Women of Analytics

Highlights from the first Women of Analytics Virtual Panel in APAC


As a panelist for our first Women of Analytics Virtual Panel in APAC last week I was inspired by Lee Wan Sie, Director of AI and Data Innovation at IMDA and community member of SG Women in Tech and Vincy Shiu, Head of Innovation at DBS.  Both Wan Sie and Vincy have great passion for building a diverse team to drive digital transformation.


During the session, we discussed the importance of upskilling people for analytics.  And in this time of uncertainty, employees need to be empowered with the resources to acquire new skills. Most people seem to have challenges for learning new skills not just young adults at the start of their career journey but also mid-career change, what skills are relevant and preparing them for the future. We introduced Alteryx Free Trial and Academy where anyone can get started with interactive lessons, videos and weekly challenge. Wan Sie also shared the programs by SG Women in Tech programs which support girls in school to mentorship programs for career development, connecting female talent to tech organizations.


Our audience wants to know how organizations digitally transformed and how an individual such as a data analyst can contribute and drive digital transformation in their organization. Vincy shared how she built a diverse team of “RED” (Respectful, Easy to deal with, Dependable) of varying background and culture to drive digital transformation with diversity as a key driver. Her digital transformation quadrant, it includes people-focused and data-driven, exchanging of ideas and upskilling employees to drive long-term success.


I was so inspired by our conversation and the depth of questions asked by the attendees. Thank you for sharing your insights and let’s continue our conversation across the Women of Analytics community. You can check out the questions and responses from the session below. Look forward to meeting everyone in 2H 2020. You can check out the recording here.  And thank you @CelineS for hosting us.


Sharing some of the questions (& answers from myself and other panelists) that came up during the live webinar event.


What do we foresee in the future from data analytics skills set perspective and what kind of resources that will be available for those who already in their mid-career path?


At Alteryx, we see a continued need for data analytics skills by line of business professionals.  Based on the fact that you are in your career, as a business person, you have content of the questions that are being asked, can be asked and can be solved with analytics as well as input on the data sources that can answer the question.  Keep building your skills by using with free Academy available to everyone on how to solve with the Alteryx platform.    On Academy, you can use the interactive lessons and blog posts to learn and the week challenges to test and advance your skills.  To see what analytic questions others are solving for, check out the Alteryx community use cases that are available by company department such as HR, Finance, Marketing and by industry such as Manufacturing, Retail, etc.  As we say at Alteryx, never stop learning!  Thanks for the question and continue to upskill your abilities.


Wan Sie: Helping our tech professionals keep up to date with industry-relevant skillsets is important to IMDA.  Check out the TeSA website for more information on the programmes and courses available, and the companies that have partnered us to provide training and opportunities for individuals interested in developing their skills and growing their career.


What are the top 2 challenges faced by women in analytics?


Firstly, do not be quiet about what you see in analytics results.  Power is not in what you know.  Power is in what you share.  Secondly, never stop learning.  Keep building your skills while supporting others on their journey.  You will become a role model and mentor for others as they advance their skills at any age. Join the Conversation.


It feels like only the top management can drive digital transformation, any suggestions for data analysts to contribute to the company's digital transformation drive too?


Data analytics is a huge driver for every company's digital transformation.  Having the knowledge of the data assets across an organization and how those data can deliver insight is a key component for every digital transformation journey.  Top management will have the vision for digital transformation, but it takes everyone in the company to successfully implement.  Upskilling of talent is every employee’s responsibility to support the new way, new processes with new technology to take on the next questions.  Data analysts can show leaders how their analytics can deliver new insights and answer harder questions quickly.  Do not be afraid to share what you know as you think differently about the business questions being asked. Join the conversation.


Have you seen any shift in mindset towards analytics among top-level management recently? If yes, how do they foreseen analytics impacting their business


I certainly have seen a shift from top management wanting to know more from their data and analytics.  Being able to answer top management questions quickly, to drive insights for them, is key to help with decision making.  All great leaders are willing to question anything.  Do not be afraid to show your leaders what you are seeing from the analytics.  Be ready to be asked more questions as your leaders learn more from you.  Take on their challenge with a rapid response as well.  Business is moving so rapidly so respond while the question is so important to the business.


Wan Sie: From IMDA's surveys of the industry, we've also seen more companies posting jobs for, or hiring, data analysts or scientists. The numbers have grown significantly, which is a positive sign that analytics is important to businesses. As more companies transform digitally, the amount of data that will be available to these companies for analytics (to help improve efficiency, enhance customer service, derive new products/services) has also increased. Analytics is increasingly important to these companies.


I am a mid-career business graduate who has built her career in the sales & marketing space in publishing/media. I noticed to transit into this area, odds are stacked very high as most forward-looking companies are looking for people who are technically competent and/or with comp sci/engineering background. For instance, the requirements focus very much on technical knowledge. Is there any program that will help women to transit into this area, leveraging on their soft skill sets in building their competency in analytics?


Never stop learning.  And please do not doubt the knowledge you will bring to a company based on your business experience.  You can also start building your skills with Alteryx by signing on to the free Academy. On Academy, you can use the interactive lessons and blog posts to learn and the week challenges to test and advance your skills.  To see what analytic questions others are solving for, check out the Alteryx community use cases that are available by company department such as HR, Finance, Marketing and by industry such as Manufacturing, Retail, etc. 


Wan Sie: You can also visit IMDA's TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) website to learn about the various programmes that are available to help professionals in Singapore take up new roles in tech. For example, IMDA has recently launched the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme. This provides opportunities for Singapore Citizens aged 40 and above to be reskilled or upskilled. With about 500 tech job roles available, this new programme will hire and train mid-career professionals for in-demand tech roles, regardless whether the individual has an ICT background. Some of these roles are in data - e.g. data analysts.


How do we help customers through their data analytics journey? For e.g. instead of just pure reporting numbers, to start analysing data in a more intelligent and exploratory manner


I love this question.  You are right that analytics is not about reporting the numbers.  Successful analytics is when you can interpret the data into insights that answer a question or cause more questions to be asked.  We like when people will question everything.  Moving along the analytics continuum, descriptive analytics is, as you said, reporting the numbers or showing what happened in the past.  Today's demand for analytics is about advancing the insights from those data to predict what will happen.  Once you can predict what will happen, get to prescriptive analytics which is about what do we do to get there.  Are there processes we need to fix and stop doing?  Being able to prescribe for success is where successful analytics is going for intelligent decision making from data analytics.


What did the "E" and "D" stand for again on RED from Vincy's presentation?


Vincy: Building a team of “RED” equates to building a team with the traits of “Respectful, Easy to deal with, Dependable”.