“Living in love with the things we do is an important part of happiness”. When Jose Oliveira, CEO of BI4ALL, started his professional journey, he wanted to do anything that made him happy. Finding his true passion for business intelligence, Jose catapulted the growth of the company to great heights in a few years. His enthusiasm and love for innovation urged him to think out of the box and explore the technological components of businesses.
BI4ALL is specialized in consulting services with excellent skills in Digital Transformation and Data Strategy, with a focus on Analytics, Big Data, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Data Visualizations, CPM and Software Engineering. Over the past few years, BI4ALL has been showing exceptional performance, easily proven by their its financial results. Created in 2004, BI4ALL has never seen its business grow less than double digits. In this exclusive interview, Jose shares with us the highlights of his success journey and the highs and lows of being a leader and a revolutionary CEO.
What were your dreams and aspirations while growing up? What led to the foundation of Bi4ALL?
BI4ALL emerged in 2004 from the need to create, not just another organization, but an organization like BI4ALL and to be a reference in the Business Intelligence area. I have always, together with partners Andro Moreira and Hugo Pinto, managed the organization with passion, commitment and enthusiasm to offer our clients, the most appropriate solutions for their business.
The close relationships that we have always maintained with our clients and partners have enabled BI4ALL to consolidate its notoriety and recognition over the years, so we have brought together, all the tools for creating complete and structured solutions, suitable for each business industry and every business reality.
There are countless benefits, direct and indirect, that our solutions can bring to organizations. Total control of information, combined with analytical data management, provides a huge variety of variables that help you choose the best path for a strategy. Knowing the organizations’ panorama from different perspectives makes the error significantly minimized.
Also, BI4ALL has always had a very people-oriented culture, promoting the family environment and proximity, but also giving them the knowledge and the best tools to do their work. The concern with our collaborators and knowing that they are satisfied with working with us is one of the BI4ALLs’ main strategic pillars.
Some key moments of BI4ALL are the expansion of our business internationally in 2006, the opening of Nearshore Centre in 2013, the opening of our office in Porto in 2018 and the beginning of the project for our new headquarters, BI4ALLs’ City in 2019, the same year that we completed 15 years of activity.
What were the initial challenges and setbacks that you faced and how did you overcome it?
At the beginning of our activity, I remember that when we went to a prospective customer, we needed to work hard to prove that the fact that we were small did not mean that we were not able to perform faster and better than large organizations. Moreover, the fact that we were small but with a high level of specialization was our competitive advantage. However, I recognize that delivering a project to a small company, to the detriment of a large company with a consolidated history, had to have a high level of trust and believe that we were better.
Along the way to success, BI4ALL has helped many customers to achieve their goals by providing the most powerful technologies to bridge the gap between their goals and the solutions needed to achieve them. Our first project was in a pharmaceutical company that remains our client until today.
The teams’ decision, combined with the audacity to seek the best solutions for clients, remains the basis that allows BI4ALL to be a reference in the area of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.
Was this always your field of interest?
Yes, it was. Since 1991, I have been working in these areas that used to be called decision support solutions. The name Business Intelligence appeared in 2001, and later in 2017, it moved to Business Analytics.
Let me tell you a funny story about my journey. From 1991 until 2000, I worked at a pharmaceutical multinational organization, first as a mainframe programmer, and in 1994 after a merger between two companies in the group, I started to manage all the multinationals’ information systems. Back then, decision support systems were very rudimentary. For instance, we were working on a CPM tool in which the process was as follows: We received a file via LutusNotes (email) to post values. After loading the data in that file, we sent out the same file via LotusNotes to the head office to be integrated with the rest of the group data. That CPM tool was called TM1. Today the TM1 after going through several additions, belongs to IBM and is one of our main planning and budgeting tools. All its essence is the same, but obviously, with several more features and updates. Therefore, you can imagine, if at the time I already worked and believed in multidimensional systems, imagine today.
Tell us in brief about the services of Bi4ALL
Since 2002, we have been focused on our clients’ success and have shared with them a knowledge of excellence, both in the technological and in the business component, allowing organizations to have competitive advantages by transforming their data into insights. We transform organizations of all dimensions into more agile and vigorous organizations that anticipate the unpredictable, adapt immediately to the market changes and are properly prepared to overcome the competition.
We develop and implement disruptive technology solutions that improve our clients’ productivity and efficiency. Through a unique experience and a vast knowledge of the several sectors of activity and business functions, we help organizations to prosper and improve the functioning of their business.
At BI4ALL we understand our clients’ needs and add real value to organizations through the expertise and mastery of powerful solutions, providing precious indicators for business.
To answer to market demands, we work with high-performance teams that have an excellent knowledge of our skills, passion for results, and develop an outstanding work onsite from our Nearshore Centre. At BI4ALL, we work with clients that define a successful future, and we are pride on a solid track record of successful projects which is reflected in the clients who have worked with us over the years.
How do you define the growth of the company over the past few years? (Can be explained with statistical data too)
In 2018, we achieved a business volume of 11,5 million euros, with a 28% increase in turnover compared to 2017. In particular, the national market maintained its preponderance, with a weight of 52% in the organizations’ global accounts and an absolute growth of more than 1,1 million euros, which represented an increase of 24% compared to the increase registered in 2017. In terms of the foreign market, Europe stands out, which has a weight of 22% on the international market and America and the rest of the world, represent a weight of 78% on the international market and 37% on the total market.
Although we have not released the 2019 results yet, we can say that the growth trend of the last few years has been maintained, consolidating our position in the national and international market. After more than 15 years of activity, BI4ALL is increasingly a synonym of quality, specialization and guarantee of results that sustain the success of our customers.
What is your vision for the company?
