Analyst Led Development Part 2: An Interview with TruQua’s Head of Financial Analytics
Analyst Led Development Part 2:
An Interview with TruQua’s Head of Financial Analytics
Head of Financial Analytics, TruQua, an IBM Company
JS Irick Associate Partner, TruQua, an IBM Company Co-Director, TruLabs (TruQua’s Internal Innovation Group)
Part 1 of our video series on Analyst Led Development covered how improvements in self-service analytics and real-time data access allow analysts to take a leading role in the design and development of reporting and analytic tools, including the impact of this paradigm shift, its benefits, and how organizations can enable this transformation.
Below you will find Part 2 of our Analyst Led Development series on self-service and real-time data analytics, where JS Irick interviews TruQua’s Head of Financial Analytics, Chris Pauxtis, for his thoughts on how to best take advantage of cloud providers analytic offerings.
JS Irick (00:01):
To continue the conversation, we are joined by one of my TruQua and IBM company colleagues, Chris Pauxtis. Chris, you want to tell the folks about yourself?
Sure. And thanks for having me, JS. I’ve been with TruQua for about six months and have the role of Head of Financial Analytics. Working with customers along their journeys with SAP, hyperscalers, and various technologies. Prior to joining TruQua, I was with SAP for 15 years and I had a variety of different roles. Joined as a development consultant, was in product management for a bunch of years, various go-to-market roles. And then lastly, as a part of the Global Center of Excellence, supporting business technology platform.
Prior to that, I was a customer implementing solutions as well as logistician building cars on the south side of Chicago, as my first job out of school.
JS Irick (01:04):
Wonderful. So actually I wanted to talk a little bit about one of those roles at SAP. So I was lucky enough to collaborate with you a bit in your role as SAP Cloud platform, now BTP, and you were the director for go-to-market. And when we worked together, I thought that your cross-functional approach was such a big part of your success in that role. So how can finance leaders achieve this kind of level of broad collaboration across their organizations?
JS, this is a really, really good question, and probably the biggest thing that I would think about is back to a management lesson early in my career. This was a very senior retired naval officer and I was asking him about how to become a better manager. And his simple response to me was, it’s a lifelong journey. It’ll never end. So when I hear you ask this question about cross-functional, it’s never going to end that you want to learn new technology patterns, but new technology patterns come and go. The timeless lessons of how to interact with others, and let’s think about some of the problems the modern finance person’s going to need to solve. I am not aware of most organizations having resilient supply chains. We have seen this over the last couple years, whether it was COVID or Ukraine War or whatever’s going to happen next with natural disasters, or who knows. The supply chains are getting disrupted and it’s causing real risk to the financial risk of the organization.
So the question becomes, how, as a finance professional, can I reach out to other parts of my organization, or my customers, my partners, my network. How do I really think about these problems in new ways to solve, not only a resilient, but a sustainable business and supply chain moving forward. That’ll never be accomplished on your own. You’re going to need an army, a large village. And like I said, it’s a lifelong journey to reach out and collaborate and solve the hardest problems. The harder the problem, the more people you tend to have to work with.
JS Irick (03:31):
Wonderful. And so in your role, we see you helping our customers across the various hyperscalers available, and we see new tools rising up to face these challenges. And now every hyperscaler is investing in simplifying business data ingress. How to get data onto their platform, how to attach some of these powerful analytic tools to that data. With so many different choices, how do you help customers best take advantage of these opportunities?
That’s another great question, and there’s probably a few different answers to this. From a technology perspective, one of the more recent things in the SAP business application space has been the emergence of event-driven architectures, event mesh type discussions. And the only reason I mention that is, typical manufacturing companies have been using asynchronous events for probably 30, 40 years, but they haven’t been treating their business events in such a way. And as you know, the heterogeneous enterprise environments continue to grow and expand, the traditional ETL pipelines probably need to be augmented with some kind of EDA strategy as well. That’s at least something I’d throw out there from a, hey, the way that you move the data around is changing. But more important than just the technical movements of the bits and the bites, I would think about in a multi-cloud environment, I don’t see most of these customers and organizations I work with saying, I’m going to go with everything AWS or everything Microsoft or everything Google or everything, my own data center. It really is a multi-cloud strategy for most going forward.
