Pandata Group is happy to announce that Shay Rao has joined the company as a Managing Consultant. With his history as a contributor to and point person on many SAP data and analytics projects across a wide variety of industries, he is a natural choice to head Pandata Group’s SAP practice and keep us at the forefront of thought leadership in the space.

Shay is a rare leader who is also tasked with growing our footprint in Chicago. He will guide market development and account management for local clients, and will be responsible for the growth and direction of Pandata Group’s Chicago office.

We think you should get to know Shay and his role at Pandata Group. We’ve included a brief interview with him to highlight his goals, strategies, and the big picture perspective that he wants to deliver to local clients.

What area of the Pandata Group will you be focusing on?

Let me start by saying that I’m very excited to be joining the Pandata Group. I’ve known and worked with almost every current team member on previous projects/jobs. As a managing consultant in the Chicago office, I’ll be primarily responsible for building out and supplementing the SAP practices. The goal will be to expand Pandata Group’s capabilities with reference to SAP HANA, S/4, Analytics and Big Data. Along with strengthening the technology capabilities, I will also focus on Business Development for the Chicagoland market. It’s an exciting time to be joining Pandata. We have big plans for the coming years, and I’m ready to dive in and make a splash!

What makes you an ideal thought leader to drive this area expertise for clients?

I’ve been in the “BI” world for over 10 years now. I have had active roles in every part of various project implementations. While I’ve been part of many successful implementations, I’ve also gotten to see the other side of the coin. I think this puts me in a unique position to really understand the needs of our clients. Also, having been part of this world for over 10 years, I’ve seen the evolution of not only the technology but the philosophy of the BI world. I’ve had the privilege of working in multiple industries and feel that I can help provide successful solutions to all of our clients.

Who has influenced you in the past and how do you apply their teachings today?

Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work under and with many thought leaders in the BI space. From my early days at IBM, to Inforte, to EMD, to Pandata Group, I’ve worked with leaders of the industry. These are folks who live and breathe BI. I’ve been able incorporate their teachings along with my education at Northwestern University to develop a hybrid philosophy. I always look at situations as a cross between the ideal and practical. I truly believe that there is no blanket solution that fits all problems. Each specific client need has to have a solution that is based around guiding principles (the ideal) and what is feasible (the practical). To put it another way, in both professional and personal matters I try to apply the philosophy of Aristotle’s Golden Mean… to try and operate at a desirable mean between the extremes of excess and deficiency.

What is your focus in this role? Do you have any specific goals?

The primary focus will be to expand Pandata Group’s reach within the Chicago market. We want to be able to offer our clients a chance to work with top notch BI architects to help drive BI solutions based on new and emerging technology as well provide them with a trusted partner to help navigate the constantly changing BI Landscape. For Pandata, I want to help build out our team by recruiting and developing top tier talent and to expand our capabilities and offerings to our customers in the Midwest.

What is trending in our market, or the industry, that you are observing that clients can capitalize on?

It’s an exciting time to be in the BI world. Just in the past five years there have been an incredible number of changes, not only with technology but with the philosophy and attitude towards data and information. The big push in the market is towards big data and towards new and improved analytics. People want all of their data and they want it now and they want it in a way that is more useful! While these are great goals, we strive to keep this practical. Not everyone is ready to make a huge jump. Pandata Group wants to help our customers make a strategic and controlled jump into this field. SAP is rolling out new toolsets, and reporting in general has improved significantly across the market. New tools such as Tableau, and SAP’s HANA, Workday, and BusinessObjects Cloud are changing the landscape rapidly.

What can a client expect when working with you and your team?

First and foremost, any client of the Pandata Group can expect an honest and open relationship. I believe that trust is the single most important factor to success on any project (this also applies to my personal life). In every project there will be a time when opinions differ and other factors will play into decision making. Having an open relationship and open communication is the only way to carry on relationships. Another expectation that any client working with Pandata Group can have is that we will bring the sharpest minds to the table. Our team is composed of individuals that have on average over 10 years of experience in the industry. We’ll provide solutions that are based on our experiences and that will be practical to the clients. Lastly, our clients can expect that we have their interests at heart. My goal is to not just work on one-off projects. I’m looking to building sustainable relationships with my clients. I want to watch them grow and become successful. I want to help provide solutions that are robust and applicable over time.

If you’d like to learn more about how Shay and his team can help you take advantage of the information that’s critical to your organization’s success, you can contact him at