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Using data to make the world a better place

Edwin Otten, Business Intelligence Engineer at Rabobank

Within Rabobank, a huge amount of data is available. But you can't do much with just data alone. The numbers need to be interpreted. For that you need people like BI Engineer Edwin Otten.

The air traffic controller of data flow

“If you want to do this work, you really have to enjoy doing puzzles. There is an enormous amount of data available within the bank. Data is the new gold, they say. But all that data in itself has no meaning. As a Business Intelligence Engineer you collect data, structure it and see what needs to be done with it. Well-structured data helps colleagues to understand what the numbers mean.”

“You have to have a good overview and be analytical in order to do this well. These are the most important skills. You’re like an air traffic controller who keeps an eye on all those data flows and guides them in the right direction.”

The more complex the better!
Edwin Otten - Business Intelligence Engineer

“In addition, it’s helpful if you have the ability to think abstractly. Answering questions using data often seems simple. For example, we keep track of how many customers need a review. In doing so, you’re not only dealing with new and existing customers who get an annual review, but also with customers who are flagged by the Risico Detectie Toets.The Risico Detectie Toets is an algorithm developed by Rabobank that automatically assesses risks. This sophisticated software detects risks and is easy to customize.

Suppose you process a large number of files, but the total still continues to rise sharply. We make it clear why this is happening. A rising trend is not only caused by fewer files in a category, but also by shifts within the customer groups. I like to think about the calculations we need for this. The more complex, the better!”

Bringing order to chaos

“My area of expertise is more than just crunching numbers. Well-structured data helps you make smarter decisions. You bring order to chaos so that numbers become meaningful. That’s the beauty of working with data, it’s not as one-sided as you think. There are always better ways of doing something with it. It’s like working on a huge puzzle. How can you get the most information out of it.”

Edwin Otten on the stairs

Know your customer

“I am working with Global CAMS (Compliance, Anti Money Laundering and Sanctions). This is one of our larger data models that we use to do analysis and trend reporting in the area of KYC (Know Your Customer). For the bank, it is important to know who our customers are. Because only if you know your customers well can you service them properly. But also: intervene if money laundering or terrorist financing is suspected. Data is essential for this.”

“Business intelligence is about facts and dimensions. A fact, for example, is that someone has made a transaction. In itself that doesn’t say much, but when you add all kinds of dimensions to it, it becomes meaningful. To which country did the transaction go, on which date and what currency are we talking about, for example.”

“If you have to extract these kinds of things from the raw data, you can spend days doing it. We discover the connections between things you don’t see at first glance. To do that, I create databases and data visualizations with Microsoft BI Suite and Power BI, among others. This allows my colleagues to assess whether there is actually something going on with a customer.”

Interested? Apply as a BI Engineer!

The impact of data on society

What’s the best part about working with Global CAMS? Edwin doesn’t have to think about it for long. “It’s really a hot topic within the financial world. The impact on society is very big. The regulations surrounding money laundering and financing of terrorism is not the sexiest of issues, but these kinds of practices do leave their mark on society. Doing something about this fits in with the bank’s mission: growing a better world together. This positive message appeals to me, because secretly I’m a real do-gooder myself.”