Dutch BI & Data Science Award

The jury of the Dutch BI & Data Science Award 2021 has named Pon the “Smartest Organization in the Netherlands”. Pon left the National Police and the Eindhoven SpendLab behind in the final round. The jury found that the establishment of a central Datalab has enabled Pon’s management to realize a strongly data-driven and internal customer-oriented organizational culture. This resulted in a huge range of innovative data science projects, including a viable startup: Lensor. Read the full article below.


In the jury report, the jury of the Dutch BI & Data Science Award 2021 particularly praises the visionary view and the courage of the management of Pon Holdings to invest heavily in technology, people and resources without a business case and a detailed vision of the future. The established Datalab, which now has 17 FTEs, was given every opportunity to devise smart solutions for the various operating partnerships of Pon Holdings.

The jury is impressed by the maturity model for measuring data drive and the roadmap that has been drawn up to monitor the priorities and progress of the various data & analytics projects. According to the jury, this shows that management keeps a finger on the pulse and that innovation within the Datalab is algorithm-driven, but takes place in a responsible manner: phased and dosed. The same goes for the other two equal finalists, the Police and SpendLab.

Algorithms drive innovation

According to the jury, the management of Pon did not fall into the trap of pushing through a digital transformation top-down and organization-wide. Without fear of cold feet, the Datalab started pragmatically with the development of advanced algorithms from the cloud.

A concrete example is a machine learning model that predicts the sales potential for different car and bicycle brands in geographic regions. Maximum use was made of the power of external data and various algorithms, such as a forecasting and outlier algorithm, a production planning algorithm and a data cleaning algorithm.

According to the jury, with the establishment of the startup Lensor, the Datalab has proven that thinking out-of-the-box pays off. Lensor is now carrying out automatic damage detection on vehicles on behalf of a number of large external customers with 16 cameras and image recognition based on deep learning. This makes this necessary inspection process less labour-intensive and more accurate.

According to jury chairman Menno Lanting, the Datalab has delivered a particularly excellent performance, partly thanks to the confidence of Pon’s management.

Lanting: ‘While the concept of digital transformation is difficult for most organizations, Pon Holdings has proven that with a bold hands-on strategy and a sharp focus on internal customers, you can go a long way, without losing the having to turn the whole organization upside down or end up in a swamp.’

Bright future

According to the jury, the upcoming establishment of a new AI Lab (by analogy with the Pon Datalab) in collaboration with the Free University is “living proof” that Pon Holdings will not rest on its laurels after winning the Dutch BI & Data Science Award 2021. The expansion of a traineeship for talented data scientists and a training program focused on data & analytics only reinforces that impression. After all, for a mobility group, standstill is by definition regression.

N.B. Read the full jury report here or watch the full video.

The Dutch BI & Data Science Award has been awarded since 2004. Previous winners have included KPN Mobiel (2005), Ahold (2008), Diakonessenhuis (2009), Coolblue (2012), Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Brigade (2013), NHN Safety Region (2015) and Fietsenwinkel.nl (2017).