Explore VGD’s roadmap to data greatness

Nov 15, 2021
  • IT
  • professional services
  • data

Most organizations would “love to do ‘something’ with data,” without knowing exactly what, or where to start. For financial services provider VGD, which prides itself on its no-nonsense approach, such abstract notions just won’t do. Which is why IT manager Thomas Machtelinckx decided to call in delaware to help create a concrete roadmap that reconciles business goals and strategies with down-and-dirty IT landscaping.

“Like most organizations, we’ve been looking to leverage the power of our data for quite a while,” Thomas begins. “We knew that better data insights would help us optimize processes and make better decisions. Reporting, for example, could benefit greatly from a more integrated approach. But we had no idea where or how to start.”

Sparring partners

“We reached out to multiple consultancy firms to get us on the right track, but delaware’s methodical approach is what ultimately convinced us,” he continues. “It was all very tangible from the get-go: we knew exactly what had to be done, and what we could expect. And we got a single point of contact in the form of enterprise architect Frederik-Jan Roose, who would guide us in our journey and would prove to be an immensely valuable sparring partner.”

The Enteprise Architecture Insights trajectory itself starts with an introductory session, followed by multiple workshops and numerous informal meetings. “Our first concern was to map out the needs, wants, and assumptions of all the different stakeholders: IT, business, marketing, finance, etc. Right from the get-go, Frederik-Jan wasn’t afraid to ask difficult questions and lay bare flawed assumptions or gaps in our understanding.”

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Reporting reconsidered

Going in, Thomas and his colleagues had some ideas of what needed to change, mostly in terms of reporting. “We were definitely relying too much on Excel files that only offer a snapshot of what’s going on. Often, there are different versions circulating as well. In addition, we feel an increased need to consolidate reporting across different data sources, so insights from application A can be merged with those of application B. And last but not least, we need a ‘single source of truth’: a place where we can reliably find validated data.”

To evaluate these ‘hunches,’ delaware set up a study which took place across several workshops. “We needed to take a look at the whole picture to find out where we were exactly on our journey,” Thomas adds. “So, we explored three integration styles that are relevant to VGD: users, processes, and data. This allowed us to draft a clear ‘as is’ picture and hold it against our ‘desired situation’. And yes, as we suspected, data integration turned out to be our most important gap.”

Challenging assumptions

While process and user integration were covered, data integration left a lot to be desired if VGD wanted to achieve its lofty goals. “Data quality, for example, was lacking on several levels: not just at the source, but also in terms of inconsistencies between different applications. Addressing these will help us provide our clients with the right advice at the right time, and assist them in every aspect of their entrepreneurial journey. In the future, we could even start exploring the potential of predictive analytics to optimize client acceptance procedures, or predict customer churn.”

The first step, however, is turning the roadmap into reality. Thomas: “With delaware’s help, we now have a clear vision of where we want to go, and what we need to do to get there. The workshops definitely challenged some of the assumptions me and my colleagues were having. But more importantly: I now feel like business and IT at VGD are more aligned than ever.”

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