Meet Nathalie: "I’ve worked for a smaller company and for one of the Big Four. It is very clear that Datashift has the best of both worlds."

8 November 2022
Blog Image

Datashift keeps growing and attracting new talent, but now we want to put some of our more senior colleagues in the spotlight. Nathalie has been with Datashift since the beginning and was Datashift's second employee. In this interview with Nathalie, she talks about her decision to join and looks back on those first six years.

When exactly did you start? What made you decide to sign with Datashift?

"I started on August 1, 2016. There were a number of things that convinced me to sign with Datashift, but the biggest factor of which was Nico himself. Obviously because I have known him since 2007 when I took my first steps in the working life. I regularly worked with Nico as a colleague back then. Afterwards, we kept in touch when I was still working at Deloitte, where he left earlier to set up something of his own.

I wasn't actually looking for another job. I was comfortable where I was and could do my thing. What I did miss, was the connection with my colleagues because Deloitte is such a big company. When Nico asked if I was interested in joining Datashift, I said that I was happy at my current job. To which Nico asked, "Do you really have to wait until you are no longer satisfied to make that switch?". That got me thinking … and actually it's true, you don't necessarily have to stay put until you're no longer satisfied. Soon after, it was pretty much a done deal.

Looking back, I did trust Nico a bit blindly. My parents told me, you're crazy to work for such a small company. You're comfortable, you have a good job and a steady income. So why would you join a company that is still in the start-up phase. That never deterred me. I thought, I'll see where I’d end up, but I didn't feel I was taking a very big risk back then. I was confident that it was going to work out."

And what is now the common thread of the past 6 years at Datashift?

"I am still very happy that I made that decision. In the past, I’ve worked for a smaller company and for one of the Big Four. It is very clear that Datashift has the best of both worlds. On the one hand the team spirit and working on a common goal. There is zero competition among each other, which I really like. On the other hand, a lot of thought has gone into support. Every decision is made with growth in mind. From documentation to knowledge sharing and operational processes. You do notice that there is always more growth potential in the team. But this growth is not a goal in itself; the growth of Datashift is purely natural. Of course growing comes with the necessary pains and every now and then you have to stop and think. But this always went smooth, because Datashift has always been focused more on the team than purely on "the company needs to generate more revenue." "

In your job, what was the common thread there? How have you seen yourself evolve at Datashift?

Several things have evolved over the past 6 years. At one of our clients, I've been working since the beginning, a great long-term partnership. But you do notice that 6 years ago everything was more on premise. Now the focus is shifted by new technologies and other ways of working, such as cloud technologies.

At the same time, there are things that I focused on 10 years ago and still do now. You have to see what's best for the customer. Sometimes a client will say "we want A" but if you ask more questions, they actually want B. That still remains the focus as a good consultant: seeing that you're doing things with the right purpose and that you're really helping your clients move forwards. What technologies you use to do so is not the focus. You first try to understand the problem and how can we help. You keep that focus of work regardless of which customer, technology or way of working. That's always the common thread though.

How would you describe your role as an expert? Supporting the client, but also supporting colleagues at Datashift and passing on expertise?

"Indeed, seeing that you can pass on your knowledge to colleagues who have a little less or different experience, on the one hand coaching on technology and on the other hand soft skills to have, among other things, everything needed to effectively ask the right questions. Being critical of the things the customer is saying, asking the right questions and trying to keep a helicopter view. For me, being an expert is focusing more on certain technologies. For example, unlike a manager, I'm more concerned with content than making sure the right people get on a particular project. I'd rather be working on the data and the questions a customer is asking."

That gives you the most energy?

"Yes, indeed. Timing and budget are very important but for me, the most important thing is to see that you can add value with at clients and see them make progress. Optimizing processes, more efficient reporting when, for example, a client gains 2 or 3 days a month at the month end, is where I get my energy from."

What lessons have the years at Datashift taught you?

"I think there are several valuable lessons, but the best one is: "don't assume". Communication is key, within your own team, company and at the client. You have to be aligned of goals, expectations and means. So yes, that's the most important one, question everything."

Do you do that in your private life as well, questioning everything?

"I question more at work than in private, but overall, I like clearness. The main difference is that in my private life, other things depend on it. An appointment for example with a friend or deciding on who makes dinner that night or runs errands. If those arrangements aren’t met, it’s less of a problem than when working on a big project."

Suppose someone comes to you and asks why on earth should I start at Datashift?

"There are so many reasons. The team spirit, learning possibilities, cool projects, challenges. You spend a lot of time on your job when you work full time, so you better make the most out of it, at a place where you feel good and get the opportunities you need."

What is your fondest memory of your past years at Datashift?

"The year before Corona, Vanessa and I organized the Christmas party. We started brainstorming over some French fries after a Final Friday and worked out the whole concept that same night. Afterwards, we sent out a silly video with instructions to our colleagues. At the party a few weeks later, it was just great to see everyone’s creativity and commitment, which obviously resulted in a really fun Christmas party."