Cape Town-based business intelligence manager Zaytoon Zoutenberg analyses data to provide insights that improve teams’ efficiency and performance. 

Tell us what business intelligence (BI) entails.

I started out doing analysis, when BI was a new trend, known as statistical sciences; it morphed into BI and has since progressed even further, into artificial intelligence and machine learning. Basic reporting has become reporting on another level, providing insights and even recommendations. Essentially, you’re analysing data to advise users on what to do next.

And what’s your role in the process?

My focus is on systems integration, identifying opportunities to work more efficiently and optimising performance through automation and integration. I normally build teams that focus on coding for various systems, and then I provide insight into how the whole thing comes together to enable businesses to perform better. It’s my passion, although getting excited about data is probably a special gift!

What do you do at BOOST&Co?

I’m BOOST&Co’s business intelligence manager. I’m developing the best possible system to support the company: if we streamline our processes, the data we produce will be even more clean and efficient, helping us to make better decisions and saving time for everyone in the team. It’s about performance as well as productivity.

What appealed to you about working here?

In many companies, people aren’t excited about change, which defeats what I do, because that’s my core role. But when I met Lance [Mysyrowicz, BOOST&Co’s partner] and Dunya [Ansems, portfolio director], they had so much energy and interest in improving efficiency and performance. And when I saw BOOST&Co’s website, I thought: ‘These people are cool – I want to be there.’”

Which item can you not work without?

My phone. If I lost it, I’d be clueless about when my next meeting was, how much money I had left to spend, how to navigate to somewhere I don’t know… it’s essential.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I love hiking and going on walks to the beach. I have a big family – four children – and we love being outdoors, so the lockdown [during the coronavirus pandemic] has been difficult. Now and then, I just want to be able to drive to the beach, open the window and get a sniff of the fresh air.

What’s on your bucket list?

Before the lockdown, I would have said quality time and trips away with my family, but right now, I need time on my own and a vacation away from the family! I’d love to visit the Seven Wonders of the World with them, though; this period has made me realise how much we enjoy being able to explore.

Given £100m to spend or invest, what’s the first thing you would do?

I’d buy a little smallholding close to the beach. I’d also put some money into a non-profit organisation called A 2 Z Helping Hands, which I founded in August 2017. With the help of volunteers, external funders and my partner, we run school vacation programmes teaching technology and life skills to young people from poverty-stricken backgrounds. Around 1,000 kids took part in our most recent programme, in December 2019, and we’ve had some real success stories. It’s very fulfilling work.

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