It s about you What is performance analysis/business intelligence analytics? What is the role of the Performance Analyst?

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1 Performance Analyst It s about you Are you able to manipulate large volumes of data and identify the most critical information for decision making? Can you derive future trends from past performance? If you would like to influence business decisions by using your analytical skills, then a position as a Performance Analyst may be for you What is performance analysis/business intelligence analytics? Business analytics leverages data (e.g. customer satisfaction, finance targets) to support fact-based management decision-making. Using data and statistical methods to detect patterns and trends, business analytics converts raw data into useful forward-looking information determining why things are occurring and what is likely to happen in the future. For example, a financial services company could fine-tune its customer service, satisfaction and profitability by using analytics. It could do this by segmenting customers based on information about their individual profitability, products and services purchased, preferred sales channels and geographical region. This information could then enable the company to cross-sell different products to the right customer at the right price at the right time. This insight can ultimately help to improve the quality of customer service and the success of targeted marketing campaigns as well as help retain existing customers. However, business analytics is about more than simply mastering quantitative, statistical and predictive modeling techniques. It is about constantly updating and checking the key assumptions behind the quantitative analyses to ensure that an organization is continuously learning. For example a Performance Analyst working in a credit card division has to keep examining the assumptions behind the level of debt that customers can successfully pay back. A change in consumer psychology or a shift in the overall economic climate could invalidate the assumptions behind earlier analyses. Continuous learning about the most critical sectors of an organization s business is what can propel an organization to the forefront of their market and keep them there. What is the role of the Performance Analyst? Performance Analysts use analytical tools to extract, transform and load data to generate reports, dashboards, alerts and scorecards for an organization. These reports enable managers to easily find and share the information they need to make decisions. 1

2 Analysts retrieve data from a companywide repository, or data warehouse (comprised of data uploaded from operational systems used for reporting), or from departmental databases. This data can be as varied as sales reports, product profitability data or customer profiles, depending on the specific area of focus. The Analyst manipulates the data using powerful analytical software and applications. This information is then populated into reports and dashboards that interpret the story in the data. Managing and Reducing Risk: This type of business analytics integrates finance and risk data, applying a timely, repeatable, accurate and consistent understanding of risk across an organization. It can help predict and gauge operational risks (knowing how to make money while ensuring that obligations are met) and market risks (knowing where to invest to generate predictable, sustainable returns). Improving Operational Efficiency: Analytics in this area proves insight into which operations can become leaner and more efficient. It may help manage profitability planning, analysis and reporting by product and customer segment. For example, it can detect the weakest area of the supply chain and what handoffs pose the most potentially damaging disruptions. Solutions can then be generated to overcome this weakness. Improving Customer Service, Marketing and Profitability: This provides the organization with a better understanding of its customers to ensure that products provided are meeting their needs. For instance, details of an individual bank customer may reside in different systems with those who manage the customer s investment accounts, their mortgage or their deposit accounts. Analytics can provide a single view of the customer for more integrated sales, marketing and customer services purposes. Areas of focus There are typically three areas of focus for a Performance Analyst: Managing and Reducing Risk: Business analytics that focus on managing and reducing risk integrate finance and risk data for improved visibility and optimization, and applies a timely, repeatable accurate and consistent understanding of risk across the organization. This area of focus also ensures the organization can predict and gauge operational risks (so you can make money while ensuring you are able to meet your financial obligations) and market risk (so you know where to invest money to generate predictable, sustainable returns). Improving Operational Efficiency: Analytics that focus on improving operational efficiency provide insight into which operations in the business can become leaner and more efficient. Business analytics help manage profitability planning, analysis and reporting by product and customer segment. For example, the Performance Analyst can detect the weakest area of the supply chain and what handoffs pose the most potentially 2

3 damaging disruptions using business analytics. Solutions can then be generated to overcome this weakness. Increasing Customer Services, Satisfaction and Profitability: This area of focus within business analytics provides the organization with the insights it needs to understand its customers and determine whether the products you provide are meeting their needs. Analytics help provide a single view of the customer for service, sales, marketing or risk purposes. The ability to harness large volumes of data allows the organization to cross-sell products more effectively to existing customers. Main Duties Main duties and related activities of a Performance Analyst: Set-up of Business Analytics Contribute to the development of corporate data warehouses and data marts, including architecture and data source definitions Create standardized tools or queries to obtain relevant data from the organization s data repositories for the purposes of data reporting and analysis Develop and maintain complex analytical reports and dashboards Match Solutions to Business Needs Work with knowledgeable colleagues in various parts of the business to define, design and develop analytic solutions to ameliorate a business need Implement reports and dashboards, as required, including designing and creating objects such as tables and diagnosing and repairing user and performance issues Work with end users in troubleshooting issues with performance reports and dashboards Work with other analysts and team members to capture data requirements Present final analysis or products to customers, stakeholders and management Combine data from multiple data sources to respond to high-level business questions (e.g. How do we cross sell more products to existing customers?) Respond to ad hoc report requests 3

