Listen to Christopher Wagner discuss paths into analytics, bridging the gap between technical and business aspects, and his experience working with business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing technologies such as Oracle and Microsoft Power BI. You also get to learn more about the evolution of Power BI and its interconnectivity. Chris also talks about the importance of enjoying what you do and having a passion for data and analytics.
Meet our Guest
Director of Data Solutions at Baker Tilly
Christopher Wagner is the Director of Data Solutions, Baker Tilly. Chris has been working in the Data and Analytics space for nearly 20 years. Chris has dedicated his professional career to making data and information accessible to the masses. A significant component in making data available is continually learning new things and teaching others from these experiences. To help people keep up with this ever-changing landscape, Chris frequently posts on LinkedIn, YouTube and to his blog on KratosBI.com.
I absolutely love the concept of the data mesh for people who are hub and spoke or whatever you wanna call it. But the reason for that, for people who aren’t familiar with what a data mesh is or hub and spoke model is, it is the organizations within your business who own, the business aspects, be it finance, be it operations, be it hr, sales, whatever, whichever group it is, they own and manage the data within their organization
I’d have a centralized team of people who are highly skilled and focused in that area to help design and build out those patterns. So that they could enable the other people across the business to follow them. So that the people who are in finance could just leverage that knowledge, or vice versa. If you’re in finance, how do you set up your accounts how do you set up and manage, the way you’re tracking sales or your expenses or whatever it is, right You have, you have that small team at that center who establishes those standards, and then everyone who comes in is able to draw from those patterns and take those and extend them to meet their needs
Dave Mariani: Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of AtScale’s Data-Driven Podcast. I’m Dave Mariani, your host, the CTO and Co-founder of AtScale. Today’s special guest is Chris Wagner. Chris Wagner is the Director of Data Solutions at Baker Tilly. So Chris, welcome to the podcast.
Chris Wagner: Hey Dave, thanks so much for having me. I’m absolutely obsessed with talking about this, so I cannot wait to get into it.
Dave Mariani: Me too, but hold your horses there, Chris Wagner. Before we dive in, I always like to find out more about our guests, their journey into analytics, and what led them to where they are today. It seems like there’s always an interesting path to reach this point. So I’d love to hear your story and also learn about Baker Tilly and the work you’re doing there, if you wouldn’t mind.
Chris Wagner: Sure. I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing what I love every day, surrounded by people who share the same passion. I’m happy to share my journey and help others along a similar path. I’ve always had an interest in data and analytics, even during my early days in the business world, where I worked in technical consultative sales. I found myself drawn to maximizing metrics and delving deep into analysis. While pursuing my degrees, I interviewed for a job as an application developer, but during the interview, the CTO realized it wasn’t the right fit and redirected me to their data team. That’s when I discovered business intelligence and analytics, which bridged my business background with my love for technology and data. As I worked on Oracle’s data warehouse and Hyperion Business Intelligence, I stumbled upon Microsoft’s MSBI and saw its potential. I shifted my career toward MSBI and later witnessed the evolution of Power BI. The strong foundation in business and my passion for data made it a natural progression for me to learn and excel in the field.
Dave Mariani: Wow, Chris, your story resonates with mine. I, too, came from a non-technical background and found the blend of business and data to be advantageous in my career. Understanding both sides creates a bridge between business and IT, especially in the data space where it plays a vital role.
Chris Wagner: Absolutely, Dave. Data acts as the glue that connects different aspects of a business and provides a holistic understanding of its operations. While specific applications serve their purposes, data and analytics allow us to bring diverse elements together and generate broad-scale insights.
Dave Mariani: Exactly, Chris. It’s like data serves as the lifeblood that brings businesses together, surpassing the limitations of individual applications or tasks. That’s where the value lies in combining business knowledge with analytical skills.
Chris Wagner: Spot on, Dave. Being able to stand in the gap between the business and IT, bridging those two worlds, is crucial for most organizations, particularly in their data space.
Dave Mariani: Agreed, Chris. The ability to bridge that gap and create a comprehensive understanding is paramount in today’s rapidly evolving career landscape. Careers are changing at a fast pace, and knowing oneself, identifying strengths, and leveraging them in innovative ways are key skills for the upcoming generation. Coding or specific technical skills may not be necessary for everyone. Finding what you’re good at, honing those skills, and seeing where your career takes you are essential.
Chris Wagner: Absolutely, Dave. The way we work is evolving rapidly, and adaptability is crucial. Knowing oneself, being passionate about what you do, and constantly improving are fundamental for a successful and fulfilling career.
Dave Mariani: Well said, Chris. Loving what you do is a game-changer. It makes work enjoyable and fuels continuous. And you get that exposure to different industries, different challenges, and you can bring that expertise and knowledge to each engagement and really help them navigate those complexities.
Chris Wagner: Absolutely, yeah. It’s so rewarding to be able to see the impact that we can have on organizations, helping them transform their data practices, optimize their analytics capabilities, and ultimately make better informed decisions. It’s a powerful thing to witness.
Dave Mariani: It really is. And I think that’s why we’re so passionate about what we do, Chris. We understand the value of data and analytics, and we’ve seen firsthand how it can drive growth and innovation for businesses. And I think that’s what keeps us going and continuously learning and adapting in this ever-evolving field.
Chris Wagner: Absolutely, Dave. It’s a field that never stops evolving, and that’s what makes it so exciting. There’s always something new to learn, new technologies to explore, and new possibilities to uncover. And being at the forefront of that is truly a privilege.
Dave Mariani: Couldn’t agree more, Chris. Well, it’s been a pleasure having you on the podcast today and hearing your insights and experiences. Thank you for sharing your journey and shedding light on the important work that Baker Tilly is doing in the data space. Any final thoughts or advice you’d like to share with our listeners?
Chris Wagner: Thank you, Dave. It’s been a pleasure being here. My final advice would be to embrace the power of data and analytics. Invest in developing your skills, stay curious, and never stop learning. Data is transforming industries, and those who can harness its potential will have a competitive advantage. So keep exploring, keep pushing the boundaries, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.
Dave Mariani: Well said, Chris. Thank you again for being our guest today. And to our listeners, thank you for tuning in to another episode of AtScale’s Data-driven podcast. Stay curious, keep learning, and until next time, take care.