Lots of companies use big data and analytics to help make informed decisions. These numbers don’t mean a lot, though, if the people responsible for gathering them aren’t equipped to interpret them. Analysts are tasked with illustrating the meaning of the data in order to help others understand customer needs, user experiences, and business implications. Analysts are the people who find the stories within the context of the numbers and show how they can be leveraged.
A well-equipped team of Analysts brings to the table much more than the ability to crunch numbers. A successful analytics department will readily display these five must-have traits:
Analytics aren’t cut-and-dried, and if you deal in numbers, you know that they’re often unstructured and difficult to correlate. For an analytical team to be successful, the department must embrace innovation and have the willingness to creatively solve problems.
For instance, the freedom to work on ideas and try new things is a key feature in the environment of the Edmunds.com Business Analytics team. Shouri Thangellapalli, a Sr. Business Analyst, points out, “Lots of people have lots of ideas, but at other companies not a lot are given the opportunity to try them out.” Thangellapalli explains that their team is encouraged to think outside the box to prove new ideas will work and to resolve tough problems.
With so much work to be done and so little time, it’s not uncommon for Analysts to spend long hours at work. It’s important for a department and its company to allow for flexibility so its Analysts can have a proper work-life balance. This can increase productivity by helping the team remain happy and focused both at work and at home.
Solomon Kang, Executive Director of Analytics, explains that before taking a position at Edmunds.com, he worked 12+ hour days with lots of travel and essentially no work-life balance. This can lead to employee burnout, which makes innovation and production challenging. He was prompted to find a company that valued having a life outside of the office and found working at Edmunds.com energizing.
Edmunds.com is a results only work environment (ROWE). This means that the company celebrates results, not the number of hours worked. Employees are empowered to manage their own schedule in order to integrate work and life. This state of mind provides their Analysts with the flexibility to engage actively with their work without neglecting family or personal time.
“With the help of ROWE I am now able to manage my time very efficiently and my workload is evenly distributed.” – Shouri Thangellapalli, Edmunds.com, Sr. Business Analyst
By now, many people have realized that diverse workplaces benefit from different perspectives, varied experiences, and unique skills. When a department pulls together a variety of types of individuals for a common goal, it allows collaboration to drive success. Effective collaboration can be accomplished in several ways:
Even if they’re brief, department-wide meetings can help get everyone on the same page and working together to overcome challenges. Thangellapalli says his department’s morning meetings are an opportunity to share learnings and help others with their problems. In these meetings, the team can brainstorm ways to implement meaningful changes. It’s important for a department to find its own method of gaining direction and motivation for the day.
The most successful data departments realize the importance of learning and provide an atmosphere that lets their employees try new things, face challenges, and learn from one another. Part of this stems from having a group of people with diverse skills and knowledge.
Working with people you can learn from and rely on contributes immeasurably to collaboration. Yusuke Kurihara, also a Sr. Business Analyst at Edmunds.com, references the phrase “It takes a village” when explaining that the different cultural and professional backgrounds of his co-workers helps expose the whole department to multiple approaches to their work.
“The encouragement and support I get from my peers and seniors is priceless.” – Shouri Thangellapalli, Edmunds.com, Sr. Business Analyst
If you love the work you do, it will never feel like just a job. For Analysts who love evaluating numbers and data, the work has to be challenging and exciting. Described by Kurihara as an ever-changing role, the responsibilities of an Analyst are always evolving and growing. Not only do departments need to keep pushing the needle forward in their field, but they should be allowing their staff to take on challenging inquiries.
For analytics teams to be successful, Kang articulates that analysts should be passionate about their work and persistent in translating data into something that’s actionable. Companies like Edmunds.com that deal with upwards of 18 million unique monthly visitors are faced with challenges just based on the sheer volume of data. A successful department is excited to manage these numbers and always looks for ways to improve.
“Analytics is exciting because you are the gatekeeper to the data and can unleash its power.” – Solomon Kang, Edmunds.com, Executive Director of Analytics
In any company, leadership can make or break productivity and morale. In a data-driven department, it can be the difference between actionable data that is ahead of the curve and stale numbers with dead ends.
Supportive leadership is evidenced by displaying transparency, sharing successes, and being open to suggestions and insight from the team. Armed with strong company and department leaders, Analysts are better equipped to tackle new projects and raise the bar.
Look for frankness, open communication, and a commitment to the culture. Kurihara says these are key to the leadership of major companies like Edmunds.com. Kang points out that at Edmunds.com employees at all levels have opportunities to engage with executives and gain visibility to senior management. Not everyone, including leadership members, will speak the language of numbers. What’s important is that leadership recognizes the value and listens to its Analysts. The best leaders push their employees to think critically, while committing resources to creating a great culture and experience.
“I’ve found the level of transparency from the highest level of the company to be quite refreshing.” – Yusuke Kurihara, Edmunds.com, Sr. Business Analyst
If you’re looking to bring energy and fun to a team whose leadership is open to your suggestions and values your innovation, check out the open positions at Edmunds.com here.
Want To Join A Successful Analytics Department?
If you love big data and analytics and want to be a part of a team that has all five must-haves, look no further. Edmunds.com is hiring for its Business Analytics team. This car-shopping website publisher wants Analysts who are passionate about data and can turn raw information into useful knowledge. Edmunds.com has opportunities with growth potential for the right people. Learn about the qualifications and apply here.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Car-shopping website Edmunds.com serves nearly 18 million visitors each month. With Edmunds.com Price Promise®, shoppers can get an instant, upfront price for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Car shoppers can browse not only inventory listings at Edmunds.com and on its acclaimed apps, but also comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos, and feature stories.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. It was written and approved by our editorial staff to ensure it meets CAREEREALISM Media’s editorial standards. You can learn more about our writing requirements here and view our full disclosure policy here.