Update March 2023: Timo Barth has now moved on to new career paths. We wish him good luck and fun with his new challenges. We have the permission to continue using this interview article, which we are happy to do.
Setting sail successfully as a consultant
Timo Barth tells us one year after joining valantic about his start as a Consultant in the SAP Analytics sector, working on projects, and what he especially appreciates about his team in Hamburg.
How was your start at valantic?
A very good friend recommended valantic in February 2019, during my Master’s studies in Maastricht. So then I looked at the job postings and learned more about the company on valantic’s website. After I had an initial picture, I sent off my application for the business analytics sector immediately.
The application process was pretty flexible for me. I was still living in Maastricht and had my first three interviews with different people on the telephone. First with you, Michael, then with my unit leader, and then with another senior colleague with whom I work a lot now.
In retrospect, this was all very cool – I met my future colleagues right away. For me personally, this was a very good experience.
Finally, I had an in-person interview in Hamburg, which meant that overall, everything came together on short notice.
In the interview in Hamburg, I got to know both managing directors. It was also a very open exchange. From interviews at other companies, I thought that this would be like sitting on the test bench; I would have to be prepared to speak off the cuff. Things were completely different here. The concern was sooner about me, what I would like and whether this would fit what was actually happening at valantic.
In the first interview with my unit manager, the focus was on the ideas that he was pursuing with his team, what previous and future development plans for the SAP unit look like, and what I could contribute. I thought that was just great.
And has this all come true for you?
Yes, for the last 10 months, I’ve been working full-time on one project, which is unusual around here. The topic was SAP Business Warehouse (BW) – so data architecture construction. In my earlier position as an analyst, this was something I’d experienced more passively. Especially building the SAP technology behind this was the ideal opportunity for me to deepen my specialized knowledge and apply it directly on the project with the help of my senior colleagues.
What’s the actual focus here?
The focus is on the construction of a self-service analytics solution for the HR sector with SAP BW, which requires integrating various existing HR systems. Previously, there was only one “classic” SAP reporting environment in which reports were provided centrally by IT with SAP Lumira.
The first phase was the requirements analysis. We discussed the use cases with IT and HR and coordinated with the various IT departments of the corporate group in order to define the connection and combination of different systems. Frequently, this phase leads to expectations management and to bringing IT and HR to a certain state of knowledge in order to achieve the right mixture of system flexibility and performance or usability.
This phase was especially exciting for me since I got to know various new tools from the HR environment and familiarized myself with the complexity of a global corporate group’s infrastructure, one that spanned 3 continents. After that, we formulated an architecture proposal, demonstrating how the various systems can be put together in the SAP Business Warehouse.
Finally, after the design phase, we moved on to implementation, which I could do largely on my own.
During the entire project, I was able to take on partial project management tasks and coordinate responsibilities with more than 60 different contact people. I especially enjoyed the global coordination with developers in Malaysia, in the USA, and other teams in India and Singapore, for example.
What do you especially like about valantic?
Something I appreciate a great deal, in addition to the responsibility, is the great flexibility on my team. Not just on the project, but also with regard to the way they work. A typical sentence is “as long as the results are right and you get everything done, you can do it as you like”
Of course we also have deadlines and appointments. But it’s completely normal for me to take a long lunch break and go do something athletic to balance out my day. Rigid frameworks such as core work hours are no longer appropriate in the era of the home office and especially with regard to our consulting projects.
What will you do next?
First I’d like to continue focusing on project work. Starting in the beginning of 2021, I’ll be working on a follow-up project for the same customer. In addition, I’ll concern myself with the topic of BW/4HANA certification in the first quarter. Technologically, I’ll continue working my way into the SAP Analytics Cloud so that, in addition to BW, I’ll expand my knowledge of the front end – and in the front end, with a clear view to development in the cloud.