Building business intelligence solutions for a better world: it's challenging and fun

Olena Smoliak – software engineer

Olena Smoliak feels right at home at Rabobank. On one hand she appreciates that her business intelligence solutions have impact on social issues like sustainability. One the other hand she's part of a fantastic team and a close-knit community of young professionals within the bank.


“People sometimes call me a business intelligence developer, but I see myself as just a software engineer with a passion for databases. I focus on BI solutions based on Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis Services, among others, but I also enjoy building websites and writing code for other purposes. Fortunately, Rabobank gives me the freedom to do that. For example, right now we’re building a test tool to measure and improve the quality of our solutions.”

 

The data we deliver form the KPIs that the board uses to manage the bank.
Olena Smoliak

Relevant data

“The BI solutions we’re working on will provide the various departments within the bank with information. Our focus is on what we call the CFO domain: finance and accounting. We collect data from financial transactions from the whole global Rabobank network. Then we summarize and present them clearly to the Board of Directors. The data we deliver form the KPIs that the board uses to manage the bank.”

Better world

“Our work affects some major social issues. There’s a reason why Rabobank’s motto is ‘Growing a better world together’. That’s why we provide reports that offer insight into the bank’s global sustainability performance all the way down to the local level. Things like the number of green mortgages Rabobank issues. Those insights help the Board of Directors to constantly expand our contribution to a better world.”

Deep dive in data

“The amount of data we work with is gigantic. Rabobank is a big bank, with a lot of customers and therefore a lot of transactions. Day in, day out, all over the world. Every transaction is a new piece of data, which in turn consists of little bits of information: when the transaction took place, for what amount, and in which currency. Such a huge source is amazing as it is. But it becomes even more interesting when you dive deeper into the data. What did the transaction earn us? How much did it cost? Once you know that, you can decide which products you want to invest more or less in as a bank.”

Staying ahead of developments

“One exciting change is that we’re now switching to Azure. With those huge amounts of data! For me as a professional, working in the cloud is amazing. It really adds a challenge. In IT, you always had to do your best to keep up with developments, but they go 10 times as fast when it comes to the cloud. The infrastructure is constantly being upgraded. For me, the challenge lies in not just keeping up with developments, but actually staying ahead of them. To brainstorm together with the team to figure out our next steps in cloud.”

Belonging somewhere – in this case in a great team in a big organization – is really important to me.
Olena Smoliak

Brainstorming together

“It’s exactly that combination of innovation and team spirit that makes Rabobank so strong. We’re about as innovative as any modern IT company. Plus, it’s a great environment with helpful people. If you get stuck with something, there’s always someone who’s willing to think along with you. We really do it all together. I was born in Ukraine before coming to the Netherlands. Belonging somewhere – in this case in a great team in a big organization – is really important to me.”

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Honored guest

“We also have a lot of tech communities that organize some great events for employees. Recently an Engineer’s Week was organized, for instance. This was a virtual conference that lasted three days, with a lot of sessions on all kinds of interesting topics. And when I started working here, none other than Uncle Bob himself, Robert C. Martin, came to give a guest lecture! I’m a big fan of his work. And now he was standing right there in front of me at Rabobank in Utrecht! That’s when I knew: this is the right place for me.”