So what exactly is it that you do?

(My desk.  Extremely untidy.)

I’m asked this question a lot, by my awesome wife, my family and friends. It’s surprisingly hard to answer!

It used to be easy – “I’m an accountant, and I look after Accounts Payable and Financial Accounting.” Now, my business card says “Senior Manager, Business Intelligence” which could mean anything at all…

What it means in reality is two things.

The first part is being our Channel Data Management technical specialist. We partner with Zyme for all our channel data – the absolute lifeblood of our business. Our senior management, right from Sales, through Product Management, to Planning and Tech Support, not to mention Finance, rely on this data to understand how our company is performing.

There are a huge number of moving parts that make this work, and it is my job to ensure that the Zyme team get the data they need (from us and from our distributors and resellers) through a variety of methods. I then work closely with Zyme to ensure we get that data, massaged and processed, back into our systems, ready for visualising…

…which is the second part of my job, making data look pretty in Tableau. And functional! Until we invested heavily in Tableau Server, most of our data had to be downloaded to Excel and manipulated as required – generally into big tables of numbers.  Now, with Tableau, I spend most of my day designing, testing and distributing new and exciting ways of making that data more accessible than ever before.

Having said that, most of those visualisations I create at the moment are big tables of numbers.  We’re a data driven company – and proud of it. And while I completely subscribe to Ryan Sleeper’s train of thought on what Excel is and isn’t, I know I’ll never completely get away from tables of numbers, and that’s OK. My personal rule, when someone asks me to recreate something from Excel, is that I’ll do it (because I know that it will save them time, and time is so so precious around these parts) but I’ll also visualise that data in another way. So far, this policy has been a success!

I’ve got to say, I love my job.  It’s interesting, it’s never the same day twice, and 99% of the time I make my user community happy!

Some day soon I’ll write a post about how we have built an expert community, increased user engagement, server management and so on, but it’s been done so well before

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