The pulse of innovation: Factry’s Data Engineering team in focus
Jolan De Cock on
The story of Factry’s Data Engineering team is one of transformation. As the company expanded, so did the challenges and opportunities, leading to the birth of a team uniquely equipped to handle the complexities of client needs, as well as modern data engineering. Meet the team, and discover how they keep our clients happy campers.
The baby everyone wanted
Factry’s Data Engineering team wasn’t conceived by accident. It evolved organically with the company’s expansion. “Our growth in projects and clients propelled the need for a specialised team”, Yves says. “From a startup where founders handled everything, we transformed to an agile workflow. The name ‘Data Engineering’ reflects our role in solving complex customer use cases.”
The faces behind the magic
“Each team member brings a unique set of skills and perspectives”, Yves continues. “Team Lead Jeroen, with his more business-oriented vibe, thinks in standardisations and feature enhancements. Sibe adds a deep layer of technical expertise, while Idil introduces a fusion of data science into the mix. Together, they drive new features and help shape our core products.”
Client communication takes centre stage in Factry’s customer data team, presenting a daily dance of support tickets, project work, combined with the inherent unpredictability of daily duties. “We all warned them this is not a job where you work on a project for six months”, Yves laughs. “You never really know exactly what you’ll be doing tomorrow. It’s an almost volatile job.”
In close proximity to clients, the Data Engineering team plays a crucial role as the ‘feelers’ of the company, acting as a vital link between internal operations and client needs. “Their close client interactions provide us with real-world feedback, which is crucial for anticipating customer needs, and tailoring our products and services to meet evolving market demands”, he says.
Daily team challenges
As one of the company’s three co-founders, Yves is well-aware of the complexity of customer support. Reflecting on the team’s biggest challenges, he emphasises the ever-changing nature of the job. “Incoming support tickets can alter your plans at any time, depending on their urgency. It takes perseverance and nerves of steel, but it’s also what keeps the job interesting.”
Data engineer Sibe has what it takes, and greatly values the ever-changing nature of his daily duties. “I might work on a large project one day and shift to support tickets the next. “It keeps things interesting. You’re not stuck on the same thing all day”, he says. Fellow Data Engineer Idil agrees: “Each day brings new interesting challenges and learning opportunities”.
“What is truly rewarding about the job is when we surpass a client’s expectations, offering something beyond what they had anticipated”, Jeroen states. “It’s fun when they are not only pleased with the solution, but also are inspired to explore new opportunities around it. In this way, you are able to contribute to a culture of continuous improvement for the customer.”
Deep-rooted in agile principles
Factry’s Data Engineering team operates on agile principles, offering autonomy and fostering responsibility. “We use a pulling mechanism for task allocation within a flexible workflow, allowing team members to choose tasks from a shared pool”, team lead Jeroen explains. “This method ensures transparency, and also eases the onboarding of new team members.”
“We’re fostering a culture of autonomy and responsibility”, Yves notes. “The idea is for the team to evolve into a fully independent unit capable of managing its tasks and operations efficiently.”
A culture of camaraderie
“This company feels like a community”, continues Idil, who has recently joined the Data Engineering team. “There’s absolutely no rigid distinction between teams. Collaboration flows seamlessly, and there's a sense of camaraderie.” Jeroen adds: “Our culture thrives on collaboration, with regular sessions to refine our internal processes, and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.”
“The developers use the same methodologies across different teams”, Sibe adds. “This allows for a seamless company workflow, and facilitates collaboration with product teams, especially in integrating client feature requests.”
A journey towards standardisation
The journey from manual compilation and configuration in Factry Historian’s early days to today’s streamlined process is remarkable. In the initial stages, each historian was meticulously assembled and configured by hand – a time-consuming process that reflected the startup ethos. “Today, installing Factry Historian with clients has become almost a one-click affair”, Idil says.
Peering into the future of installations, Jeroen envisions further simplification. “Looking ahead, we’re exploring options where historian installations become even more user-friendly, a future where a single executable file seamlessly deploys Factry Historian across different client systems. It’s all about providing autonomy to clients, allowing them to manage installations with ease.”
“We’re not just streamlining installations but also ensuring the scalability of our software”, Yves reflects on the broader impact. “With many corporate clients having numerous installations, efficient deployment of versions across systems is a priority. Our focus remains on making installations user-friendly while addressing the scalability needs of clients with multiple sites.”
What’s yet to come
“We anticipate significant growth in the coming years, with a focus on developing our team’s capabilities in alignment with client expansion”, Yves says. “We’re currently also enhancing our HR processes, by providing clearer job descriptions and career paths. Training is given to help team members evolve from junior to senior roles”.
“On a technical level, we are currently exploring integration with cloud services, supporting analytics and data science”, he envisions. “As we grow, the role of the Data Engineering team will only become more important.”
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