Van Zyl Brink - Senior Consultant and Project Manager at CortellVan Zyl Brink (LinkedIn page) is a senior consultant and project manager focusing mainly in the financial and mining sectors and specialising in IBM’s Cognos TM1 product.

Born in the Eastern Cape, Van Zyl graduated with his honors in Management Accounting before joining Cortell straight from university, where he has been for the past five years.

“My financial background and qualifications allow me to easily establish the client’s needs straight away through initial conversations,” says Brink, “although I also have extensive knowledge of IBM Cognos TM1. This knowledge allows me to easily integrate a specific solution for the client that they can actually apply in a far better way than the old Excel methods. I feel that it’s this combination of IT skills and financial knowledge that help me succeed in both project management and consulting.

Cognos TM1

TM1 is the tool he uses most to do analysis and to identify certain sets of needs from the client. These needs include the problems they encounter with the data – for example, how results are calculated and how data is shared. Important to the success of implementing Cognos TM1 is the project management side, which relies heavily on client relations.

“One needs to ensure that all requirements have been identified, drafted and communicated. This lends to all projects being run on a tight cost-quality-time ratio, the result being acceptable to the clients and us at Cortell. A lot of the expectations and deliverables rely heavily on the past experiences with other clients, but this experience only allows us as consultants to deliver better products and services for each new project and client.”

However, Van Zyl’s focus isn’t solely in the financial sector. TM1 is such an adaptable product that it allows him to do ad-hoc, smaller based projects aren’t necessarily budgeting- and forecasting-based. TM1 can be applied across any industry, and fits the needs of various clients within any organisation.

“Cortell are South Africa’s longest running implementers of the IBM Cognos TM1 product, and are seen as leaders in specific and specialised industries like mining, financial services and industrial sectors,” he says. “This means we offer the market broad-based industry experience with specialised consultants.”

Looking to the future, Cortell and its team of experienced and knowledgeable performance management consultants will continue to aim to provide total value-add to clients and their specific needs.

Van Zyl @ Cortell

When asked about the company’s culture and structures, Van Zyl says:

“Cortell has been my reference point since coming here straight out of university. The Cortell environment and management are, for me, the main reasons why I am still here and believe I have great future ahead. The management support is fantastic, in that they tend to give you the room you need to learn and develop, but they’re also there to assist and help you develop the necessary skills required to excel – no pun intended. ”

“The Cortell culture has allowed all of us to grow together and become a close-knit group.”


You can read our previous interview with Operations Manager Sanet Orton here.