Why so many want to work on creating intelligent businesses

Published 10 Mar 2017 There is great joy in working

Interesting workplaces, a stable organization, and coworkers who think they have the world's best job. Welcome to Knowit.

Today, we collect huge amounts of data every day. We measure and record everything that happens in our world but how do we convert all this information into something useful? If anyone can answer that question, it is the consultants at Knowit Decision, who devote their work days to helping customers make intelligent businesses. Certainly, it's a play on words with the term business intelligence, but not entirely.

"To put it simply, you can say that business intelligence is about using large amounts of data to make the right decision," explains Johan Langgren Canestrini, Business Division Manager at Knowit Decision. But we call it intelligent business because we do it in a smarter way and also to help customers make smarter businesses.

Johan Langgren, CEO of Knowit Decision .
Johan Langgren, CEO of Knowit Decision, discusses an exciting customer project within visualization with colleagues.

Knowit's entire organization is optimized to be as effective as possible, offering employees freedom and encouraging smart solutions. Johan explains:

"Many consulting companies are specialized in certain software and only do business by talking to the IT manager. But what customers want is a solution to the problem! We have therefore decided to be independent and work with a variety of partners. We work together with SAS, Oracle, Tableau, Microsoft, Wherescape, and a lot of others. This independence gives us the opportunity to talk not only to IT, but also directly with the company, and to create the best solution for each individual customer.

Independent organization

This independence is even found within Knowit's own organization. Knowit is divided into approximately 50 companies with different specialist areas, which are, of course, subordinate to the Knowit Group, but have a great deal of freedom within their area. Thomas Nord, CEO of Knowit Decision Helicopter, explains:

"It's 'the small within the big' that makes Knowit unique in its market. Take Helicopter for example: We are 38 people who work together and meet after work. We are like any cool little company in town but what makes us separate is that we belong to Knowit and have the whole big organization at our back when all is said and done. It gives us access to the big businesses, we can handle framework agreements, we have access to network specialists, databases, you name it. But Knowit does not go into the details but instead trusts that we are the specialists in our area."

Thomas Nord is the CEO of Knowit Helicopter, which specializes in visualization among other areas.
Thomas Nord is the CEO of Knowit Helicopter, which specializes in visualization among other areas.

Helikopter's areas of expertise include visualization, a specific competence in structuring data and presenting the information visually.

"Or we 'gather data and make a small graph', says Thomas. However, things are not that simple! Certainly, we gather a lot of data from different sources and back it up in a database, and structure and visualize complex relationships. But that is the result the customer pays for. Our reporting will then be the basis for decisions, so we must understand the process and be able to support the customer the whole way. And the customer usually does not have a a lot of knowledge about the possibilities, so we can often add more value than they can even think of requesting.

Do things a little differently

In Oslo, we find Ingvar Larsson, CEO of Knowit Norway, who specializes in giving advice in intelligent business. His Swedish colleagues have described him as doing things "a little differently."

"Haha, did they say that? It's not that different but we like to start a little earlier," says Ingvar Larsson. "Our work already starts at the advice-giving stage, before we even start talking about technology at all. Think about it this way: intelligent business consists of several phases. The data we collect and process results in information that the customer can use to make their business smarter. But for understanding in how to do this, you have to first start with a step beforehand, in the advice phase, and prepare the organization. How should the information be managed? What changes can be made, what decisions are made based on what we are seeing? This work must be started early, preferably at the same time as data collection. Three-month-old information that has not been interpreted is no longer relevant.

Ingvar explains that Knowit's role is often to train customer, to explain how much can usually be interpreted from the data. Something which customers have sometimes not even thought about.

"How the information is to be interpreted often falls outside of public procurement," says Ingvar. It isn't even in the specification! However, it is very important because it is the link between the information and the real actions in the customer's organization. Some think it's just about getting a whole lot of data and then that's it. But that is assuming that you can interpret the numbers. If it is done wrong, it can be very expensive in the end because the customer has made investments that do not yield anything of value. Our task is to make sure this does not happen."

Thomas Nord, Johan Langgren Canestrini and David Svensson at Knowit Decision.
Thomas Nord, Johan Langgren Canestrini and David Svensson at Knowit Decision all agree that big data, advanced analysis, and visualization are incredibly exciting areas for the future.

Supportive culture

Thomas and Ingvar agree that the collaboration between different parts of Knowit, and also different cities, works very well and is a major reason why so many people enjoy the workplace. There is a freedom in working within their special area and everyone is motivated to perform, but the internal culture is supportive and warm.

"Knowit already consists of a lot of subsidiaries and it goes without saying that, at any given moment, it goes a little better in one area and somewhere else has a harder time," says Johan Langgren. But then you help them out; we do not compete with each other, instead we work together and complement each other."

Back in Stockholm, we meet David Svensson, who has just transferred to Knowit Decision Helicopter from Knowit Linköping. (Read more about David here) His summary is compelling:

"Knowit has built a team in the same way that the Germans have built their national team," he said. They have a team that works together, instead of a bunch of divas that compete for the limelight. Knowit's philosophy is that committed people, who have fun at work, do a better job and it permeates the atmosphere. The work assignments are top-class, but the culture and attitude are why so many stay here, year after year. And people who leave, often come back."

Are you interested in a career in Knowit within Intelligent Business?

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