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Data warehouse helps IT manager gain elevation to CIO

Underlining the importance of big data in the corporate world, the creation of a data warehouse for a publicly listed dental company has played a major role in the firm's IT manager gaining promotion as its first chief information officer.

David Williams, who has been in the IT profession for 25 years and has been a contributor to iTWire for a long time, was elevated to the post of CIO at Pacific Smiles Group, which has 70 dental centres with plans for 12 more in the next financial year.

Williams (below, right) has worked as a sysadmin, developer, business analyst and filled many other roles before joining Pacific Smiles — a company started by three dentists in Newcastle a decade ago — in November 2015. 

He said that at the time he joined, there were 55 centres and a lot of disparate data floating around, but it was not easily accessible as a whole.

"Further, the back office functions were challenged by the scale at which the company was growing," Williams said. "These are issues I have tackled since arrival, with the implementation of a data warehouse and various other automations.

david williams"We are currently building a business intelligence platform on top of the data warehouse with much greater, far more timely, visualisations, dashboards, etc. to come."

Asked about the technology used to create the data warehouse, Williams said as the company’s primary patient management system was Windows-based, the solution was a combination of a custom C# application and an Azure SQL Server staging database.

"This data is being transformed into Azure Data Warehouse, then Power BI sits on top to deliver dashboards and visualisations," he added.

Announcing Williams' promotion, Pacific Smiles chief executive John Gibbs said: "In his relatively short time with Pacific Smiles, David has revolutionised our data and technology systems, saving hours of time from routine procedures and providing access to information that was previously hidden. 

"He has advanced major, company-transforming projects such as the data warehouse which will ultimately provide more timely and accurate information to staff and dentists throughout the whole organisation."

Williams held the post of CIO before this, having served in that role with Bluestone Global, a public company that went bust.

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.