Sylwia Siódmiak, a leader of the BI team at Sii Poland, started working as a local Administration Specialist, now she manages the team and the process of collecting and processing data from internal applications at Sii.
How did your career path start and how did it go?
Sylwia Siódmiak, Domain Leader/Team Manager: I took my first steps at Sii in 2012 in the Administration team in Gdańsk, first as a Specialist, moving on to the role of a Deputy Manager. Soon I became hungry for more and there was an opportunity to take over the role of a Power User – a Consultant for Administration. Working in this position has been a game changer in my career development. I took an active part in key changes introduced at Sii, including the implementation of the ERP system, where, as a business representative, working intensively mainly with the internal IT AX team, we transferred further business processes from Excel to Microsoft Dynamics AX. And in the background, BI appeared on the horizon. Thanks to working with Jacek Biały, BI Consultant, I had the opportunity to create the first reports for the Administration team and feel the power that lies in the data. After some time I took the position of Business Controller and thanks to Piotr Bury, Senior Financial Controller, I became friends with Microsoft Power BI, and I was into reporting for good! My quiet hero of those two years was the BI team, which, alongside the team developing CRM solutions, supported me in the daily uneven fight for higher quality of sales data 😉 In the meantime, I moved to Warsaw and begun to share a project room with the BI team. I started to identify with their everyday challenges while admiring their sense of humour and patience with which they can handle the greatest storms. When I became the PM of another project “Motherhood”, I already knew that BI is an area with which I want to work for good. With this attitude I started to expand my knowledge at postgraduate studies, hoping that maybe one day it would allow me to join the team. Life once again gave me a chance faster than I expected – there it was, information about open recruitment for the position of Team Manager of the BI team. Today I cannot imagine that I could not take it!
What exactly does the department in which you work in?
S.S.: We mainly deal with the development, operation and management of a data warehouse, construction and optimization of OLAP cubes and databases, downloading data from Sii’s internal systems and preparing them for further analysis. In other words – we are constantly looking for, collecting and bringing to an easier-to-handle form all the numbers, clicks and other data recorded through our internal applications. We work with Power Users and the Fast Track team, to enable our business users various analysis, allowing for the assessment of activities and functioning of processes throughout the company.
What are your daily duties now?
S.S: Currently, I am trying, with the huge support of my amazing colleagues, to combine three roles: Team Manager, Product Owner and Business Analyst. I strongly focus on the relationship between our team and the business, trying to identify all the challenges that we face as Sii so that we can support the business in everyday work and in making difficult and strategic decisions. I also make sure that, as a team, we constantly deliver tasks that represent real business value. Together with my analysts and architects, I verify the issues collected from the business and plan the work of the team so that we deliver what is important for business at the right time. During the sprint, I make sure that we fulfil our obligations and take care of emerging errors. As a Team Manager, however, I always keep in mind that behind each task there are my Power People. That is why my most important role is to provide them with optimal working conditions, build an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual support, so that they can focus on the task and as a team, use their skills and share their knowledge in an optimal way, keeping them in the best mood possible.
What are your current challenges?
S.S: My biggest challenge is pandemic itself, both in the semi-professional sense, when working from home and on a call, I try to be serious, and my child speaks directly to the microphone about their very important needs 😉 but also purely professionally, when in the era of remote work we have to maintain the best possible communication within and outside the team. Needless to say, it is easier to discuss certain topics during brainstorming in the room or over coffee than at an online meeting on Teams. For the same reason, introducing new people to the team is also challenging. My work is often about the constant processing of a huge amount of information that comes to me on a given day, and this requires great concentration and quick decision making.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction at work?
S.S: The most important thing for me is that we, as a team working together with the business, feel the sense of the tasks we carry out and take pride in what we have created together. That is why I feel great satisfaction when I see how the business uses the data we provide, or what changes and decisions our solutions contributed to. Looking from the team’s perspective, I love it when we have a flow, new tasks are quickly finished and Jira receives more notifications about completed tests – UAT SUCCESSFULL. However, the moment when positive feedback from the business reaches my team gives me the greatest joy and satisfaction. This is my discovery for this role, because I would never have thought that I would feel more satisfaction at the thought of how well my people function and develop than with the implementation of my own tasks – and I thank them so much for that!
What helps you relax after a day full of challenges?
S.S: Oh, my family takes care of my relaxation after work, especially my children, who constantly let me know that I am indispensable in all the activities they are currently occupied with. Music has always relaxed me and this is my proven way to get away from reality. When emotions are buzzing or I just need to clear my head, I fire up the playlist, put on my headphones and go the longest possible route to the nearby Biedronka for groceries. It also happens that I need such a reset at work – then I stay at my desk, but I unconsciously and very ineptly start humming the song. My love for dancing is also connected with music and I look forward to the time when I will be able to close the party again by leaving the dance floor at 6 am! Meanwhile, when I hear music, I dance in my mind, only subtly nodding my head and stamping my foot to the music. Having said all that, there is one and only passion in my life, one that has been nurtured for the last 20 years. The mountains, or in fact, the Tatra Mountains, are my “happy place”, there is peace there that overwhelms me. I love this characteristic smell on mountain trails, wonderful views, fighting the weather, my own body and mind in terms of whether I will reach the top, and at the end this blissful feeling of crawling after a 30 km walk. Then I feel proud of fulfilling my intended plan!