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Soumendra Mohanty
Soumendra Mohanty

Soumendra Mohanty

Partner

Accenture

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Soumendra Mohanty is a member of:

- Expert
The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
I
was a campus IT recruit for TCS in 96. I was working in a system called
Tandem. The first 6-7 months I spent in Mumbai. Then I went to the U.S
where I was working in Tandem, learnt and started working in Java after
which I delved into BI and data warehousing which was still in the early
stages. I worked for many clients in the U.S. comprising of retail
joints and telcoms. Then I came back. This first phase of my career
spanned 41/2 years.

On my return I got an offer from Infosys and
worked there till 2003. I delved into setting up a practice in data
warehouse. Now this requires a different kind of skill set. It is not
about just me learning new technology.

It is also about getting
in front of the client and selling that you have the right capabilities.
At Infosys I had the privilege of working with S. D.Shibulal. Shibu
taught me its not just about you; it is you plus 500 other people. It is
about hiring the right team, giving them the right
prophecies,developing the right capabilities, training and people
management.

I picked up a lot along the way. I met with
different challenges thoughts, had a foray into management and art of
selling, art of delivering complex projects.That exposure for the next
21/2 years was phenomenal. I learned how to deal with clients and how to
deal with deliveries.

I
want to point out that you have to set the right expectation with your
stakeholders and keep them updated even if there are failures and
challenges. People will be supportive. Nobody wants to be surprised.
That’s the other skill I picked up.


Then I joined Accenture in 2003.In
India, it was not established as a delivery center at the time.
Globally they were the No.2 consulting firm. Accenture called me up
saying they wanted to set up their BI practice and they considered it to
be a business priority but they had no base in India.


We
not only established India with the capability for a BI venture, we
also made it a figure on the map of Accentures global business. From
there I gradually moved on and now I am the Global Head of Account
Management and the journey has been great so far.


Risks Taken

I
took a few risks. A few crucial decisions were going away from
mainframe Cobol centric technology to Java which I had to learn on my
own as at that time there wasnt a lot of coaching. So one had to network
or bother experienced guys.


Java to data warehousing was again a huge leap as far as skills was concerned. BI was the newest kid on the block.


The next risk followed soon. At
Infosys I had set a practice up. We had a few clients and were running a
good practice. I was working directly with Shibulal- what else would
you need? From there I was coming into Accenture; a new unit being set
up with no clients, no team members and they wanted to set up the BI
practice from the ground up. I was not only responsible for selling and
delivering a complex account, but also for developing the practice.

What I learnt along the way

I
was comfortable early on in Cobol mainframe. There was no need for me
to venture into uncomfortable areas. I had successfully delivered
projects. I could have stuck to coding and building apps. It was only
the willingness to learn new technology that pushed me.


To
be a good architect, as opposed to just a coding mentality, you need an
overall development mentality. You have to keep learning.

Two Years Down the Line
Maybe
there is some other risk taking opportunity out there! I am doing that
at Accenture actually. When I started off at Accenture, we were
completely focused on data warehousing and report generation. That has
become a commodity work now. Over the years I have moved on to data
analytics. Again since it is new in the market, I wanted to set up a
market for that. What would be the required capabilities? That has kept
me quite busy for three years. And last year, it was all about Big Data!
I am currently very busy setting up our big data capability. So I think
even within Accenture I have taken two to three new risks.
Must Focus Areas in BI Domain
Importantly
emerging technology now will not apply in the next ten years. When I
was growing up, a single technology like Java was dominating but what is
happening now is that everything is interconnected. You cannot remain a
uni-dimensional expert in one area.

My advice  to any budding
BI professional is that you need to be multiskilled. You need to have
depth in one domain. But you must have knowledge of  information
management and data architecture. You need to learn the applications of
these for Big Data, analytics and reporting in BI.
Trends to Watch Out For

1.
Increasing need for verticalization: In the future, a person belonging
to the BI domain wont say " I am a BI professional". He will say "I am a
BI professional specializing in insurance." There will be a short
supply of people who understand the data in a business context. There
will be need to develop each specialization for a domain besides dealing
with the technology.


