Ulf Jørgensen is an expert business intelligence consultant

Dialogue paves the way for better business intelligence

With in-depth knowledge of databases and business intelligence, coupled with great insight into clients' requirements, consultant Ulf Jørgensen creates extra value for businesses.

Explore how dialogue is key to good business intelligence and why the business goal always must be the starting point for an optimal solution.

Over the years, Ulf Jørgensen has added layers to his knowledge and work within database development, the establishment and adaptation of data warehouses and the intelligent use of companies' many data, known as business intelligence.

Ulf Jørgensen has been here from the beginning. At the age of 18, after starting his own company, he helped refine a database for use in renting video films via petrol stations, to the development of database systems based on the then Danish system DSI, followed by the implementation of the accounting system Navision (acquired by Microsoft in 2002) and Damgaard Data's C5 and Concorde XAL.

The insight and experience with Concorde XAL became the start of an international career. The American SAS Institute offered him a job at their Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany with the installation of Concorde XAL at SAS Institutes sites in 20+ countries.

Since then, it became a few years at the SAS Institute world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. Here, Ulf Jørgensen was responsible for consolidating all data from SAS Institute’s EMEA sites and the USA in one unified data warehouse. This project laid the foundation for his career and focus on data warehouse and business intelligence.

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Dialogue and reconciliation of expectations are two concepts that describe how consultant Ulf Jørgensen arrives at the optimal result for a customer.

Dialogue is key to good business intelligence

Dialogue and alignment of expectations are two concepts that consultant Ulf Jørgensen considers of great importance when describing how he achieves optimal results for his clients.

These concepts are essential in any collaborative relationship, contributing to the under­standing of both the back-office part and the end-user's daily work with BI systems—the most important benchmark in working as a consultant, in the eyes of Ulf Jørgensen.

Reaching the best possible common understanding has not become any easier over the years. The advancement in technology has created several new opportunities, making it perhaps even more challenging to develop a solution across many products and platforms, that will meet the stated business objectives of the clients.

Data must be transformed into information

{  .. Users must be able to handle things themselves. As such, developers must build a model that the users can work within.   }

As a consultant, Ulf Jørgensen makes no secret of the fact that he has picked up his work mantra from the SAS Institute, after working there for several years, before returning to Denmark 20 years ago to establish himself as an independent consultant.

"The important task is to turn data into information. And then, of course, to make this information accessible through interactive interfaces - self-service," Ulf Jørgensen puts it.

"Users must be able to handle things themselves. As such, developers must build a model that the users can work within. As an architect and developer, I must be creative within my area to provide a framework for users to be creative within their area," says Ulf Jørgensen.

The mediator between backend and frontend

Since Ulf Jørgensen understands the work processes and data challenges both in the back end and the front end of a solution and thereby can think the entire process through, this gives him an edge compared to many younger professionals in the business. As such, he never develops something just to develop it without thinking through the real-life implications and potential of a solution.

Similarly, he often sees himself as a mediator when in the role of team leader in his changing assignments. In a team of developers, there are usually ones who are great when it comes to backend development and developers who excel in frontend work. Still, they may not necessarily be good at talking or understanding each other.

This is where Ulf Jørgensen steps in with his experience and facilitates the necessary dialogue.

Technological development provides new opportunities

In addition to necessary dialogue, technological advancement is also a key component in the solutions that Ulf Jørgensen helps bring into the world on his changing assignments, providing a high probability of success.

When it comes to hardware and software, Ulf Jørgensen has experienced that tasks that were previously impossible to solve due to performance limits in different systems have been made possible by advancements in technology.

"Over the last four to five years, some of the obstacles we faced earlier have been removed," he says.

Here, the consultant refers to the fact that it is much easier to accommodate requirements for solutions that can work internally in a company and can be integrated with external customers and partners. In practice, this may provide the customer with system access via mobile phones and tablets.