We want to offer value beyond expectations by providing innovative technologies and excellent services that enable and inspire customers to transform data into insights, consolidating the status of a reference organization in the industry where we operate.
The adoption of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence technological solutions allows organizations to be data-driven, this means, to be organizations where data are fundamental to the decision-making process, which have answers with greater precision and speed and higher agility in your processes.
In practice, we are talking about a good management capacity, well defined and well-founded, which attends as a starting point to respond to business challenges and gather the necessary conditions to highlight from the competition and achieve the best results.
At BI4ALL, we work with organizations from all industries, helping them in Digital Transformation and Data Strategy. Together, we create unique answers to the question of how technology drives the organizations’ growth, create new value, and maximize revenues and results.
Give us a brief of your life before Bi4ALL
Graduated in Business Management from ISLA – Higher Institute of Languages and Administration and Post-Graduation in E-Commerce from ISEG, I have started my professional career as Information Technology Manager at Rhône-Poulenc Agro Portugal for 10 years, then passing on to Aventis Crop Science and Sinfic, where I worked as a Business Unit Manager.
In 2004, I founded BI4ALL, of which I am CEO and responsible for the Business Development. I was a member of the installation committee of the Corporate Governance of the Iberian Institute in a partnership with ISEG and VdA. With over 25 years of experience in the areas of Management and IT, I am also the author of the books “Integrated Model for Efficient Management and Risk Control” and “Business Intelligence”.
I have always managed BI4ALL with effort, commitment and passion, with the aim to offering my clients the most appropriate solutions to make their business grow and having collaborators happy to be part of this large family.
Tell us about your roles and responsibilities as the CEO of Bi4ALL and how does it make you feel?
In an organization as the size of BI4ALL, I take over a role in the organization management and strategy. But every day is new in the organizations’ management. In organisations where the final product is services, the weight of employees is very large. People may be part of the gear, but they are human beings, with personal feelings and problems. Knowing how to manage these emotions and problems, whether through our HR structure or even CEOs that do this work, is an important part of an organization’s success. We can never neglect people because without them organizations have no life.
Manage and leading people has always been the most difficult part of an organization. Decision-makers must understand that with the growth of the business, the structure of resources necessary to always comply with final customers, must also grow and this has been BI4ALL’s path. It is also very important to know how to delegate, teaching the people to whom we are going to delegate our vision. We must do it with a lot of patience and dedication because that is the only way we can pass on our DNA to our collaborators.
What are your greatest achievements?
Firstly, having 5 children. Then on a personal level, I did the New York Marathon twice. Finally, having managed to take BI4ALL to the level of large companies with enormous success at all levels. For last but not the most important, is the creation of the BI4ALL City, which is currently being built, a space designed with the well-being of all collaborators in mind, with a gym, a filed prepared for several sports activities, a dining area, a room for training and conferences, lofts for clients and multi-purpose area with more than two thousand square meters…
How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life? Describe yourself in one word and tell us what inspires you?
For me, living the emotion of life is important. Living in love with the things we do is an important part of happiness. As such, I try to transmit that same emotion and passion to BI4ALL customers and collaborators every day. However, to be happy, we have to be very organized in our personal lives and transmit this relationship between happiness/responsibility to everyone around us (including customers). I also have learned that is important to work on our peace of mind so that we can transmit that tranquillity. This way, we can all live happily, fulfilling our goals by always doing things well. I truly believe that it is possible to combine the emotional side of life with the rational in everything we do. Only then does it make sense to do things.
What keeps you and your employees motivated?
BI4ALL has a very people-oriented culture, promoting the family environment and proximity, but also giving them the knowledge and the best tools to do their work. The concern with our collaborators and knowing that they are satisfied to working with us is one of the main strategic pillars of BI4ALL and, as such, the development of a set of internal actions which the main objective is to value our collaborators, that is, the team must be involved in the projects and have pride in belonging to the organization.
And in fact, it is very gratifying to watch the growth and development of the organization and collaborators, as well as the excellent group and sharing spirit that is lived here daily.
To respond to the challenges of an increasingly demanding and competitive economy, we have invested in continuous valuation and in hiring the best talent for our projects. The BI4ALL team is made up of highly qualified professionals with extensive experience in the technological field. We work with the best talents and all of our consultants are continuously trained and certified in the technologies they work with, gathering unique knowledge and vast experience in different business areas.
To retain the best talents, that are constantly harassed by larger organizations, it is only possible through a very people-oriented culture, promoting the family environment and proximity, but also giving them the knowledge and the best tools to do their work.
What does the future of Bi4ALL look like, globally? How do you plan to widespread the company services?
We want to continue to offer value beyond expectations by providing powerful technologies and excellent services that empower and inspire customers to transform data into insights, consolidating their status as a reference company in the sector in which we operate.
BI4ALL’s strategy for 2020 is based on three vectors: The first one is the constant excellence in the creation and development of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence skills and solutions, responding to the challenges that our customers and partners pose to us; the second one is the reinforcement and retention of the team, both in terms of the expertise of our people and in the number of employees that currently compose BI4ALL; and finally, we are also concentrated on increasing our presence to new international markets, strengthening our status as a trusted partner in Portugal and abroad in consulting services, with excellent skills in Digital Transformation and Data Strategy, with a focus on Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, particularly through our Nearshore Centre, which works for clients and projects worldwide, directly from Portugal, with a vast team fully directed, certified and qualified.
Throughout 2020 and in the next years to come, we want to continue to reinforce our strengths in the area of specialization we dominate, always keeping in mind the objective of continuing to grow and evolve our clients, nationally and internationally.
Jose’s focus has been to lead BI4ALL with commitment and determination, without ever losing his essence. With an accentuated level of growth year after year, the company has reached the established goals without giving up their way of being, always intending to offer their customers the most appropriate solutions to make their business grow.