Podcast

Ep 23 - Renee McGregor - Using Data Literacy to Drive Analytics Adoption

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Episode Summary

Data doubters are so important to our Data Literacy
program... They question everything and they add VALUE to the process
— Renee McGregor

We're continuing our "Analytics on the Road" series! This week Dave sits down with Renee McGregor from South Africa Qlik, a partner reseller. Over the past couple years, they've really focused on Data Literacy in Cape Town and it shows! If you look up Google Trends results for "Data Literacy", you'll find that South Africa is one of the top countries. Renee talks about what that looks like and the work they do to improve Data Literacy for their organizations.

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Renee is a native of Cape Town so she’s seen a huge shift in the culture and the opportunities over the years. She believes that Data Literacy can be that “next wave” of opportunity for organizations and people to change the way they live and work.

So what is Data Literacy mean for Renee? “To read, work with, analyze and argue with data” says Renee. It’s important that people really internalize how data affects them and how they can use data to improve their own lives.

Renee has been solving this for organizations all over South Africa. So what’s the secret? “Adoption at the C-level is absolutely necessary to drive a good data culture”. She’s seen successful implementations and failures and it always comes back to leadership.

The other piece that impacts a Data Literacy initiative in an organization? “You need people who have a passion for data and are ready to share it.” Once you have the C-suite aligned, you’ll need key data champions out there on the front-lines sharing the stories, benefits and skills with everyone.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Renee!

More about Renee McGregor

Connect with Renee on LinkedIn: /in/rene-mcgregor-a76a0930

Renee’s company - South Africa Qlik

Links and References

Data Hero - Jordan Morrow (Head of Data Literacy @ Qlik)

Favorite Storyteller or Author - Joyce Meyer

Organization - Data Literacy Project


The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.

 
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Ep 22 - Lailah & Julia - Empowering South Africans through Open Data

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The government is starting to open some data in South Africa. We need to skill up our citizens on how to access it, how to consume it, and how to use it.
— Julia Renouprez

First, a quick announcement… We’re launching a new series called “Analytics on the Road”!

For those that don’t know, Dave Mathias has been traveling through Africa and Europe the last 3 months. Along the way, he had the chance to meet up with data people from all walks of life. We wanted to share their voices and find commonality and community, learn from them

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He started in Cape Town South Africa where he had the opportunity to speak with Lailah Ryklief and Julia Renouprez from the non-profit organization, Open Up.

At Open Up, they believe that an equal society starts with equal access to information, and that access to relevant information creates an active citizenry. You cannot change something if you don't know what it is, how it works, or that it even exists. Open Up is helping the citizens of South Africa by working with the government to open source their data, and then building tools and skills to make that data available and understandable to the broader population!

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One of the core ways they help citizens in South Africa is through Data Literacy training, helping people understand that the data exists, what kinds of questions they can answer with it, and how to use it through some simple tools.

South Africa has a lot of opportunities for growth. One of the biggest problems they face right now is poverty. Helping people understand where poverty comes from and how it is perpetuated is the first step in reducing the poverty gap.

Teaching people about data also gives them critical skills that they can use to find better jobs, increase their pay, and improve their and their families lives!

More about Lailah & Julia

Connect with Lailah on LinkedIn: in/lailah-ryklief-b6489054
Read Lailah’s Bio: Lailah Ryklief Bio

Connect with Julia on LInkedIn: in/julia-renouprez-9ba25619
Read Julia’s Bio: Julia Renouprez Bio

Links and References

Lailah & Julia’s Non-Profit - Open Up

Julia’s Data Hero - Adi Eyal - Open Up Director

Lailah’s Favorite Book - Forensic Architecture

Julia’s Favorite Book - The Witcher books

Cape Town Communities - Codebridge Meetup

Cape Town Communities - Data Viz Meetup


The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.

 
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Ep 21 - Dennis Still - Analytics for Startups and Small Business

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Episode Summary

Big data, small data, medium size data. The real question is what you’re going to do with it once you have it.
— Dennis Still

Dennis Still is a startup analytics expert. Where many analytics projects come from large $1B+ organizations, there are many startups and small businesses that need similar capabilities. How do small business compete and keep up? What kinds of challenges do these companies face, and how do they view their own relationship with data?

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Dennis has had a wide and varied career that didn’t necessarily start in data, but has taken him on a journey through various startups like When I Work, Gov Delivery, and his very own startup, Bigfoot Analytics.

Dennis has spent years working directly with entrepreneurs, figuring out what they need from their data, and delivering insights that drive exponential growth as they disrupt their various industries.

One of the biggest things he found through his time leading data and analytics, was that the questions that small companies are asking aren’t that different from what big companies are asking, just on a different scale. Revenue, costs, customer satisfaction. The key to his success was in being able to help his C-suite leaders identify their KPIs that would fuel rapid growth.

“Our CEO would throw out a number and 85% of the people in the room knew what that meant. It was the number that we used to drive the business forward”.

Despite being more nimble, Dennis feels like there’s a lot of opportunity still. "Who owns the data? How does it work? Who is going to look at it and do something with it?” A data-informed culture doesn’t just happen. It takes work from the analysts consistently pushing the metrics and getting the leaders to embed it into their communications.

