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What does the future of work for analytics look like?

What does the future of work for analytics look like?

Chelsea Wise

With the pressure to reduce costs and/or headcount, what can leaders, specifically in BI and Insights, do to prepare their teams and organisations for success?

In today’s article, we conclude this series presenting a 3-step framework for reducing the cost of insights, enhancing - not sabotaging - your organisation’s ability to make decisions. Which jobs are most at risk? Where does automation make sense? And what should BI and Insights team look like 12 months from now?

How should I structure my BI and Insights team: today vs. tomorrow?

There are 3 steps to reducing the cost of data and insights, with the goal to simultaneously boost the organisation’s decision making capabilities.

Step 1 - Cut wasted spend on expensive consultants (and teams) delivering reports and BAU

Cutting consulting spend is a logical place to start. But what we don’t mean is reducing spend on highly valuable, strategic initiatives that deliver foresight. In fact to roar through a recession, this may be an ideal time to make such an investment.

Instead, we suggest cutting the cost of brand-name organisations building and implementing reporting solutions that deliver just that, reports.

Internally, we also suggest immediately deploying your data-savvy BI and Insights teams to solve highly valuable insight and foresight problems, and stop building BAU reports where tools can do the heavy lifting (more below). The good news is that this team is super keen to work on these problems. The bad news is that there will be a data gap and insights gap to the broader business.

Step 2 - Automate lower value work where you can

To fill the data and insights gap to the broader business, you need a solution that:

  1. Automates reporting as much as possible, and
  2. Provides analytics at scale

This is where Hyper Anna fits in. 

Over the last 4 years, we’ve been helping organisations like Microsoft, IAG and Westpac across Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, make smarter decisions with data (reporting) and insight (analytics).

Hyper Anna is software designed to: (1) automate reporting as much as possible, and (2) provide analytics at scale.

It is a tool that helps managers make smarter, data-driven decisions, minus the cost of BI developers or consultants, and minus the manual effort, pain and human-cost of analysing endless lists of potential factors in spreadsheets.

But we’re not a silver bullet.

For example, we leave prediction to your experts, which we believe requires creativity, judgement and always depends on context. This should be left to highly skilled analytics professionals, not software alone.

Also, we leave decision making to you. Nearly all decisions depend on context, there may be a question of ethics and values, all requiring human judgment. Software can’t make such judgements for you

Step 3 - Leaner and meaner teams

If there is even greater pressure on the business to reduce the cost of insight, this means less spend on your number one fixed cost, people. 

Whether the BI team is 1-2 (small) or 50-100 (large), roles are typically divided into 3 groups:

  1. Manager / Team Leads - people leaders
  2. Dashboard developers / SMEs - reporting specialists
  3. Data analysts / engineers / scientists - problem solvers, enhancing both strategic and operational decisions with insight

The logical place to cut costs - re-skilling for future roles first - are BI developers / reporting specialists. 

With the software capability to automate reporting and basic analytics, there is little need for building manual reports or analysing data in Excel where solutions like Hyper Anna, can be automated at a fraction of the cost and at scale.

Figure 2 presents what this new structure could look like.

Figure 2 - Click for full image

Closing Thoughts

We haven’t met with an organisation isn’t focused on solving one or many parts of these problems: 

  1. What is our financial plan and what are we doing to meet it? What should be our business model 1, 2 or 5 years from now? What are we doing to grow customers, boost sales, preserve margins?
  2. Even with the best plan in place, we’ll go bankrupt if we run out of cash. So what are we doing to manage cash flow today without cutting our brain or muscle?

None of these questions can be answered by one person, team or data source alone.

There’s no magic pill.

But smart people and the right tools and systems help. Tremendously. 

So, that’s our thoughts for today. Good luck in your businesses. Stay tuned for more on how to thrive with insights during these challenging and uncertain economic times. 

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