Leading the analytic revolution – The difference between a developer and an analyst

The world is becoming more connected than ever before. After returning from the alteryx analytic conference, it got me thinking on my own personal journey into using alteryx and tableau to drive organizational change.


Training is a sharing of life experiences beyond the textbook material

More recently I was in Melbourne training new analysts and business users  into how to use both alteryx and tableau together. What I saw amazed me was that so many people out there were still struggling with reporting, still stuck in using Microsoft excel and Access to get data from source systems and spending all that effort to meet reporting deadlines when they should providing analysis and recommendations to improve business performance.

Companies often looking for ways to drive cost and performance improvements

In all my years of working, every single company  is looking to drive improved operational and financial performance. Yet there remains a huge opportunity to see or invest in the right areas. Years ago, we went through an offshoring wave in analytics as companies were looking to lower their cost structures through the use of cheaper labour offshore. ( Cost out strategy) While this may help improve financial performance in the short term, the lack of closeness to the business ( aka where the action since) means that a lot of effort is actually wasted and lost in translation. It often also translates to an offshore model which is not truely in sync with the rapid changes in businesses.


The old way – Order taking – A waste of time and resource

  1. Business analysts takes business requirements from business stakeholders who not quite sure what they need or want
  2. PM organizes resources like developer, testers, database access
  3. Developer attempts to build from business requirements ( this column vs that column)and based on their own interpretation gets it wrong or does not foresee data quality issues or data interpretation or business rules.
  4. Business users wait 2-3 weeks for first sprint to complete and discover it’s not quite correct
  5. Repeat
  6. Finally after [x] months business users get a working report however by that time aesthetic the business has changed or another question needs to be asked

What if companies simply empowered their onshore analysts with the rights tools, training and thinking ?

Firstly this would drive transformational change through the organization. analysts would spend more time thinking of ways to drive operational improvements instead of struggling with data mingling. business leaders would be more empowered to change and act faster in their business environments.


    The new way – Collaborative analysis between business leaders and analysts ( Empowerment and automation)

    1. Download alteryx and tableau [10 minutes]    
    2. Watch YouTube training video [20 min]
    3. Business leaders asking questions on operational performance – What’s going on with my sales? Which customers are unprofitable? Why do you think this is going on.
    4. Business analyst co-locates with business leaders and builds analysis within a few hours, calls meeting with line managers and offers insight into their business and suggestions on how to drive improved performance on sales / profitability. Notice how different this is to build in just a dashboard that looks pretty but doesn’t serve business value.
    5. Business asks the next question, analysts builds on earlier analysis within hours and calls meeting a few hours again.
    6. Business analysts attends alteryx + tableau training to further upskill.

    The key difference is using the new way anyone within the business can get answers to their questions by combining data themselves and then quickly using tableau as a visualizer to see if there’s anything going on in their business. In doing so, they make analysts more productive and streamline their businesses for greater agility and so gives themselves a competitive advantage.

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