Whether car camping in Namibia, speeding around Medemblik, or in his work at Omnia, Niels Botman, our Product Business Analyst, has a keen sense of adventure. In this month’s “Meet the Team,” you’ll get the chance to learn more about Niels and how he helps make sure Omnia’s product is constantly improving.
Hi Niels, how are you doing?
I’m fine, thanks.
Great. So to start, can you give a bit of background on yourself?
Yeah, so I came to Omnia three years ago. I did my studies in Marketing, and after I finished that up I went to work for one of the supermarket chains in the Netherlands, in the head office. I was there for a few years, and had the chance to work in several different commercial departments. I worked on the supermarket template, and how they build the formula of a supermarket, the merchandise, the assortment, all those things. I also did some category management in the same company, which was interesting.
However, after a while I decided I wanted to do something a bit more innovative. Supermarkets are quite conservative in what they do and in how new initiatives are introduced. And just in how things get done. But I wanted to be somewhere a bit more innovative. So I ended up joining Omnia as a Product Specialist a few years ago.
And what’s your role now?
I am a Product Business Analyst. I work within the Product team and, together with Berend, our Product Manager, I’m responsible for everything around the product and how we can improve it.
And this role is recent for you, right?
Yeah it is! In 2019 I actually resigned from the Product Specialist job so I could travel the world with my girlfriend for six months, which had been a dream of ours for years. When I got back to the Netherlands, I got back in touch with Sander and Haiko and they told me there was a nice role within the Product team that was open. It was a good fit for what I wanted to do — something more technical and innovative — so I rejoined Omnia.
Where did you go on your trip?
We started in Tanzania with my family, then myself and my girlfriend continued on to South Africa and Namibia, which was really cool. After that we went to Asia, then finally ended in Australia where we spent a month, I think.
Did you have the whole thing planned beforehand?
Nope, not really. We had the first couple of stops planned, but after that we just went with the flow of things.
And how do you like your role now?
I love it. I think the Product Specialist role was great for me in the beginning because I had no tech or software experience. I also learned a ton on the retail side and how our users interact with the product. I really learned the product inside and out and it paved the way to where I am now.
So what does your day look like?
Most days I start my days with a “daily startup” where I check in and make sure that everything is running properly. After that though, every day is different, so it’s hard to describe a “typical” day. It really depends on the projects we’re working on at the moment.
I think that’s a common thread at Omnia.
Definitely, but that’s also what makes it fun. For me at least. I like that there is a lot of variety and freedom to pursue opportunities and initiatives and that things are always changing. There’s tons of room for improvement and growth, so we’re always wondering what we can be doing better. I really like that part of the job.
What’s your favorite part of working at Omnia?
Well, what I just said is definitely a big part of it. I like that there’s lots of change all the time, both on the product side and the process side.
I also really like the freedom at Omnia. I like that I don’t need to ask anyone for time off if I need to go to a doctor’s appointment. I think we all work very hard, but we have the flexibility to go to an appointment and come back and finish up a little later, if need be.
Also, my colleagues are pretty cool. It’s a really international bunch. On the Development side of things we have people from four different continents on the team, which is awesome.
Okay Niels, last question. What do you do for fun outside of work?
Well, it’s a bit of a weird time to be asking that question since we’re in a pandemic and our movements are somewhat confined. But since the start of the pandemic I’ve gotten into cycling more, which is really fun! I’ve gotten pretty into it...I’m currently riding about 100 kilometers a week.
Grace Baldwin is a pricing and marketing specialist at Omnia Retail. Before Omnia, Grace gained experience in content management at EDIA and through a freelance content management business. She holds a B.A. in Government from Colby College.