Adrenaline & team spirit move mountains

Saar Gillis, Data Intelligence Architect

Saar Gillis works as a Solution & Presales Architect within data solutions and specializes in PowerBI. We asked her, what makes her job so fascinating.

A chat with Saar

  • You work as a  Solution & Presales architect at Cegeka, what do you like about your job so much?
I like the variety of selling a project on the one hand and thinking about which solution is suitable for the needs of the potential customer and then putting together a team with suitable profiles to successfully complete a new project on the other. On the other hand, it is nice to be active on a certain project for a longer period of time and to set out the lines, while you dive into the customer's business together with the team and thereby shape the sold solution within the project.

The combination of both is enormously rewarding: In a sales trajectory you have to investigate specific questions / problems and demonstrate how we can meet a potential customer's needs / requirements. For this you need to have a good view on the components that are available in the market and to keep up you need to research new technologies regularly. It is sometimes challenging to have everything cleared by a deadline, but the adrenaline & team spirit make mountains move! The data and AI world offer new opportunities, new stories every day.


When executing the actual project, it is always nice to install a well-oiled 'factory' with the colleagues, where analysis from the business analyst can flow through to the developer(s) and therefore deliver quality for the customer. This hands-on experience is very valuable, because in this way you learn to know the possible advantages or disadvantages of a tool and you learn to deal with possible limitations - this information can later be used again in a sales process.

  • So are you also part of the sales team?

I am indeed part of the sales team and have set aside a fixed slot in my calendar each week for this purpose. We have monthly meetings, which give us a view of the entire sales pipeline and allow us to align with the various presales architects on the proposed solutions and challenge them.


  • What is your specialization?

My specialization is Power BI. As Power BI Competence Center Lead within the Cegeka Data Solutions Team, I take care of the knowledge sharing of Power BI related issues. I support colleagues in more complex Power BI cases - ranging from security to governance or specific DAX calculations.


  • Are you still technically involved yourself?

I am mainly involved conceptually. Within the Cegeka Data Solutions team we have a Reference Architecture on Azure, which has been set up for several of our customers. I certainly know the concepts and I can talk along with our developers, but I no longer know in detail which settings there are or what they are used for. I can also talk to the business, I am mainly the glue between business & development. I can translate what people want and I can explain to the developers how that should be implemented technically. To be able to quickly speak the same language with the business I make prototypes, where a subset of data is loaded into PowerBI so you can quickly visualize in a report. That's by far the most hands-on technical thing I still do.


  • How would you describe the team culture? 

I have been working in the Cegeka Data Solutions team for more than 5 years now. I have had the opportunity to work with many people and I find it very exciting to be able to discover the many talents of the different colleagues. Meanwhile, I have a pretty good idea of who can do what & who I can approach if I don't know something myself. They are all very driven data enthusiasts. I have never been in a team with so many Microsoft BI specialists. The colleagues are very accessible and helpful. We recently chose a name for our team with a matching logo! 'DataZillas'.

  • Why do you think people should choose your job?

If you like variation and you want to be up to date with what the data market is asking for, and furthermore you like coming up with an appropriate architecture, then you belong in our presales team!


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