Grupo RBS details its 2-year data-driven journey

By Arthur Ruckert

Grupo RBS

Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil


In 2019, Grupo RBS began its journey of analytical transformation, seeking to create a data-driven culture focused on results. The programme is led by a centre of excellence (called the data team), which is responsible for democratising data, developing culture, and accelerating use cases.

In 2020, we are closing the second cycle of the programme. We have seen a significant change with financial and audience results. At each cycle, we update our specific objectives, but we always focus on our mission: Build a reliable and accessible data ecosystem, generate data insights and data products to drive business strategy, and accelerate results.

Integrating data within Grupo RBS has meant weaving data products and intelligence into the company culture.
Integrating data within Grupo RBS has meant weaving data products and intelligence into the company culture.

In the first year of our cycle (2019), we focused on team-building projects with investment in several actions:

  • Developing young talents: Analysing data requires deep technical knowledge, in addition to extensive business knowledge. To value our talent, we created a series of development programmes, which teach new languages and analysis techniques. At the end of each cycle, we encourage the applied use of new skills to utilise that knowledge.
  • Hiring new talent: Recognising a company’s people is essential. But, in the process of building a centre of excellence, it was also necessary to hire people with experience and technical knowledge. Our team was trained in business analysis, so our focus was on hiring data engineers and machine learning.
  • Defining the data technology stack: With hundreds of alternatives, our decision process involved tests, proofs of concept, conversations with other companies, and internal discussions. We analysed what was best for our goals and size, looking for serverless, highly scalable, operational and cost-effective solutions.
  • Empowering young leaders: With a tendency for the team to grow, it will be necessary to define leaders responsible for team development and to focus on results. Since the creation of the data team, we have identified potential future leaders. We created temporary positions with a focus on project leadership, allowing them to develop knowledge to assume future team leadership positions.
  • Positioning: A new team needs to integrate with the company before changing its culture. Since the creation of the data team, we have been working in line with the Grupo RBS agile model. Our data analysts are part of squads and highly connected to the goals of each group. This connection created in the squads remains our door to stimulate data culture.

In 2020, we started at another level with a developed team and a definition of the data technology stack. With an ongoing process, all of our 2019 focuses remain on our agenda, but we now have space to add new challenges.

In this sense, during the 2020 cycle we focused on building platforms and data products:

  • Building data platform: As part of our mission, we want to build an accessible and reliable data ecosystem for everyone. We are developing our data platform (nicknamed Kraken) with a cloud-based solution, which meets the requirements defined in the creation of the data stack. This objective had a high investment of time and resources, but it means an important change in the level of data maturity at RBS.
  • Migrating to the cloud: With the cloud-based data platform, all of our products have been migrated to this ecosystem. This change allows us to deliver more results faster. Process automation has been a key success factor, allowing the team to increase recurring deliveries without having to proportionally increase the number of people. The team is increasingly focused on results and not operational reports, models, and processes in general.
  • Implementing products vision: It is important to have an agile culture that is capable of delivering continuous value and maintaining a long-term focus. We started with three layers of products: statistical models, dataviz, and data platform. We recently added a new one referring to our data delivery platform. Our evolution is driven by business challenges and the strategic objectives of the data journey, allowing us to balance short- and long-term efforts.
  • Developing new products: To close 2020, we are finishing the implementation of the new data delivery platform. As a news media company, we need to fully understand the behaviour of our users, improve their experience, and monetise the business. Our new tool (dubbed ZenMetrics) allows us to capture more than 5 million events per day, in real-time streaming.

In the 2019/2020 cycle of our journey, we invested in the best people, correct architecture, and advanced methodologies while collecting important lessons for the next cycles. For 2021 and 2022 we have a vision to scale the data-driven culture and make it a market differential for the Grupo RBS.

About Arthur Ruckert

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