More about Dennis Still

Connect on LinkedIn: in/dennis-still

Links and References

Dennis’ Company - Bigfoot Analytics

Data Hero - Kirk Borne (Twitter @KirkDBorne)

Data Hero - Carla Gentry (Twitter @Data_Nerd)

Favorite Blog - Jeffalytics (Google Analytics Consulting)

Favorite Podcast - Digital Measure Show w/ Brian Poe


The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.

 
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Ep 20 - Serena Roberts - Authentic Relationships That Build Analytics Success

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Episode Summary

Your job does not end when the analytics development is done. That’s when it starts.
— Serena Roberts

Serena Roberts is a force to be reckoned with. She’s a mom, an analytics leader, a Tableau ambassador, and the driving force for two great local communities that she runs. That’s why we were so thrilled to get a few minutes of her time to talk about her approach to data, and how she’s become such a successful data leader.

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Like many of us, Serena didn’t start out on a path to be a “data person”. She kind of fell into it by accident… A happy accident that’s taken her on an amazing journey from “business professional” to data guru, to fearless leader of the Twin Cities Tableau User Group, and the Minnesota chapter of the organization, She Talks Data.

The first thing that you’ll notice about Serena when you talk to her is her passion for understanding other’s needs. She deeply cares about the people in her life, both professionally and personally. She’s also a data visionary. She sees where her organization needs to go and isn’t afraid to communicate that vision to others, even when met with resistance.

Serena talked to us about her time at Capella, and reflected on some of the lessons learned while working for a well-established and relatively “analytics-averse” organization. “I was the unpopular person pushing new ideas”. “We were really trying to change human behavior, one sales rep at a time”.

I saw such a need for analytics and data that no one was looking at. I was the unpopular person pushing new ideas and challenging the status quo”

The more you talk to Serena, the more you realize that it’s HUMANS that drive her, not the DATA. For her, it’s all about helping individuals use data in their day-to-day jobs. Enabling those fundamental data literacy skills that empower a business person to make a better decision, communicate more effectively, or answer a question faster.

“People focus on technology and process… and they heavily underestimate the change management aspect of the work we do as analysts.”

Change management is about changing human behavior. That’s the hard part. But the data community is lucky to have people like Serena driving their organizations to a more data-informed culture.

More about Serena Roberts

Connect on LinkedIn: in/serenaroberts

Links and References

Meetup - She Talks Data

Meetup - Twin Cities Tableau User Group

Book - Rebels at Work - Leading Change from Within

Book - Peanut Butter and Cupcake

Serena’s Favorite People - Nick Peterson, Karla Hillier, Sherri Benzelock, Laura Madsen

Award Winning Tableau Team - Jeff Plattner, Tricia Duncan


The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.

 
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Jeff Sloan - Better Analytics through Product Management Principles

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Episode Summary

The best analysis for YOU might not be the best analysis for your USER. Make sure you think about the outcomes that you’re trying to drive.
— Jeff Sloan

Today, on the podcast we’re trying something a little different. For those who may not know, Dave has been travelling through Africa and Europe the past 2.5 months as a part of a program called Remote Year.

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During his time in Cape Town South Africa, Dave was introduced to our next guest, Jeff Sloan who is also a part of Remote Year. Jeff is a self-prescribed Data Product Manager and they thought it would be fun to try recording some of their conversations.

They headed over to a local coffee shop and set up the mic and started chatting about data, business intelligence, product management and how these disciplines are starting to intersect.

If you hear banging dishes or cars driving by, feel free to imagine sitting outside sipping latte’s on a lovely warm day in an open-air coffee shop in downtown Cape Town, South Africa.

So, what is a “Data Product Manager”, exactly?

According to Jeff, this role is responsible for thinking about the data infrastructure of the entire organization, mapping out the flows, sources, and storage platforms for both internal and external data. It’s the first step in empowering things like Machine Learning, AI, and A/B testing across the organization.

 
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Jeff loves data, but he feels like many of the traditional ways that organizations use data and analytics today could be even better. That’s why he’s so interested in bringing product management concepts to data to deliver more value and better, more integrated insights. Product management tools like SCRUM, backlog grooming, and user experience can all play a role in driving more value.

“It’s important to understand where your [internal or external] customers are coming from. The more we can understand what they need and how they need it, the better we will be as data people… We need to take them along on this journey to using data.” How do we do this? Jeff recommends starting with the business question and then working backwards from there, in an iterative and agile way. This will ensure that the insight/analytics produced meets the needs.

Thanks for sitting down for coffee, Jeff. And good luck on the rest of your Remote Year travels!

More about Jeff Sloan

Connect on LinkedIn: in/jeffreymsloan

Links and References

Slack - DBT Slack Community (DBT = Data Built Tools)

Meetup - London DBT Meetup Group

Consulting Group - Fishtown Analytics

Book - The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Book - The Coaching Habits by Michael Bungay Stanier

Blog - Locally Optimistic

Jeff’s Company - eMoove UK Online Real Estate Agent


The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.

 
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