2.
Data scientist: Today data management and statistics are treated as two
different subjects altogether. As we go forward with huge volumes and
varieties of data, it will be impossible to analyze all this data. Hence
for the basic skill to be a data scientist, an individual should have
the ability to look at data and run some statistical analysis on it, run
algorithms and make it look meaningful. It’s not just about reporting,
you need to be able to make sense of information.


3.
Data visualization: At present reports are still one dimensional and
two dimensional but in the future we will need to be able to visualize
data in an intuitive way. Nobody has the time to deal with data although
it has become more complex.
Do We Need Certifications?
Not
really. I think its good to have them so you can put it in your CV, but
in your work, it’s the hands on experience that will help.

Books/Websites I recommend

Read
all my books! The motivation to write was that I didn’t find reading
material which was particularly helpful for BI developers. I wrote Data Warehousing way
back in 2005. Earlier books only provided approaches and theoretical
aspects which a developer could not follow and that’s where I struggled.
I realized if I have to teach 300 people, having a practical guide
would be simpler.


When I find time, I try to go through the websites information-management.com and businessintelligence.com

Last but not the least
My
concluding remark will be people need to be willing to learn new
technology, take new risks and willing to face failure. What drives us
to go forward should not be appraisal, fear for our  future or concern
for a salary.

My opinion is that a company can appraise you, but
as an individual you need to see what is the intellectual growth you
will be having in your role. If you are contributing to your progress
every day, it will only translate to good things. Everybody has a bad
day or a bad year. Don’t prepare yourself for appraisal but intellectual
growth and the appraisals will follow.
Trends to Watch Out For

1.
Increasing need for verticalization: In the future, a person belonging
to the BI domain wont say " I am a BI professional". He will say "I am a
BI professional specializing in insurance." There will be a short
supply of people who understand the data in a business context. There
will be need to develop each specialization for a domain besides dealing
with the technology.


2.
Data scientist: Today data management and statistics are treated as two
different subjects altogether. As we go forward with huge volumes and
varieties of data, it will be impossible to analyze all this data. Hence
for the basic skill to be a data scientist, an individual should have
the ability to look at data and run some statistical analysis on it, run
algorithms and make it look meaningful. It’s not just about reporting,
you need to be able to make sense of information.


3.
Data visualization: At present reports are still one dimensional and
two dimensional but in the future we will need to be able to visualize
data in an intuitive way. Nobody has the time to deal with data although
it has become more complex.
The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
I
was a campus IT recruit for TCS in 96. I was working in a system called
Tandem. The first 6-7 months I spent in Mumbai. Then I went to the U.S
where I was working in Tandem, learnt and started working in Java after
which I delved into BI and data warehousing which was still in the early
stages. I worked for many clients in the U.S. comprising of retail
joints and telcoms. Then I came back. This first phase of my career
spanned 41/2 years.

On my return I got an offer from Infosys and
worked there till 2003. I delved into setting up a practice in data
warehouse. Now this requires a different kind of skill set. It is not
about just me learning new technology.

It is also about getting
in front of the client and selling that you have the right capabilities.
At Infosys I had the privilege of working with S. D.Shibulal. Shibu
taught me its not just about you; it is you plus 500 other people. It is
about hiring the right team, giving them the right
prophecies,developing the right capabilities, training and people
management.

I picked up a lot along the way. I met with
different challenges thoughts, had a foray into management and art of
selling, art of delivering complex projects.That exposure for the next
21/2 years was phenomenal. I learned how to deal with clients and how to
deal with deliveries.

I
want to point out that you have to set the right expectation with your
stakeholders and keep them updated even if there are failures and
challenges. People will be supportive. Nobody wants to be surprised.
That’s the other skill I picked up.


Then I joined Accenture in 2003.In
India, it was not established as a delivery center at the time.
Globally they were the No.2 consulting firm. Accenture called me up
saying they wanted to set up their BI practice and they considered it to
be a business priority but they had no base in India.


We
not only established India with the capability for a BI venture, we
also made it a figure on the map of Accentures global business. From
there I gradually moved on and now I am the Global Head of Account
Management and the journey has been great so far.


