Insights on Data and Analytics by Chandrasekhar K

 


What are the leadership skills needed to drive effective change in organizations to achieve data and analytics excellence?


- Understanding of business domain so that we can speak and understand the stakeholders' language. Building on domain also helps us identify the right problems to solve and conveying our solutions in a better way.


- Effective communication and presentation to cull out insights from data and stitch together a story-line. It is very important to be able to convey the right message in a non-technical manner and how it can help the business leaders make the right decisions and create value
- Stakeholder management to build trusted relationships with key stakeholders across teams. Understanding their thought process and constraints help us make the right business case to implement our pilots/projects successfully. It also enables us to get a seat at the table for key projects from the beginning and be part of the solution.


- Constant learning to be able to understand how to apply the advancements in tools/techniques and where to apply which technique. These days, it is very easy to run a model but having the basics right to question whether the correct data is being used with right assumptions applied for the particular technique to give correct results is very important.


Can artificial emotional intelligence be a substitute for real emotional intelligence?


There could be some very specific manual tasks that can be replaced with artificial EI (reading facial expressions for reactions on videos etc), but a significant chunk of EI related activities will need human involvement (managing critical negotiations or conversations with a variety of humans). Emotional intelligence is all about personal connect, intuition and tapping on emotions. While algorithms can capture the rational and objective data points, emotional intelligence needs a lot of subjective and abstract analysis of various inputs which cannot be codified and logically programmed into machines at this point of time.


What does sales analytics mean?


Getting a deep understanding of the key drivers of sales which can help unravel the trends, patterns and seasonal effects underlying the metrics.


-Starting with exploratory and descriptive analysis, sales analytics can help give insights on how each of the key metrics is performing against all dimensional cuts - Geographic(county, state etc), Time(date/week/month etc), Product lines, customer segments and channels.
-The diagnostic analysis helps with RCA of why sales have increased or decreased. Good visualization and BI tools like Tableau, Power BI helps with drill-down capabilities in helping understand the data in the right manner and building actionable insight with the storyline.
-Predictive and prescriptive analytics can help improve on the knowledge built in the previous 2 exercises to estimate/forecast the sales in the future periods so that necessary promotions can be planned if targets are not being met.


What role does analytics play in measuring the engagement level of employees?


HR analytics is growing rapidly day by day. Newer tools and techniques are gathering more data points to look at attendance patterns, email engagement, time logged in, meetings attended etc to analyze a particular employee's engagement and contribution. These data points when modeled with training data can provide a very good prediction of any attrition risk or highlight critical talent who can be groomed for high potential leadership roles

How can data scientists and analysts improve their communication skills?


-Practice delivering more and more presentations. Don't just focus on the visualization, but more on the story-line.


-Spend enough time planning for the presentation and list down the audience's point of view. -Time is of the essence, especially when the message needs to be delivered to an executive who is very busy. Hence, practice relaying the same message in multiple versions - the short and crisp executive summary and the longer versions with more details added.


-Always try to tone down the technical details and ensure that the story being presented can be understood by any layman with no context or understanding of the business problem or solution details. Hence, setting the context becomes very important in all conversations.


-Wait for acknowledgement from the audience that they have understood what you are conveying. Take a small break in your communication/presentation every 2-3 min to ask for any clarifications or questions that they may have.


-Forums like Toastmasters also provide good practice in writing down and structuring thought process along with aiding with building extempore speaking skills which can benefit a lot during any Q&A session where you need to think on your feet.




Insights by Chandrasekhar K:

Chandrasekhar is a supply chain analytics professional with more than 11 years of the overall experience. He is an alumnus of BITS, Pilani and NITIE, Mumbai and has worked with Oracle & Dell in the past. Currently, he is Senior Analytics Manager at Flipkart and leads Warehouse and Reliability analytics.

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