Inside SVG: Nick Jianas, Business Intelligence
SVG loves data. It’s what drives everything we do—from sales to marketing to innovation. We’re always pushing for new and inventive ways to make every process better, faster, and smarter. Find out how our Business Intelligence team makes it happen.
What do you do at SVG?
I lead a team of business intelligence (BI) analysts that help sales managers use data to drive better performance. We work with each team to figure out any weak spots in their process and find ways to improve it and the business as a whole.
The BI team is special because we’ve got a lot of really smart people who know how to do a lot of cool stuff. We do a lot of programming and data visualization with Python and Tableau, but we don’t build models based on a set of pre-determined questions. We do all the research to create ideas first, find out what questions we need answered, and then build models around that.
Where were you before you got here?
Someone had given Jeffery [Anderson, CSO] my business card, so he called me out of the blue while I was working in insurance for another company. SVG was pretty new and had some questions about the insurance world I happened to know how to answer.
I don’t have a formal background in BI but I’ve learned a lot through being here and being curious about stuff. I actually started out as a sales manager, but I was really interested in the data behind everything my team was doing. I would always try and solve my own problems or fix the old phone system—which was probably pretty annoying. But Johnny [Hilgers, EVP Business Analytics] knew I was always asking a lot of questions, so eventually I moved over to the data side.
Johnny would ask me a lot of questions about data patterns they couldn’t explain. Since I had been a sales manager I had a lot of knowledge about the sales process and agent motivations. SVG sold the company I was selling for, and I actually left SVG for a few months to work at an IT company for a while, but eventually came back.
What made you want to stay at SVG?
I knew I wanted to work for Chris [Guilani, CEO] and Jeffery because they’re so willing to listen to new ideas. That’s something I haven’t found anywhere else. I liked that they asked me questions, listened, and actually applied the stuff we learned.
And that’s true everywhere at SVG, I see it all the time. Leadership is ready and willing to learn, and actually act on what we find out. We’re not an organization that’s afraid to try new things or fail a few times before we get it right. I think that’s helped us move a lot faster than we would otherwise and is a huge reason we’ve been able to grow so much so fast.
The organization as a whole is much more flat than other places I’ve worked. There’s far less red tape. You can talk to anyone, ask questions, make suggestions, and see real change. It doesn’t matter what your title is or how long you’ve been here. We have a lot of trust to test and try things, and if it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. We just try something else until we get it right.
Plus, we’re encouraged to learn and grow our skills all the time. I’m actually taking the rest of this week to take a Tableau class at KU. Any books or programs I want to try are made available to me, and that support isn’t something I’ve found anywhere else.