And then a lot of them have to make choices based off what’s the best for their specific implementation and strategy. These are debatable topics, but one might make an argument that AWS could be further along in a serverless strategy, and I want to go build my serverless apps on AWS. We also see things where you might put a workload, for instance, say SAP or Oracle or whatever it might be, onto say a Microsoft or an AWS. And then you might see, hey, I happen to like Google’s BigQuery service for my massive petabyte Lakehouse, data warehouse, whatever you want to call it. And so a workload will go on a particular hyperscaler and then they’ll tend to put that in… the entire Lakehouse will go there. Or the application supporting SAP and the surrounding applications, you’re typically going to move those together as well. But ultimately you will have heterogeneous communication between those clouds, and I think that’s just part of the landscape moving forward.
JS Irick (06:45):
And I think it’s so interesting hearing you talk about these heterogeneous scenarios because no matter where the data’s landing, it’s not a controversial statement that’s never been better for analysts,. Better tools, better data availability. So as we see these technical or tool specific barriers to entry fall away, how does that change your approach to decision support?
Well, I want to first address this from a long-term perspective. All these tools, and they really are improving, and back in the day when you had 10 terabytes of data to analyze, we were nervous about how are we going to order a server that can even hold 10 terabytes of data. I mean, that wasn’t that long ago that you were just nervous about the even approach. Now technology has some constraints, but a lot of those, to your point, they’re going away and they’re going away at an accelerated rate, the constraints and the pain. So what ultimately I imagine is greater throughput for the analyst, and then we talked earlier about sustainable resilient supply chains. Most organizations don’t have them. Well, you’re getting all this data, you’re getting these better tools. Those are the problems that you need to start tackling is how do I have that sustainable, reliable supply chain for the next 20 years? Because what you’re doing today hasn’t answered that question for most organizations, so just picking on that topic.
So again, to me the question is what am I going to do with all this added opportunity I have on analytic tools and analytic data, is solve the harder and solve more problems, is how I see that going, at least in the long term. In the short term, I guess the very most important thing is just get the strategy right, get the data quality right. Because throwing a bad strategy and bad data at tools and cloud and it just isn’t going to help you. So your strategy around high quality curated data, and then once I give that to my analysts, have them treat as an asset and go nuts, go crazy. But I don’t quite see enough root cause on data quality issues going on, because bad data in is always going to be bad data out.
JS Irick (09:35):
Okay. So thank you so much Chris. And we have one last question. As we see remote collaboration become the new standard, what are some tips and tricks that you use in order to improve white boarding or in the system working sessions?
Yes, that’s another really good question and I definitely don’t have all the right answers there. And I think all of us, again, it’s one of those things where we constantly have to work on improving that, but the biggest thing for me is missing the water cooler conversation where you get on these remote calls and it’s kind of expected, depending on the call too, on who it’s with to dive right into the topic, what’s the purpose, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time. But at the same, without trust and without the ability to work with someone in a way that we feel comfortable, the work discussion won’t go that well.
So what I find difficult is when I was on on-prem meetings or at location, it was always, oh, during break, find somebody and let’s go take a quick walk to get outside and get fresh air and review a topic we just discussed. But usually on the way back in, hey, maybe you take the steps up and somebody describes something about their personal life and you guys align on a topic, or the water cooler discussion where ideas come, whether it was business or outside of work. I think it’s the outside of work conversations that help build the trust to then build a relationship that is effective. So I would strongly suggest, whenever possible, practical, appropriate, try to form conversations that build trust. And it’s typically going to be outside the work conversation. I mean you can build trust within work and all, but I just think without the other piece, that’s going to be really hard for teams to be effective.
JS Irick (11:57):
Yeah. Thank you so much Chris. So once again, this is JS Irick, I was joined today by Chris Pauxtis. Chris, if people want to hear more from you, where do you tend to post the most? Is it LinkedIn, Twitter? Where are you most active?
I’m not the biggest poster, but yes, LinkedIn, Twitter is where you’ll find me. My Twitter posts over the years aren’t numerous, but I stand by the ones that I’ve posted.
JS Irick (12:25):
Wonderful. Thank you again, Chris.
Thank you, JS. Always great talking to you.
JS Irick (12:32):
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