Remember that classic 1983 movie Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd where they step into each other’s shoes as part of an elaborate scheme? Well, we thought it would be fun to step into the lives of our employees and give you a glimpse into what they DO all day. This month, we’re featuring our Business Intelligence Team.
The morning routine: The thing about a routine is that it implies a regular set of procedures or unvarying series of activities, and at DCR there’s nothing “routine” about working in Business Intelligence. Each day is unique, fast-paced and full of excitement.
With the Smart Track database at our fingertips, it’s ultimately our duty to shed light on risks, challenges and success stories. With access to tens of thousands of data points covering various procurement processes in their entirety, it is in essence our responsibility to ensure that these are flowing smoothly and consistently improving. With that, we often find ourselves working very closely with our strategic leadership, MSP operations as well as IT and Accounting Departments. Our start and stop times are pretty flexible and often depend on the needs at the moment. We may come in a little later, knowing we have to stay later, or we may work a longer day when there’s a time crunch.
As with many employees, my team and I often start our day in the break room with a morning beverage and some daily conversation. We’re like family around here, and as a matter of fact some of our families also work here, so we’re a close-knit bunch who interact with each other often, and not just for business.
Planning and prioritizing: We like to start our day by planning and prioritizing items on our to-do lists as much as possible. That way we have a general guideline of what to work on for the day and week. Of course, that will fluctuate depending on demands and urgent requests, but it gives us the basic projects we need to focus on.
Planning is usually followed by Scrum meetings with our Development team regarding the latest analytics projects that will soon be available in Smart Track. During Scrum calls, we focus on which items have been completed, address any questions our developers may have and re-align priorities and assignments as required.
Since there isn’t a set schedule, sometimes there will be meetings lined up, other times it’s just straight to work, which means generating and working with the raw data.
So what we do is get volumes of raw data and an objective. That objective may be a simple data report. It may be an audit report. It may be a business analysis report. Once we have gathered all of the required data, we then present it to the requestor in a simple and meaningful format. We just break down the data so that it’s relatable and actionable.
During the day, we’re often responding to emails from internal staff, customers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking for additional information. At that point, we may need to switch gears, depending on what the needs and priorities are.
A bite to eat: Lunch is often a time to take a break, look at the first part of the day and re-prioritize the afternoon. Sometimes we go out; other times we eat in and power through the rest of the day.
Mid-day summary: The data is the data and it doesn’t lie…however, we can present that data in multiple meaningful ways to help our clients achieve their goals. This is why working in business intelligence is both an art and a science.
We pull reports that are logical and rational, as well as create and present information that perhaps no one else would have thought about because we take a little information from here and a little from there to find correlations, identify patterns and highlight trends.
Additionally, DCR provides our customers with easy access to pull their own data through Smart Track so they can slice-and-dice the information however they want to. Our Smart Track Ad Hoc reporting module allows end users to create their own reports. Smart Track also has hundreds of readily available canned reports, analytics and dashboards. With all that info easily accessible to our end users, we tend to focus primarily on creating custom reports for Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), developing new analytic reports to be added to Smart Track and supporting our existing programs.
In business intelligence, we’re always learning, always becoming more proficient at what we do and we love to see the results of our work being appreciated by others. Often our QBR is a direct recommendation to our customers, so it’s not just static numbers on a page. This is something they can strategically take action on to improve their business and is one of the things that sets DCR apart from the competition. Our QBR presentations are full of easy-to-read charts and graphs which make them even more appealing to their readers.
My team and I help to improve both internal and external processes by creating new and innovative solutions for how we do things at DCR. For example, we just went through a major overhaul of many of our validation processes and fine-tuned it so our customer’s data is seamlessly integrated. We looked at various aspects of how our customer’s data integrates with Smart Track and vice-versa, such as the schedule and frequency with which the data is integrated, the data content and fine-tuning of the data validations to ensure its accuracy prior to integration.
Late afternoon recap: In the late afternoon, we often get together to look at the day’s accomplishments and see where we need to place our focus on the next day. We might also take a break and play a little ping pong, work on our Fantasy Football picks (during season) or grab a snack.
At the end of the day, we’re constantly improving our solutions or creating new ones for our clients. Our goal is to ensure we provide our clients with the right solutions and a competitive environment so they’re able to access top talent in the market, realize hard- and soft-cost savings, minimize risk and ensure full compliance with laws and regulations.
Listen to our take on business intelligence at DCR in this short video clip!
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