With big data you’ll find treasure in your business and see the future.

Digitalization, as well as the resulting availability of data andinformation, is about to threaten the business models of many established companies. Sandy Energized Analytics, a data consulting agency and corporate startup of EnBW Energie Baden Württemberg AG, will show you how companies get their data to be profitable.

In this interview series our three co-founders Claudius Hundt, Sebastian Scholz and Peter Karcher will explain how they uncover the buried treasure. Claudius Hundt, co-founder and head of marketing sales, continues our interview series.

What challenges did you face being a co-founder of a startup?

Well, a few. Especially being a corporate startup and being an “intrapeneur” in a large corporation. Aside of the willingness of our management for a general set-up to allow us to freely explore a new topic, one has to deal with many different issues a small business has to sort out.

Essentially, first we had to evaluate the business idea and business value and needed to sort out if what we planned had any value for someone and if they would be willing to pay for it. This required offering ideas openly to others as well as letting go of first ideas, let them evolve or even completely abandon them. Sometimes this procedure hurt the most, since one has put in blood, sweat and tears. However, this is exactly the experience we can leverage in our consulting now. We know the questions that hurt at first, but lead to success in the long run. Basically, it’s always coming down to: “Where’s the beef?“

What is your vision?

There is a treasure to be found in business data. Not only in data that exists already but is not valued as asset, but also in all new data and in the combination possibilities with further information lies unbelievable potential. If for example data is analyzed right after it originates rather than a day/week/month later and is examined automatically for outliers and abnormalities, alerts can be send and you can react either manually or automatic. Faults, attacks and malfunctions can be assessed and removed.

“We make your data work” is our mission statement and we mean it. To learn from data and, if sensible, to provide real time insight or predictive analytics, which let you look at the near future, is the idea that motivates and drives us. We look for and find these valuable gains – to provide new features, optimized processes and individual market advantages. By the way we offer these to many different industries.

What is it exactly that SANDY does?

We show businesses how they can generate precious new information and added value from their existing data. Our data engineers and data scientists restructure and analyze existing data with our platform and discover unknown patterns. Our structured approach allows us to evaluate the actual business value from new information early in the process. Calculation models that result from our analysis can be implemented immediately and the necessary computing power is provided by us. We receive data from our clients and deliver the analytical added value via the same interface. This service is provided permanently, on demand, in real time or every couple of days, depending on the use case. So not only do we provide data consultation, we also deliver operative analytical added value. Our clients consume advanced data analytics without having to acquire the necessary infrastructure and competences themselves. In other cases, the client just outsources one specific issue to us. We do uncover the data treasure with the latest know-how and usage of modern technology.

How do you approach a new client?

It helps to look back on experiences of my personal career. We developed a 3 tier model, to guide our clients to success. In phase 1 we are actively listening to our client or rather their management: what are their challenges and their business needs. Either they know already what it is exactly that they need. If they don’t, we isolate issues of different departments and specify a case. Then we arrange a workshop with defined participants and concrete issues. From there we develop a tangible data based use case and challenge directly if it has enough business value. Complexity, data availability and business value lead us to a roadmap. This way, we can harvest the quick wins first and then grind the complex issues later. Finally, our client decides if they want to tackle these issues with their data analytics, data warehouse, business intelligence and data science team themselves, or if they rely on us. In phase 2 we analyze data, develop data based solutions and decide if there is added value in the use case. Operationalization follows in phase 3.

What methods do you use?

Working agile is in our blood. We operate hypothesis driven and ascertain permanently if something works out or if there is a better way to do it. We plan our to-dos in a two week horizon. If necessary, we intervene, enter new findings or keep on the set path. We question ourselves continuously if our current tasks are goal oriented and create value. This is our version of agile methods like SCRUM and Kanban, that we perfected for our own requirements. Equally important is taking the costumer’s viewpoint regularly, by using i.e. Design Thinking methods to better understand their issues. Essentially, this often just means applying common sense, but these methods help to focus on the more important and value creating aspects. We keep a hierarchy free team environment. Everyone carries responsibility and is encouraged to make decisions autonomous or with the team. This keeps motivation and engagement high.

Do you meet a lot of reservations and fears regarding data protection and privacy?

Absolutely, yes. Everybody knows that data is a core component of future business models. But every company must consider what data can be given to a third party and which cannot. Since our operationalizations run as Analytics as a Service, we focus on advising our clients in all aspects and can address reservations head on. Of course there are enough possibilities to create added value from data without transmitting private consumer data or company internal data. Vital for a fruitful trusting collaboration is that we as people and team can assure our client, that data security is extremely important to us. This is the only way our business model can work.

What goals have you set for SANDY?

Our whole team consists of fantastic people with great experience in their field. This is how we solve analytical questions or highly complex issues. If this would be sports they would be top athletes. We want to show the world, that we are the right contact for your business, independent of if you are concerned with popular – or high-performance sports. Our goal is to stay as costumer oriented and agile as we are today.

What future innovations will revolutionize our daily life?

In my opinion, voice control and virtual reality will inspire us. The provided functions and added value – given a sensible output – in those are data driven and there you can actually experience data analytics. This enables us to making, objectively, better decisions without having to think it over and over, searching the best option. Smiling, we will think to ourselves: Ah, how cool is that!

How would we recognize your desk?

A lot of sticky notes. They appear and disappear constantly. Someone is working, this is clearly visible. It is not the neatest but there is a system to it.