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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

My Analytics Journey so far - What next?

My last 18 months have been my most inactive on this blog due to a super-busy life at Mu Sigma and some changes in my personal life (Hint: My only post in 2009 was my marriage invite :-)). I have had almost a month and a half to reflect on both whether to move on from Mu Sigma and of course the journey over the last 18 months. The Mu Sigma journey was easily the most fast-paced section of my life (possibly along with my HKUST/LBS MBA) and it has been a super-rich experience. I would have loved to carry on if not for a few hiccups/experiences towards the end.

When I went in, I was thinking "Analytics - What is it? Will I be able to cope with this new field? Will I be good enough?". But it wasn't as difficult as people (who hired me) made it out to be :-). I guess they were just doing their job for obvious reasons. The first few months were smooth-sailing, lots of learning and fun. My strengths were in understanding the customer's needs by asking the right questions, mapping them to solutions (IT before) that met their needs, working with a team to ensure the customers' needs were met and challenged the team enough and most of these I had been good at these activities even before my MBA at HKUST where they only got better. It was an awesome combination of applying project/team management and business consulting skills both of which were my strengths. Besides the accounts that I was managing, I also got to interact with almost every team in Mu Sigma due to the fast-paced growth of the company and the numerous pitches we made, made loads of friends, reduced the average age of my friends list in every social network by atleast 5 :-) and contribute/learn from a diverse range of analytics problems-solutions/people/eco-system. The key skill that I have gained is of course is the ability to listen to a problem statement and work with the customer to design an analytical solution to possibly even the most complex problem.

After a lot of thought, I felt that I had covered to a great extent the breadth of analytics (CRM, Marketing, Retail, and it was time to explore the depths of one area of analytics and also get a lot more hands-on in it than I had been in Mu Sigma. I decided that Supply Chain Analytics and Web Analytics were two areas that I would choose from. I had a strong background in Supply Chain (Having done a lot of work for Gap in that area) and Web Development (that I have been working on and off since 2001) and these two areas most fascinated me. While the decision to move into Web Analytics kind of got made by the first good offer that came along, the more I read Avinash Kaushik's and other such blogs on the state of the WA industry/trends, I was sure that this was going to be a wonderful journey over the next few months/years.

For those of you who still don't know, I have taken on a Online Analytics Consultant role in DELL (which incidentally was one of my key clients in Mu Sigma). So, it is a homecoming of sorts. Wish me luck for this new and exciting phase of my work-life.

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