How to Deliver Business Value with Data Analytics?

/ / Leadership

It is time for data analysts to rethink their roles in the workplace…

As we step into the 2020s decade, the World Economic Forum listed the data analyst as one of the most in-demand job categories across all industries in the U.S.

So, why do businesses need a data analyst?

How can data analytics provide business value to organizations?

While the management team is considering — Is data analytics adding business value for us?

🔔 It is time for data analysts to rethink their roles in the workplace…

The role of a data analyst in a company is sometimes hard to define. A lot of people view a data analyst as a role similar to a technical engineer.

However, the job is more than coding. Data analysts are also responsible for creating and evaluating business strategy and marketing campaigns.

As a data analyst, you work collaboratively to complement the needs of multiple departments.

💭 When thinking about career growth, you may wonder — how to demonstrate and prove your value as an analyst to the business?

Focusing on this question, FocusKPI hosted our first analytics forum of 2020 in our Boston office on February 22.

We invited three industry leaders to share their knowledge and experience on the following topics:

🔸 Core competency: delivering business value with analytics

🔸 Must-have soft skills: teamwork and communication

🔸 Career development: trends in the job market and advice to new grads & junior analysts

Our Speakers

Anupam Mishra, the Director of Digital Analytics at Chewy, an M.B.A. alumnus of The University of Chicago, has been in the data analytics and consulting industry for over 20 years.

Anhai Jin, the Director of Data Science at TTEC, Cornell University MS in Applied Statistics alumnus, has worked in data science for over 10 years.

Dr. Jundong Song, a Harvard Business School alumnus, has been in the data and analytics consulting for over 20 years across retail verticals, leading functions of data management, business intelligence, analytics, data science, and enabling technologies at Valassis Communications, 89 Degrees, and Symphony EYC.

Our Moderator

Peter Zhu, Founder & Chairman of FocusKPI Inc., the general partner of Boston Angel Club Investment, has been in the business consulting and data analytics industry for over 20 years.

🔔 How to use analytics to bring measurable business value?

How do you create business value from analytics?

From the perspective of a long-term relationship with business, first, you should identify the problem your company wants to solve before building models and running data.

Secondly, focus on how to explain what you are seeing after identifying a business problem. Whether it’s a segmentation model or a linear regression model, make sure your message is well delivered.

You should translate the data and communicate in a way that can be followed by different departments such as marketing, IT, and business development.

Try to talk in their language by the knowledge in their fields.

Thirdly, build the analysis process in a repeatable manner.

The best practices are processes that can be done again and again.

🔸Having a working understanding of other departments will give you broader-picture insights into the business of your company

🔸Use the projects you work on to complement the needs of each department

🔔 Must-have soft skills: teamwork and communication

1)How to handle the relationship with your co-workers, competition or cooperation?

Don’t take aggressive or ambitious colleagues too personally. Think about the atmosphere that you feel from the team, and try to make your competition more positive.

Instead of judging others, learn from your colleagues and managers, set up a more open-minded coffee conversation with them.

In terms of the conflict with a coworker, you’d better talk with the coworker first, instead of reporting the situation to your manager. Communication is the way to solve that.

Having a coffee with the person, but you’d better not start with that topic, instead, start your conversation like this, “How do you feel about our work lately? I can do something to improve the situation, you know, we are a team”.

2)How to impress your manager?

From the perspective of a manager, I would categorize employees into two types.

There is this kind of employee that I value their loyalty and want to keep them in my team to make sure the team is stable. This type of employee forms 80% of the team.

On a daily basis, the projects are not very challenging. But when you have a very challenging task that needs to be done within a limited timeframe, the team needs a special force.

So here comes the other type of employee who is competitive, and they can deliver technical or hard skills to complete the tough task.

For the second type of employee, the bond is not about loyalty, but what I’m asking from them and what they expect me to deliver to them.

For the first type, managers do not want any changes from them. If you expect more from your manager, try to be the second type.

Because if you are so competitive and outstanding, the manager is more likely to listen to you. I’m not saying that if you are the first type, the manager won’t listen to you. The manager will still talk to you, but their willingness is all depending on what they can get from their employees.

So just think about that mechanism and make sure that you always have some negotiable points that you can demonstrate.

That’s what you need to build up in your career. You should think about what type of employees, what type of roles that you want to become in your team, and what are the skills that can back you up in the negotiation.

After all, it’s a two-way demanding process:

🔸 You deliver your skillset and make yourself more marketable.

🔸 In return, you need to reserve what your manager can deliver to you, like more project opportunities.

So you are making sure that this relationship is healthy and strong.

🔔 Career development: advice on job hunting and trends in the job market

1)How to find your fist job in the analytics field?

In the job market, what we see is that companies have demands for data scientists and data analysts. But they have a demand for talents with some sort of experience.

For students who just get out of school. That’s kind of a place where you need more work, like gain some experience from research projects and school projects to prove that you have the required skills, like coding.

Participate in some real projects and gain your experience by conducting these projects.

The first job is hard, and you just need this one job, then you’ll be fine.

2)How to gain promotion opportunities as a junior analyst?

For junior professionals who are already in this environment, maybe your work in the team is just basically running some reports.

Still, you need to get exposure to some cool projects that really give your hands-on skills.

3)What would the analytics field be in Five Years?

I see three things happening. One is, you will get a lot more data from online sources. If we compare online shopping with shopping in stores, when somebody buys a product in a store, there will be a receipt, which is a very limited amount of data. If somebody purchases a product online for the same purchase activity, the amount of data we capture is like 100–200 times. So every time somebody goes online, you will capture 300–400 events. For each event, you will capture 10 or 20 attributes.

Secondly, there could be more open opportunities regarding the applications of big data across industries. Some industries have done better in the use of data to achieve business goals, for example, the retail and entertainment industries. But we have also seen some industries that are left behind, such as healthcare, education, and insurance. I see them catching up, especially healthcare. If they catch up, there is a big opportunity for them and data scientists and analysts.

Thirdly, outsourcing will become a commodity. The workforce in countries like India and China will do simple work like running a Python modeling, and professionals in the US will be forced to do higher-level tasks. And this is not a new thing. That has happened all along. Twenty years back, the database administrator was a big, big role, but not anymore.

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