Life at Deloitte
Career story: Olivier Thierie
A relentless advocate for best practice and holistic IT-solutions
Olivier works as a Lead in the AI & Data services. He is known for tackling complex problems using an arsenal of different tools and technologies. Yet, what truly matters to him is engineering solutions that last, getting out of his comfort zone, and always keeping on learning as he goes.
The cool thing is that we take part in both advising on a solution’s architecture and also developing it together with our stakeholders. These days, it is so important to not leave it only as an idea or suggestion – we go further than that. When delivering technical solutions, we want to ensure the impact lasts over time.
Clients want an integrated approach
These days it has become more important than ever to have broad experience with a stack of different technologies and programming languages rather than have in-depth knowledge of a few of them. The landscape changes quickly and so does the technology.
When I started my career, solving the actual business case would have been the pursuit. Nowadays, one can produce a good analytical solution, but one is also expected to further make it work during its lifecycle. Thus, the key is to deliver solutions that provide value over time by making them environment independent and well tested (continuous integration) and by delivering them continuously (continuous deployment).
There is a set of standards that is now considered self-evident for our industry, and my goal is to embed these in our way of collaborating with and delivering to clients. Every so often, it takes some more preparation, it includes some extra steps, but in the end, it makes everyone’s lives so much easier – including after handover.
From wrangling data to building platforms
I started my journey at Deloitte in 2016. During my first years with Deloitte, I found myself working as a data engineer on the client’s side. This client was Telenet, a Belgian telecom operator. For over two years, I develop my capabilities rapidly to further help Telenet by implementing valuable use cases on their platform. These cases had a visible impact as they often involved or triggered interaction with Telenet’s customers.
Even today, thinking back on ‘those days’ give me nostalgia. Before moving to Helsinki in 2019, I built a proof of concept for integrating SAS Viya in real time with systems such as SAP HANA and Salesforce. I happily presented this at the SAS Global Forum (Paper 3725-2019). When joining Jouni’s team in Helsinki, I got introduced to the world of cloud and became responsible for provisioning and improving the back-end of different cloud-based data solutions for important domestic industry clients, ensuring the reliability and stability of our solutions.
With that experience, I got the opportunity to participate in building a brand new global-data platform, based on the principles of the data mesh, for a Nordic renewable energy solutions client. In collaboration with this client and my colleague Xiaoshen from our Danish practice, we pulled off the first iteration of this platform. It was challenging but fun! My last assignment took me back to my home country, Belgium, where I worked in the project team as a subject matter expert (SME) to enable and accelerate Telenet’s ambitious migration plan of moving their big data platform to cloud storage. This was an exciting, but challenging, effort. To make this happen, Deloitte brought in a team that stretched out over Europe, from Portugal in the south-west to us in the north-east, working together in close collaboration with Telenet.
Currently I am helping one my clients to migrate and refactor a solution for their new data platform, a solution that we have developed over the last four years. The work itself is challenging, yet supergood, I genuinely enjoy it.
Passion and patience are essential
I guess when I am asked who would do well in this role, there is one obvious answer; the more experience you have with the workflow (Agile, CI/CD, IAC, DevOps) and technologies you have worked with, the better you will do in this role.
What makes the talent market challenging now is that we require quite ambitious profiles. You need to be client facing and solve their problems whilst supporting the solution’s lifecycle. We try to bridge the gap between business and IT, delivering the insights that business needs while ensuring that a solution becomes easy to support afterwards.
When I recruit, I am looking for people who understand the framework, workflow, and development cycle more than looking for people who know certain tools or languages.
Sometimes, people ask me what the business value of building solutions like this is. Are we overkilling it? Why can’t I implement this change right away? Even if you are not able to see the fruits of the work at this instance, you will see the value of it over time by having easy-to-change, stable running solutions.
Up close and personal
What you did not know about Olivier
During wintertime I do skijoring with my buddy Samu , an Alaskan malamute. I cannot really ski, and especially in the turns when he is pulling me, I find myself a bit worried if I will make the turn.
What is your best memory from Deloitte?
At Deloitte I experienced many nice events and get-togethers that I provide great memories. Nevertheless, for me personally, the acknowledgement and trust you get over time from long-term customers and peers you work with is what I cherish most. For example, at a client’s after-work party, it suddenly hit me: I realised that we had their trust and confidence from day one and it felt great. It is something you only obtain from a long-term and deep client relationship; it is not a feeling that hits you every day.