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Guest Blog: When hiring a data analyst isn’t the answer

When hiring isn't the answerSo you’re hiring a commercial or data analyst? Great. But If your job description matches the criteria below, it sounds like you need more than a new analyst…Mike Scott takes a quick look.

To gain a better insight, let’s first take a look at a sample description similar to ones often posted on recruitment websites. From a peripheral view it is indicative of a company that has outgrown their management systems and operates through costly, non-standardised processes.

Overview

Role Description:
  • Lead the valuation of prospective and active commercial projects
  • Maintain the database of valuations and develop search criteria and reports
  • Compare profit centres against budgets, maintain key performance indicators
  • Track product information — analyse inventory, goods in and goods out
  • Present summary findings and recommendations to the Board
  • Generating reports for Directors, Investors and other key stakeholders
  • Provide clients with valuations of products or services that the company sell
Skills:
  • Strong statistical analysis skills
  • Proven and demonstrable high level Excel skills (financial formulas, macros etc.)
  • Capable of developing complex Excel models
  • Previous experience of working with and managing databases
  • High level data management capability, including designing database architecture and data mining strategies
  • Good presentation skills, specifically at relating complex data in simple terms
  • Planning and budgeting capabilities
  • Experience in this industry is desired but not essential

The Challenge

The link between the job roles and individual skills, particularly the reference to Excel and the task of maintaining valuations, generating reports and issuing of valuations, can be simplified with a modern business management system. Some of these skills would not be a requirement as most analysts would easily be able to adopt to a user-friendly interface which automates modelling, analysis, planning & budgeting and stock control. This allows the candidate in question to invest in more valuable company time.

Already, you can tell from both the skills and breakdown of the role that the company in question is potentially operating with outdated systems. Here are some questions worth considering:

  1. How costly is it to hire for this role?
  2. How much risk is there if the candidate does not stay for 12 months?
  3. How quickly could the candidate get up and running?
  4. How much time and resource is expended by other users training the new analyst?
  5. Once the new candidate is up and running, will they be forward thinking or reviewing historical data?

The Bigger Picture

How simpler would it be if the same systems for reporting, analysing complex data, tracking inventory and quoting clients were all the same solution? Would it be difficult to find a candidate that had experience using industry standard systems for all of these tasks? Would the candidate get up and running faster? If a need for cover ever arose, would other users of the same system be able to cater for various tasks? More crucially, would the new analyst be spending the majority of their time on historically related reporting and analysis, or would they be working with your board to improve decision making on growth, profitability and cash flow?

There is no escaping the need for reports and having to maintain various audits. However, a sophisticated business management solution allows your staff to spend less time executing these tasks and more time driving your business forward.

About Mike

Mike Scott is the Inside Sales Team Lead at Milner Browne. This position presents him first-hand accounts of differing business goals that various organisations wish to achieve. Mike has a passion for problem solving which developed when he began his career providing technical support in the late 1990s. Having worked within the wider ICT sector for a number of years across various industry segments, he now helps ambitious organisations to solve their challenges by consulting on both industry standard and tailored solutions.

If you are making an initial investment or looking to change an existing system, ask Mike about the benefits of a cloud model versus staying with a traditional infrastructure held on- premise. He can be reached at mscott@milnerbrowne.com or +353 (0) 1 286 0200.

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