Business Intelligence Career, STATISTICA Enterprise
Written by: Angela Waner
I define “business intelligence” (BI) as transforming data into actionable information with computer-based tools. I did not realize it until much later, but BI was my first job out of college. And in many ways, BI is my job now. I work every day with my company’s business intelligence solution, STATISTICA Enterprise.
So back to my first job…I was hired as a software developer. Because I was the newest employee, I inherited a thankless task that no one wanted to do. I became the “report guru” and I quickly learned the mainframe language Easytrieve Plus. This language was actually created so that analyses and reports could be quickly generated on mainframes.
I was in charge of 50 scheduled analyses/reports. About 10 ran once a day. About 20 reports were generated every Monday. And the remaining reports were generated once a month. It was my job to make sure the analyses/reports were executed as soon as the data was available.
I also had to read and understand every report. I “validated” the analyses results as being reasonable. If I saw anything unusual, I had to investigate and fix it before I turned the reports over to management.
Every morning I had to summarize the 10 daily reports. I created a “dashboard” of KPIs (key performance indicators). Excel was my best friend.
(I know that some people will not see my activities as BI, but my work met the spirit of the definition. I was using a mainframe and Excel. These are computer-based tools. And I tried to automate as many tasks as possible.)
Occasionally I would see changes ripple through the company from the analyses, reports, and dashboards that I created. I felt powerful. I felt useful.
But many times management would respond to the “dashboard” by asking for an ad-hoc analysis that sliced the data differently. Or they would ask me for my interpretation of the KPIs. And they would want this information yesterday. I felt stressed.
Data moved too slowly into actionable information.
My first employer was focused on answering questions like:
Why did it happen?
But management really wanted answers to questions like:
Why is it happening right now? (monitoring)
What might happen? (predicting)
I did not have the ability to provide this.
Eventually I left programming, became a parent, and changed careers. I have been a project manager at StatSoft since 2005. When I started my employment at StatSoft, I left the “analyze my data with Excel” environment. I joined an environment with enterprise analytics (templates, reporting, monitoring, and dashboards) and predictive analytics.
It has been an interesting adventure. I learned how to use data mining software. I learned how to create templates for my analyses and reports. And I plan on learning more about text mining. I feel empowered.