Strategies for Boosting Confidence in Business Analytics Professionals

Strategies to boost confidence in business analytics professionals
Strategies to boost confidence in business analytics professionals
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 31st 2023

Business Analytics professionals in finance are often tasked with managing a plethora of responsibilities that require a lot of time and expertise.  They are responsible for gathering, analyzing, and interpreting financial data that informs decision-making across an organization.  Moreover, they must keep up with the latest technological advancements in the field, such as IBM Planning Analytics software, to ensure that their analyses are both accurate and efficient.  On top of all that, these professionals face numerous challenges that impede their ability to achieve their goals, including a lack of time, understanding the ever-changing business landscape, and dealing with imposter syndrome.  This article outlines how business analytics professionals can overcome these challenges and implement new financial planning and budgeting software like IBM Planning Analytics, along with the benefits of doing so.

Lack of Time

When was the last time you said, “Wow, I have nothing to do?”  As a financial and analytic professional, I am guessing you have never said that.  One of the biggest challenges that business analytics professionals face is a lack of time.  They have to juggle multiple responsibilities including preparing financial reports, forecasting budgets, analyzing data, and presenting findings to stakeholders.  Often they must work under tight deadlines, which further compounds the time crunch.  To overcome this challenge, business analytics professionals should prioritize their tasks, delegate responsibilities where possible, and automate repetitive tasks.  Moreover, they should identify areas where they can improve their efficiency.  We shared some ideas on this in our blog, Find More Time for Analytics Projects  But one of the biggest time savers I have discovered is learning when to just say NO and doing it more often.  Focus on the needle moving tasks.

Tools for More Time

One area that can use improvement for many is making sure you have the right tools for the job.  I am amazed how many mid-market companies still use Excel for their budgeting planning when there is power like IBM Planning Analytics.  I compare using Excel for budgeting and planning to mowing your ½ acre yard with a weed whacker.  You can do it, but should you?  To learn more about Excel see Mike Bernaiche and I’s video, Have You Outgrown Excel for Budgeting and Planning? 

Imposter Syndrome

Another significant challenge that business analytics professionals face is imposter syndrome.  Imposter Syndrome is that little voice in your head that says, “Who do you think you are?  They will discover you don’t know what you are talking about…”   According to Psychology Today, “Those with imposter syndrome are often well accomplished; they may hold a high office or have numerous academic degrees.”   

Imposter Syndrome can be particularly challenging in finance, where the stakes are high, and there is little room for error.  To overcome imposter syndrome, professionals should focus on their strengths and accomplishments, seek feedback from trusted colleagues, and continue to develop their skills and knowledge through training and education.  I have discovered that little voice in my head doesn’t show up when I am watching Netflix, but it does show up when I am growing, learning, challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone.  So next time that little voice says, “What do you think you know about AI, and Analytics?”  Know amazing growth is about to happen.  And remember you are part of a team and your contributions are valuable.

Implementing Financial Planning and Budgeting Software

We mention having the right tools can be a huge time saver and help you lead the company to achieve strategic goals.  But implementing new financial planning and budgeting software like IBM Planning Analytics can be daunting, especially for those who are not familiar with the technology.   It is common knowledge that there are numerous benefits of having advanced technology.  But often clients doubt their own organizations to be successful.  This is where having the right partner like Lodestar Solutions,  that has walked in your shoes and has implemented IBM Planning Analytics at hundreds of organizations, can help you achieve success.  IBM Planning Analytics can help streamline your financial planning and budgeting processes, reduce errors, and provide real-time insights into financial performance.  Moreover, it can help businesses make better-informed decisions based on accurate and timely data that results in achieving organizational goals.

To implement financial planning and budgeting software successfully, business analytics professionals should start by identifying their organization's specific needs and goals.  They should then research available options, taking into account factors such as ease of use, integration with existing systems, and cost.  Once they have selected a software solution, they should work with stakeholders to develop a plan for implementation, including training and support for end-users. 

Conclusion

Business analytics professionals in finance face numerous challenges, including a lack of time and imposter syndrome.  However, by prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, automating repetitive tasks, focusing on strengths and accomplishments, seeking feedback, and continuing to develop their skills, they can overcome these challenges.  Additionally, by implementing new financial planning and budgeting software like IBM Planning Analytics, they can streamline their processes, reduce errors, and provide real-time insights into financial performance, enabling their organizations to make better-informed decisions.

Are you ready to learn more about Leveling up your skills and achieving Analytic Success in the office of Finance?  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule your complimentary roadmap discussion.