Risks Taken

I
took a few risks. A few crucial decisions were going away from
mainframe Cobol centric technology to Java which I had to learn on my
own as at that time there wasnt a lot of coaching. So one had to network
or bother experienced guys.


Java to data warehousing was again a huge leap as far as skills was concerned. BI was the newest kid on the block.


The next risk followed soon. At
Infosys I had set a practice up. We had a few clients and were running a
good practice. I was working directly with Shibulal- what else would
you need? From there I was coming into Accenture; a new unit being set
up with no clients, no team members and they wanted to set up the BI
practice from the ground up. I was not only responsible for selling and
delivering a complex account, but also for developing the practice.

What I learnt along the way

I
was comfortable early on in Cobol mainframe. There was no need for me
to venture into uncomfortable areas. I had successfully delivered
projects. I could have stuck to coding and building apps. It was only
the willingness to learn new technology that pushed me.


To
be a good architect, as opposed to just a coding mentality, you need an
overall development mentality. You have to keep learning.

Two Years Down the Line
Maybe
there is some other risk taking opportunity out there! I am doing that
at Accenture actually. When I started off at Accenture, we were
completely focused on data warehousing and report generation. That has
become a commodity work now. Over the years I have moved on to data
analytics. Again since it is new in the market, I wanted to set up a
market for that. What would be the required capabilities? That has kept
me quite busy for three years. And last year, it was all about Big Data!
I am currently very busy setting up our big data capability. So I think
even within Accenture I have taken two to three new risks.
Must Focus Areas in BI Domain
Big
Data and Predictive Analytics go side by side.No one is quite sure how
to deal with Big Data, as it requires a consulting type of skill. It
requires a lot of IT strategy and architectural skills. Predictive
analytics can give any company better and deeper insight.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
Importantly
emerging technology now will not apply in the next ten years. When I
was growing up, a single technology like Java was dominating but what is
happening now is that everything is interconnected. You cannot remain a
uni-dimensional expert in one area.

My advice  to any budding
BI professional is that you need to be multiskilled. You need to have
depth in one domain. But you must have knowledge of  information
management and data architecture. You need to learn the applications of
these for Big Data, analytics and reporting in BI.
Trends to Watch Out For

1.
Increasing need for verticalization: In the future, a person belonging
to the BI domain wont say " I am a BI professional". He will say "I am a
BI professional specializing in insurance." There will be a short
supply of people who understand the data in a business context. There
will be need to develop each specialization for a domain besides dealing
with the technology.


2.
Data scientist: Today data management and statistics are treated as two
different subjects altogether. As we go forward with huge volumes and
varieties of data, it will be impossible to analyze all this data. Hence
for the basic skill to be a data scientist, an individual should have
the ability to look at data and run some statistical analysis on it, run
algorithms and make it look meaningful. It’s not just about reporting,
you need to be able to make sense of information.


3.
Data visualization: At present reports are still one dimensional and
two dimensional but in the future we will need to be able to visualize
data in an intuitive way. Nobody has the time to deal with data although
it has become more complex.
Do We Need Certifications?
Not
really. I think its good to have them so you can put it in your CV, but
in your work, it’s the hands on experience that will help.
Books/Websites I recommend

Read
all my books! The motivation to write was that I didn’t find reading
material which was particularly helpful for BI developers. I wrote Data Warehousing way
back in 2005. Earlier books only provided approaches and theoretical
aspects which a developer could not follow and that’s where I struggled.
I realized if I have to teach 300 people, having a practical guide
would be simpler.


When I find time, I try to go through the websites information-management.com and businessintelligence.com

Last but not the least
My
concluding remark will be people need to be willing to learn new
technology, take new risks and willing to face failure. What drives us
to go forward should not be appraisal, fear for our  future or concern
for a salary.

My opinion is that a company can appraise you, but
as an individual you need to see what is the intellectual growth you
will be having in your role. If you are contributing to your progress
every day, it will only translate to good things. Everybody has a bad
day or a bad year. Don’t prepare yourself for appraisal but intellectual
growth and the appraisals will follow.
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