachelor's studies, but in my opinion they were important for the attendees' later professional life. At the same time, I was still working for it-novum and, as a student trainee, was helping support the BI team for around 20 hours a week. One of my tasks at the time was creating web demos.

Christopher Keller

First a consultant, then senior consultant

Compared with my bachelor's, things hadn't changed much during my master's (my thesis topic was "Service Intelligence – the Development of an Information System for IT Management Based on Pentaho and Hadoop"), except that during this time I was already working as a consultant. So I had a number of tasks I had to stay on top of. But I still had enough time to keep working on my thesis.
The transition from student to consultant to senior consultant was smooth and pleasant. I was able to ease into it all, bit by bit. The thing I like most about my job is how varied it is. Our projects are always exciting and cover a lot of different areas. This comes from the fact that the companies we work with are active in a variety of industries and sectors and have very individual structures.

Now Head of Consulting for Business Intelligence & Big Data

Now, as the Head of Consulting, I also have added personnel responsibilities. I'm responsible for coordinating our teams and for managing our customers and ensuring they have the support they need. To ensure the smooth implementation of our projects both before and during the actual project phases, I maintain intensive contacts with our customers and keep a conscientious overview of all our projects. My goal is achieving the proper technical implementation – in time and on budget.

I was really glad that after taking this career step nothing changed in how we all get along with each other – we still work just as smoothly as a team now as we ever did before. The only real difference is that now I have more organisational responsibilities and I'm in charge of the team.

What's my opinion of it-novum? Really nice colleagues, flexible time management and it's never boring.