Meet a wetransformer – Akshat Bajaj, Marketing Manager
During this series, we are looking to show off the many different humans who work at wetransform, as well as take the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.
Please, introduce yourself.
I’m Akshat, wetransform's Marketing Manager. I originally "hale" from India (sorry, I couldn't not make that pun), did my bachelors in Canada, and finally moved to Germany in order to work at wetransform back in 2017. You can probably already tell by that background that I love exploring different cultures – I also have a passion for technology and start-ups, and have been working at start-ups since I was 17.
I found out about a marketing internship at wetransform towards the end of my bachelors degree. The combination of an early-stage start-up, coupled with the scientific excellence of the Fraunhofer Institute made wetransform (a Fraunhofer spin-off) a great place for me to kick-start my career.
My original plan was to stay for 6 months, but the impact of the work we do digitizing public sector organizations, combined with a steep learning curve made me change my plans pretty fast!
Being here also allowed me to learn more about German culture. Between professional experiences like participating in consensus-based decision making and culinary experiences like the Berlin döner, my perspectives have been continuously challenged and I’ve learned a lot from the collaborative frictions that arise when people from different backgrounds interact!
My role revolves around marketing and early-stage business development. As it spans both Sales and Marketing in a small company, I act as quite the generalist; everyday tasks can range from conducting analyses and creating marketing strategies, to calling potential clients to understand their preferences and challenges.
What do you like to do on your time off?
I love football – another good reason to be in Germany! In the past year I had a small side-gig as a football coach in the Verbandsliga in Berlin. On the weekends, you can usually find me playing in the fields of Friedrichshain or in the gym.
Apart from that, I’m also an avid reader, and enjoy reading sci-fi and business books. Most recently, I’ve been reading, “The Phoenix Project”, which draws strong parallels between IT operations management and large-scale product manufacturing – it’s really interesting and has definitely given me a newfound sense of admiration of how well IT operations work at our own organization, especially since we handle 1mn+ datasets through a small team!
As a Marketing Manager, what kind of challenges do you tackle at work?
On the marketing side, the challenge is to figure out which operational tasks to focus on for wetransform to achieve its strategic goals, even with limited resources. As someone who wears a lot of hats, the most common challenge is understanding trade-offs and pin-pointing where to allocate my own resources in a way that supports our business at large.
On the business development side, the challenge lies around finding the best way to map our products (chiefly hale»studio and hale»connect) and services to the customers’ workflows and pain-points. Since our core market contains 20+ countries, each with unique tendering processes and capacities to perform the task at hand, it’s important for us to gauge exactly what the customer needs. Based on that need, we look into the solutions we can provide to them, and which transactional costs are involved.
What is something about your job that you keep having to explain to people?
(laughs) The question that I get fairly often is what exactly does wetransform do. Puzzled glances in response to hearing the words "GIS open data standardization" are quite common. But to put it simply, we work with public sector authorities to improve their geodata quality, in order to make the data more exchangeable, usable, or useful. Such improvements ultimately aid the authorities to make data-driven decisions on mission-critical topics such as climate policy.
What excites you the most about work?
There are two things.
The first is the challenge of learning more about complex technologies and implementing this knowledge in a manner that’s useful for our business.
The second is the opportunity to interact with diverse stakeholders – it’s always eye-opening for me to see how differently business is done in a place like Germany than in a place like Greece, and how differently a software engineer approaches a problem than a marketer.
What has been your favourite moment at wetransform?
That has to be my first offsite workshop in Sonderdach, Austria, back in January 2018. It was my first offsite workshop ever, and it was a great to dive deep into high-level strategic topics and learn more business level goals. It helped me understand how different teams are interdependent and where each piece of the puzzle fits in.
Also, the Austrian Alps were absolutely stunning! I think it was the very first time I went sledding, in spite of living in Canada for 4 years.
What's your dream for wetransform?
The first thing I dream of is for us to become the to go-to guys for all tasks across data standardization, encompassing all open standards. We already do this to a large degree in the INSPIRE and XPlanung domains, and I would love for us to have a stronger foothold on other standards such as the Air Quality Directive.
The second thing I’d wish for in the coming years, is that we help organizations extract more value out of this data. This can be done through initiatives such as Data Spaces and supporting OGC APIs.
If you're interested in working at wetransform, check out our careers page!