Gone are the days when working with data was considered a bit dull. Data visualisation specialists like Datacom’s Jacob Rothemund are transforming the way we perceive and interact with information, making it engaging, accessible and even fun. 

Jacob and his colleagues in Datacom’s Data and Analytics practice are a group of talented people who use technology to create reports, interactive dashboards and infographics made up of different types of visualisations in the form of charts, graphs and maps, that help people understand and interpret information more easily. Their aim is to help businesses and individuals make sense of their data, to identify patterns, trends and insights, understand key metrics, by communicating information in a clear and visually appealing way. 

“I’m currently building dashboards to give customers insights into how their business is using applications within the Microsoft 365 suite, such as Teams and OneDrive” says Jacob. “In the past, and even now, lots of people are still trying to identify insights looking at plain tables of data in Excel, but with visualisation platforms such as Tableau and Power BI, we have the ability to represent things more visually to tell a story. It helps them and their audience understand the data more quickly and identify trends.”  

Portrait of Jacob Rothemund smiling and wearing suit in office setting, standing against blurred background of cityscape outside of window
Jacob and his team transform data into stories using visualisation tools, to help people more effectively understand it.

Scroll down to explore a fully interactive data visualisation.

Another of Jacob’s dashboards tracks Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for contact centre staff, rolling up to managers and the contact centre as a whole. These dashboards help managers understand variances in employee performance so they can support and coach where needed, with the goal that customers receive consistent service across the contact centre.  

“A big focus for us over the last six months has been rebuilding and standardising the design of dashboards across different teams, using new features in tools, and skills learnt since the dashboards were originally implemented.” 

But creating dashboards and other interactive visualisations isn’t merely about making something look pretty and eye-catching. There’s a lot more involved than just graphic design, explains Jacob. 

“We follow various rules and best practices, which are important in creating something that’s visually appealing, functional and tells a story. It’s about guiding the viewer through the data and using visualisation to support key messages. You also need to consider who your audience is and ensure the visualisation is appropriate for their needs. Sure, you can make something colourful and your users might tell you they find that appealing, but if you overuse colour, for example, you can dilute the message.” 

Jacob sets the standard, ensuring everyone is producing consistent quality content. His work not only helps Datacom clients understand their data, but the Data and Analytics practice also provides services to other teams within the organisation.  

“If people need to work with data but it’s not their primary role, we’re available to help them,” explains Jacob. “They might need to create a chart to communicate something to a client or their manager – we can work with them to achieve that.” 

Upskilling Datacom staff is an extension of that work. 

“One of the most satisfying aspects of my role is teaching others, giving them advice, and providing feedback on what they create. I really enjoy helping people come up with new ideas to get a better result, and working with them to make sure they’re answering the right questions and producing visualisations that are relevant.” 

The Data and Analytics team is part of Datacom’s growing Professional Services division, building leading-edge platforms and solutions for a wide range of customers.  

“Careerwise, I never saw myself doing anything with data,” notes Jacob. “It wasn’t on my radar, but Datacom gave me the opportunity to learn, and to build and develop my skills in this area. It’s a very supportive and flexible organisation.” 

Jacob has been with Datacom for more than 16 years, working in a number of different tech-related capacities.   

Having studied IT, he imagined himself in a role building networks, and in his first job he found himself providing technical support in Datacom’s contact centre, thinking it would be a stepping stone into a more technical role. Jacob says it opened up his whole career, as he went on to work as a business analyst, tracking performance metrics and building reports for the wider team. He also worked in social media analytics, tracking online sentiment towards Datacom clients to see how their messaging was resonating with the public. From 2014, Jacob began working with Tableau, enabling him to really kick-start his journey to specialising in data visualisation. 

The experience of having worked across a number of disciplines at Datacom is a real advantage that Jacob brings to all the work he does for both clients and internal teams.   

Having become an expert in the Tableau software used to create visualisations, Jacob is now spending time working in Power BI to broaden his skills and knowledge and ensure he can support customers regardless of the BI (Business Intelligence) platform. He enjoys being part of the supportive online data visualisation community (#datafam on socials), sharing tips and his visualisations on social platforms, and provides support through various channels online. In late 2023, together with his manager, Phong Bui, he presented at VizIt Sydney, the Tableau Community Conference, where they spoke about curating content and empowering other Datacom employees to become visualisation creators.  

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