5 Tips for Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward

5 Tips for Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward
5 Tips for Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 17th 2022

As I find myself glued to the nightly news watching as the situation in the Ukraine unfolds, I experience a roller coaster of emotions.  Everything from grief, and anger to hope and inspiration.  I watch as people from Poland, Romania and around the world take action to help complete strangers.  And it makes me realize that the world needs us all to take action to “Pay it Forward”.  

Pay it Forward is when you do something kind for someone else and expect nothing in return.  You don’t need to wait for someone to do something nice for you.  You can start the chain today!  It does not have to be anything huge.  Let me give you an example of paying it forward that my husband and I did a while back.  We were walking our dog one evening and noticed our neighbor’s mailbox door was falling off.  Clearly it had been that way for quite a while.  So, we went home got a few screws and in the dark repaired it.  We did not leave a note.  We just walked away and giggled that they would wonder who fixed their mailbox.

You see, it’s the small daily actions we can take to better someone else’s life that can make an impact. So, I am challenging all of you… How can you make a difference and Pay It Forward?  Here are 5 Tips for Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward.

Business Analytics Professionals

I believe we are in a unique situation as Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward.  Most Business Analytics Professionals are lifelong learners.  We read, listen to podcasts, and take classes online.  Business Analytics Professionals are also problem solvers.  We have fine-tuned our brains to solve the most complex problems.  However, we often take our talents for granted.  I know I am guilty of thinking if I could figure it out, anyone could.  But what I have discovered is that we really do have unique gifts we can share with our co-workers, and organization. 

How to Pay it Forward

So, I thought I would share some ideas Business Analytics Professionals can use to step up, take action and make the world a better place.

1. Share What You Learn

Every day we learn something.  Maybe today you read a book, attended a training class or listened to a podcast.  But what do you do with the information?  Are you storing it away for the day you need it?  If so, stop being selfish.  There is most likely someone you know who would benefit from what you learned.  Maybe it’s a co-worker, friend or family member.  So, share it.  Draft a short email stating what you learned and why you think that person would benefit from it.  You could also include a link to the source. 

I have a rule.  Every time I read a book, attend a conference, or discover something, I feel I owe it to the world to pass it on.  You have probably seen my Linkedin book reviews, which admittedly I need to start doing more of.  Linkedin is a great place to share what you learned. Let’s connect on Linkedin.  I would love to see what you are learning. 

2. There Must Be a Better Way

Because Business Analytics Professionals have an inquisitive mind, we often think to ourselves, “There must be a better way.”  Well, most of the time there is.  So, when you have this thought put it down in a journal or list and challenge yourself to try to find a better way.  Then share it with your company.

For example, when I work with our IBM Analytics clients, I am always amazed at how much time many organizations wasted recreating reports in Power Point when there are ways to automate and have your Cognos reports link to a Power Point that can be refreshed on demand.  Here’s an old video on Cognos and Power Point integration.

Challenge: create a list of items that make you think, “There must be a better way.”

3. Offer to Help Automate

Did you know one way to increase your influence and persuasion according to the expert Dr. Robert Cialdini is to leverage the principle of reciprocity.  Reciprocity is his first principle of persuasion, and it states that human beings are wired to return favors and pay back debts.  For more information on Cialdini and influence check out this blog, How to Use Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion to Boost Conversions. 

So, imagine there is a team member that every month has to grab data from many sources and put it in Excel.  Then they spend tons of time validating and formatting the data for distribution.    What if you were able to work with them and automate the process with either IBM Planning Analytics or Cognos? 

Challenge:  Find one person that is dealing with manual processes you can help automate.

4. Create Training Videos

Business Analytics Professionals are great at learning and figuring out technology but not everyone in your organization is wired like us.  So, help others feel confident in the use of data and analytics by creating simple training videos that will help them feel more confident.  Creating training videos is simple to do with tools like Camtasia by Tech Smith.  Here’s a blog we have on the topic. Leverage Videos for BI Training of End User?

Challenge:  Identify 3 questions that you commonly get from end users and create videos to answer them.

5. Be a Little More Patient & Smile

The final way we can pay it forward is simple.  It’s something you can implement immediately.  When you are interacting with people just be a little more patient and smile.  Remember we don’t all learn at the same speed.  Some of us are a little slower.  I can tell you from personal experience, I did not learn to read until I was 10, that when you are struggling to learn the person that is patient with you is a person you will appreciate for a long time.  So slow down, be patient and smile.

Challenge:  Smile More and be Patient today and every day.

Let’s Connect So We Can Pay it Forward

I hope these 5 tips for Business Analytics Professionals to Pay it Forward have inspired you.  I too want to Pay It Forward.  So, if you have questions on IBM Analytics, Planning Analytics, Cognos, IBM Licensing, Training or Upgrades, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.  We are here to help.

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