It’s 20 years since Google was launched, the Euro was agreed, and the Three Tenors sang at the World Cup opening ceremony. That was also the year (1998) when we launched what became SQLTreeo, although some of the team had been working with databases for years before that. Yet, we’re all still as passionate about databases as we were all those years ago. While celebrating our success, we also asked SQLTreeo’s COO, René Schreuder to reflect on what drives us, why we do what we do, and what the future holds. Q: How do you keep everyone enthused when they’ve been working in the same field for so long? A motivated team is important in any business, but that’s the easiest part of my job. Because, for database professionals, no two days are ever the same. It’s such a dynamic sector. There are always new issues to solve and new approaches to try. We are constantly asking ourselves ‘why is that happening?’ and ‘what can I do about it?’ Our job is to drill down into the problem, analyze it step-by-step and come up with programmatic solutions or process changes to solve it. It’s a real intellectual challenge. And, every customer has different needs, so we’re never solving the same problem in exactly the same way. That’s good, because the team thrives on variety. Q: Do you have a particular sector you prefer to work in? Not really. We work with everyone from call centers and insurance and energy companies, to government departments and the maritime industry. Every customer is interesting in the way they approach a problem or business need. Sometimes an IT manager will need a particular set of data or maybe a finance director will need bespoke financial reports. They are all completely different. That’s why it’s so much fun to work with databases. Q: What’s the most important character trait you need to work with databases? Curiosity. Many people are surprized by that answer because they assume I’ll recite a list of technical skills and qualifications. Those are important of course, but curiosity is more important. You have to be the type of person who relishes looking at problems from every angle. We also spend a lot of time listening to people to understand exactly what their business issues and needs are. We want to know how they are approaching their markets and how we can make their life easier. This is a people business. Sometimes that is forgotten in all the talk about programming languages and other industry jargon. But we always want to talk to the people behind the data issues. Q: What makes you most proud to be involved in the database industry? We benefit society in so many ways. Engineers are celebrated when they build big infrastructure projects. And, rightly so. But in this job we protect one of our society’s most important assets; our data. On a personal level, we all want to feel that the confidential information we give to banks, healthcare providers or other companies is safe. And, for businesses, if they don’t get this right it’s a disaster. Data security is a huge responsibility and one we take very seriously. Q: Where do you see the big opportunities in the next five years? Technology never stands still and we have to ensure we stay relevant. We are always looking at ways to make data more secure and give more efficient data access. We also work in partnership with our customers to develop new data management approaches that will help them meet their business challenges. The Internet of Things (IOT) is booming and that means even more data management and reporting will be needed. Data’s like water. It never stops and it doesn’t stand still. But, that’s why it’s such a great industry to work in. However, this is creating a big issue, in that many companies are becoming overwhelmed with data. They have so much data, they don’t know how to make the most of it. We are developing tools that will make data management easier and more intuitive. In the database world, there’s always more interesting things to discover. The SQLTreeo team are happy to answer any questions you have about how we can help your business manage and optimize your databases. You can contact us here.