Vice President of Business Analytics at Rue Gilt Groupe, Anu Sundaram takes a deep dive into how business analytics has impacted businesses at a time of transition during the pandemic and actions that can be taken to mitigate the issues many have encountered because of the sudden shift.
Sundaram provides insight on the problems and solutions to the pain points at the start of the pandemic, how to maintain a holistic view of performance and insights within her role, tips that were learned along the way, and advice for young graduates looking to pursue this field.
Pandemic Pain Points and Solutions
Outpacing disruptions during a worldwide pandemic deemed to be a challenge for many businesses as in person interaction and brick-and-mortar establishments were pushed to move online to meet social distancing guidelines. Anu elaborated that some of the challenges caused by the pandemic related to shipping, inventory shortages, and inflation. As a 6-year veteran at Rue Gilt Groupe (RGG) working directly with the Marketing and Development departments, Sundaram is a subject matter expert in understanding customer behavior and how KPI’s function and impact others. In terms of the pandemic related issues that arose, Sundaram had 3 suggestions to prevent the challenges we experienced at the beginning of the pandemic:
1. Diversify sales and product offerings
2. Be judicial about making large bets in the middle of things changing
3. Doubling down on analytics internally and externally to get ahead of shifting customer trends.
Maintaining a Holistic View
For anyone working in analytics it is a known fact that, “insights and analytics go hand in hand; you cannot have one without the other. All analytics and insights should be impact oriented and there should be a “so what” actionability across all.” A great way to ensure a clear view of performance and insights is to remove any silos physically [democratize data], structurally [communicating the KPI functionality within your organization] and having more central stakeholders to drive info. “Your last mile is not delivering the analysis, but actually providing the tool set and structure to action on the analysis.” Going the additional mile to provide this information can save time, money, and resources.
A few of the tips and tricks from being in a business analytics position is nothing short of helpful:
1. Always start with a hypothesis
2. Be impact oriented
3. Always perform an 80/20 analysis. “80% of the analysis will provide the most impactful insights. Avoid the urge to slice and dice further as it will not provide any more value.”
Advice for New Grads
For any new graduates entering the business analytics space, being open to learning new skills, being flexible, and prioritizing your physical and mental health will serve you best within this field.
Overall, it takes things back to the beginning. The area of business analytics divulges into a need to collect and understand KPI’s and doing so requires patience and flexibility to pivot between details and redefine requirements in the process.