Life of an ATA Consultant: Meet our Director of Professional Services
When we last sat down to chat with our colleagues in Toronto, Tom Bolek led us through the ins and outs of Presales Consultancy here at Ataccama. This time, we’re sitting down with Daniel Marinovic, our Director of Professional Services, to talk Project Consultancy, fear of flying, and his favorite vacation pose for photos. :)
Hi Daniel! Let’s kick off with how you started here at Ataccama, and how it’s changed over the years. It’s been quite a while, right?
Yes, I’ve been in Ataccama for 7 years. When I joined back in 2015, we were a company of 60 people and only had 6 people in the Toronto location. Today we have over 60 people in our Toronto office and close to 500 people — all in just 7 years.
Originally, I applied for the position because they were hiring somebody for Data Quality and Master Data Management at the time. I started out as a Pre-Sales Consultant for many years, slowly expanding my knowledge into server architecture, which led me to doing client installations.
However, when I applied at Ataccama, I didn’t know that the position involved traveling, so it was quite a surprise when they told me that I’ll actually be traveling quite often for my job. And this is coming from somebody who was terrified of flights. When my parents would say, “Hey, let’s go on a vacation!” I would say, “No, it’s okay, I’ll stay here.” That’s how scared I was of flights!
What does your team do?
The Projects Team at Ataccama solves a client’s problems and ensures delivery from end-to-end.
Once a client is onboarded, they typically look for experts to help them in various ways. These can include:
- Enabling the client by training them on Ataccama
- Architecting the solution for their short and long-term strategy
- Leading and assisting the implementation of the solution
- Providing tuning and optimizations
- Ensuring that they have a point of contact going forward which allows us to cultivate a long-term relationship
How would you describe the culture of the Toronto team?
The one thing that makes our culture amazing is that anyone is approachable.
Everyone is here to help each other grow and is open to having a conversation. Regardless of someone’s title, they will make time for you if you ask.
What is a typical day like for you?
No day is typical for me but it varies from managing people, training or mentoring a team member, to introduction calls with newly onboarded clients, managing existing clients, and handling escalations on the fly.
I am always involved with managerial and technical duties. It includes me rolling up my sleeves and working on the implementation daily.
And what do you like about your job? What does consultancy mean to you?
So, the thing that I enjoy most is learning how different industries have different problems, and how to approach the solution. It’s never a cookie-cutter approach. In a given week or month, I may be working with telecommunication, and the next month I might switch to healthcare. Then, within those industries, they focus on different points. Some people will be focused on the patients’ information versus the customers’ information or corporate information. It’s always something different — as the saying goes in Ataccama, there’s always some sort of challenging fun here. That’s what makes me enjoy this job.
What was your most memorable project?
Within Ataccama, the project was one of our biggest health care companies in the US. I designed, implemented and saw the end result of the entire project.
What really made this memorable for me was that I was exposed to not just the technology, but the actual people using the final result. I was fortunate enough to personally meet the people who were getting the immediate relief of having the system work much smoother. It was a humbling experience, one where technology met humanity. It was at that moment it became very clear to me I was in the right company and role to get more exposure and opportunities like these.
So, you have Presales Consultants, Project Consultants, Solutions Consultants…What’s the biggest difference between your Project Consultancy and, for example, Presales Consultancy?
Okay, so with Presales, it’s all about onboarding a new customer, or trying to convince somebody to buy Ataccama’s product. The activities will vary from creating a demo, explaining, and guiding the customer how to use the tool and constantly working on POCs. They’re usually in a very fast-paced environment, where the customer will need to see that our platform’s compatible with their work.
On the flip side, the Project team is more focused on the end-to-end solution. Typically, this involves getting the solution plan in place, configuration and implementation of such plan and then wrapping up the project with a final demo with a knowledge transfer session. We always look at everything we create from a performance and efficiency perspective because this is something that’s going to be running every day for our enterprise customers.
The biggest difference I would consider between the two teams is trying to get something in a functional state to highlight a feature versus ensuring such features are at the most optimal state.
Who would be your ideal team member? What does a person need to succeed in your team?
We look for someone that is detail-oriented. A big part of being successful in a Project Team is the will to learn, and on top of that, being able to do research on your own. More than likely we’ll get a couple of projects each year with some sort of challenging technology that we may or may not have integrated with and it’s really up to us to find a way to make it work. That’s just one of the many skill sets that a person needs, but it is a foundational skill for becoming a successful Projects Consultant.
What would you say are theAtaccama ONE platform’s biggest strengths?
When I initially joined Ataccama, it was very clear that they were just entering the market. I come from a long history of working with startups, so I liked that mindset. I saw the different modules that Ataccama had and it was quite interesting that they had an in-house module specifically designed for each particular domain issue. As the years went by, I could see that management’s mindset was focused on taking over the rest of the data quality market. So we enhanced the Master Data Management tool, we started beating out the MDM vendors, we enhanced the Data Quality too. Now we’re starting to get into the mindset of showing better data visualizations. So the thing that’s really interesting here is that if there is a niche or a problem in the market, Ataccama tries to find a way to enter it in an easy way.
What’s your biggest challenge about your job today?
Yeah, the biggest challenge today is figuring out how to make everything work on the team. Initially, when I was here, I was in presales. I was known as the “firefighter” in North America, because if anything goes wrong, I was basically the guy they call to go and get results.
I was the one person that everyone trusted. The biggest challenge for me is that now I manage a team of 16 people. So I can’t rely on myself being everywhere at the same time — I have to trust the people on my team, train them well, and make sure that they can run the show as if I were there every single time. So the biggest challenge for me is training them up to speed and trusting them to be on their own.
Any team inside jokes or funny stories?
I think you would need to join us to find out!
But seriously, when I joined Ataccama many people knew I was frightened of heights and flying. When they found out about it, a few people were worried as the job entailed frequent traveling. One day, we had a post-conference party in Disney World Orlando and a coworker was determined to make me get over this fear. After having multiple back-and-forth debates, we somehow agreed to go on a ride that just kept spinning in mid-air (bear in mind, I was terrified of heights).
I have never screamed so loud in my life.
Once we came off the ride, we met up with a few colleagues later in the night and they asked us if they heard someone screaming. They had all heard the same person’s screams, and various people attending were also talking about it.
That person was me :)
Does life as an ATA Consultant sound awesome to you? Get in touch! We’re looking for talented junior and senior consultants in Toronto, Prague, London, and our other worldwide offices.