In this case, the increasing use of cloud computing on the one hand and the fast in-memory technology used in servers on the other, coupled with the underlying development process, make the final solution both easier and quicker to work with.

For developers and their customers, this also means that they can realize solutions faster than before and thus be more agile.

The business goal must be the focus

{   .. Over the last four to five years, some of the obstacles we faced earlier have been removed due to advances in computing power.   }

Ulf Jørgensen makes a point that the business's goals always come first. When clearly defin­ed, they create an optimal starting point for a new solution, as requirements and selection of methods are put into perspective.

Furthermore, both the scope of data and the number of different types of data determine the design of the solution.

"If you consider the options of just the Microsoft stack, then there are many different ways of doing things right, depending on the situation that a developer wants to solve," he explains.

Ulf Jørgensen emphasizes the importance of good dialogue between consultant and client to get started with a system quickly, but without sacrificing the options of subsequently being able to expand it into a more extensive system. Because as he says, "It is typically what the customers will require later on, in my experience."

For the same reason, it is crucial to adhere to some "best practices" so that you can move forward without losing too much in the first phase, even if you have developed a barebone solution to get started.

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Ulf Jørgensen emphasizes the importance of putting the goals of the business first.

Experience is key to flexible solutions

{   ... Just because you have a hammer does not mean that everything you have in front of you is a nail. Instead, consider the right tool and the right method for the right solution.   }

"In such a situation, it is important for a consultant to have experience with both small, medium and large solutions. This way, you are better equipped to advise the client so that she does not become locked into the chosen solution if something larger is needed down the line," Ulf Jørgensen explains.

Conversely, an extensive system that accommodates different business areas with different needs should also not, for example, be equipped with a complicated data logic if the need for such data logic only exists in one part of the system.

"It's about design, architecture and choosing the methods used in different aspects of the solution, which have become a bit of an obsession for me," he says.

Ulf Jørgensen refers to a project manager he has previously worked with:

"Just because you have a hammer does not mean that everything you have in front of you is a nail. Instead, consider the right tool and the right method for the right solution."

Division between cloud and on-prem increases security

In addition to the flexibility of the increasing use of cloud computing, Ulf Jørgensen highlights the important element of security that can be in balancing cloud and on-prem technology.

"Among companies that have local branches in several countries, it is now prevalent to use a combination of cloud and on-prem. The branches have their own on-prem installations and only use cloud 'to send data back and forth to and from headquarters.' Therefore, if there is an attack on the cloud system, then the departments in each country still have their on-premise installations intact," he explains.

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In parallel with his consultant career, Ulf Jørgensen makes sure to stay well-informed and share his knowledge and experiences by teaching at Copenhagen Business School, among other places.

ProData Consult are good at matching my competencies with projects that fit my profile

In his changing consultant assignments and with his many years of experience, Ulf Jørgensen often faces tasks that involve business problems he has seen before. Usually, IT is the tool, but the goal is ultimately a business solution.

"That is the type of task I am most interested in. The collaboration with ProData Consult has successfully provided me with projects that are a good match for my profile. They are good at finding the best possible consultant for the project. I feel it works really well, and it is only getting better.

An important element in this context has probably been that, when we started collaborating, they helped me refine my CV, so it became clearer what types of assignments it would be relevant to match me with, both for ProData Consult and for the customers."

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... when we started collaborating, they helped me refine my CV, so it became clearer what types of assignments it would be relevant to match me with.

}

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Consultant
Ulf Jørgensen

Ulf Jørgensen is a seasoned IT expert within databases, business intelligence solutions and ERP systems.

Before becoming an independent consultant, demand for his skills had him working internationally, such as in Germany and the US, where he worked at the SAS Institute for several years. He has a Graduate Diploma in computer science and financial management.

Moreover, he teaches at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in the fields of Business, Language and Culture, alternately in strategy,, business economics and data analysis.

Lastly, he also teaches as a Microsoft Certified Trainer in SQL Server, Power BI and data modeling, all concentrated on SQL, data warehouse and reporting.