Analytics: The Magnificent Seven – Darren Moffat (week 2)

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A critical element in every Analytics Leader’s success is their Mindset. Our Magnificent Seven series looks beyond the hype at the beliefs and behaviours that engender excellence.

Each episode of Analytics: The Magnificent Seven, will see Darren Moffat interview some of the industry’s top leaders to gain insight into their unique journeys and find out how they got to where they are in Analytics today.

This week, Darren Moffat talks to Denise Adams  – Head of Trading and Sales Reporting – BT Consumer

DM – How did you get started in Analytics?

DA – I always loved data and numbers but never knew roles like this existed until I started working at BT 20 years ago. I joined on a 2 week contract, hired to use my excel skills to automate their forecasting models, and it all started from there. I began looking after the MD’s scorecard results, developed a passion for “one-truth” reporting, and over time my responsibilities grew with my reputation, to ultimately support all of the business’ volumetric data.

DM -What do you enjoy most about your current role?

DA – Creating self-serve reporting solutions and seeing how this really does benefit a business. You are helping the business become more efficient by users helping themselves, answering their own questions, getting their own insights, as well as reducing demand into the reporting and insights team, who are no longer a bottleneck to getting the data the business needs.

DM -What has been your biggest success to date?

DA – Creating such a successful self-serve reporting capability. We deliver key headline stats to the business by 9am daily for the previous days’ results, and we have over 500 regular self-servers. But one of the key success points is that new products and changes are built into the system strategically from launch, without any manual reporting overhead. But, you could argue more importantly, we have proven that the data can be trusted – we have done this by consistently proving report quality and performing daily, customer-level data quality reconciliations.

DM – What has been your biggest challenge to date?

DA – Pricing reporting has been the biggest challenge, but I wonder if this is more challenging in the telecommunications industry, where competitive pressure has driven the need to be able to apply pricing overnight. Designing a standardised and consistent pricing measurement solution to meet this is a real challenge.

DM – How have you seen the industry change since you started?

DA – When I joined BT we only sold phone lines and we now sell all types of communication services. No longer the industry lead, we have had to adapt to respond to the competition and focus more on the fight to acquire (and retain) customers. The need to understand customer transactions, in details, and how to drive improvements in performance, has become a key business focus.

DM – What do you see for the future for analytics?

DA – The need for reporting data, insights and analytics has never ever been in more demand. Businesses understand how critical this is now to help them understand how their business is performing what changes need to be made. But this is really just the beginning of how businesses need to become more efficient with data – with the growth of AI and machine learning, designed to directly driving commercial decisions, actions and recommendations, the success of these is dependent on having robust quality data and proving they are driving improvements, through reporting and insights.

The need for reporting data, insights and analytics has never ever been in more demand. Businesses understand how critical this is now to help them understand how their business is performing what changes need to be made.

DM – What advice would you give anyone pursuing a career in Analytics?

DA – Never before has this part of the industry been so focused upon – and you can call it what you like: data, reporting, analysis, insights – it should be the same thing applied as needed.

Businesses are investing millions to implement effective BI solutions and self-serve platforms, to be able to truly commit to be a truly data-driven businesses. Cloud solutions are revolutionising how databases are created and perform, and there are more front-end BI tools than ever before, enabling quicker deliveries and immediate response times.

As a business analyst, you must keep up with technological advancements: keep your options open and understand how the core data needs to evolve to keep up. No tool is the right answer for long!

However, whilst the favoured tools provide an improved user experience, there is a risk of analysts creating multiple truths without a governed MIS infrastructure.