4 Maintain and Improve Analytics Work with end users in troubleshooting issues with reports and dashboards Act as the data subject matter expert for a specific area of focus to deliver consistent information and insights Partner with the IT department to specify ongoing enhancements to Performance systems Proactively suggest areas for further analysis Generate ideas for improvements to reporting processes - focusing on their value to business strategy and operations Work Context, Knowledge, Skill Requirements and Applicable Experiences Work Context The Performance Analyst s office-based work environment generally involves prolonged periods of concentration and attention to detail as data is gathered and reviewed for patterns and trends. During development activities it may be occasionally necessary to provide support outside normal working hours. Performance Analysts often work in centralized groups with common leadership, technology and tools to ensure that critical data and other resources are wellmanaged. This allows different parts of the organization to share data easily without the impediments of inconsistent formats, definitions and standards. This group is typically independent from the IT department in the organization. Business Analytics is an ever-evolving field due to the constant changes in technology and business information needs. Continuous learning about new performance analysis techniques and systems is considered fundamental to this role. 4

5 Knowledge Performance Analysts require specific knowledge of: Relational database, data mining and data analysis principles, technology and methods (e.g. Oracle, SQL, SAS) Online analytical processing (OLAP) for business objects (e.g. Hyperion Solution's Essbase, Oracle Express Server) Data process flows within business systems Process improvement tools (e.g. Lean, Six Sigma) Financial services- or company-related business terminology and operational processes to accurately interpret data trends and to translate these trends into business strategy solutions Technical skills Performance Analysts require specific technical competencies: Strong math and analysis skills Advanced proficiency with Microsoft Excel and ability to automate data transfers and reporting (e.g. Excel Visual Basic for Applications) Proficiency with business intelligence software (e.g. IBM Cognos development tool suite) Aptitude for distilling large amounts of data into concise, accurate and relevant information and insights Ability to manipulate and analyze data using reporting software (e.g. SAS, Teradata) Strong analytical and problem-solving capability 5

6 Soft skills Performance Analysts require specific soft skill competencies: Methodical and logical thinker with the ability to communicate complex technical issues and ideas in simple, non-technical terms Good interpersonal relationship skills to interact well with business decision-makers Ability to thrive in an constantly changing environment Inquisitive mind that questions the routine to find previously-unseen trends and patterns Ability to deal with a minutiae of details Ability to balance between data needs and the requirements for action Applicable Experience There are a number of related experiences that are transferrable to the Performance Analyst role. People with experience in the following areas may do well as a Performance Analyst: Data analysis, market research, or data warehouse administration in the financial services industry Expert knowledge of specific financial services business operations and processes where data is generated (e.g. portfolio performance drivers, consumer behavior, psychology of debt, call centre management, collections and recovery systems, customer contact channels.) 6

7 Education, Certifications, Designations, and/or Licenses Entry Level Position [this is not an entry-level position] Senior Level Positions Intermediate/senior level positions typically require: þ Undergraduate degree þ Masters degree In the fields of: Management Accounting Computer Science Software Design Management Information Systems Business Administration Commerce Engineering Mathematics Actuarial Science Economics Statistics Operations Research Logistics 7

8 Certifications and designations Certifications and designations may include: Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Professional Associations Professional Associations may include: International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) The Data Warehousing Institute For Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing (TDWI) Representative Job Titles Data Analyst Financial Analyst Financial Performance Analyst Business Intelligence Developer Business Intelligence Consultant Business Intelligence Engineer 8

9 Career Pathways Moving in to the role It is common to move into the Performance Analyst role from either a Data Analyst role or an IT Business Analyst role. These roles will provide in-depth exposure to the data warehouse and business operations. Performance Analysts are typically promoted from within the organization because of the deep understanding of a company s business goals and operations that is required for the role. While advanced degrees in statistics, math, economics, and information technology are important, previous field experience in the financial services industry, particularly in a role involving extensive qualitative and quantitative measurement and analysis, is also considered valuable due to the direct impact analytics has on business strategy and operations. Progression beyond the role Performance Analysts can move within the business analytics field to a more senior role to Consultant, Manager or Director. They can also move to a related role in IT dealing with the design of the same business intelligence systems. External Factors Impacting the Role There are several external factors which impact the adoption of business analytics and subsequently the role of the Performance Analyst: Data Volumes and Technology Capacity: Global data volumes continue to grow exponentially, creating a wealth of data to be converted into usable information for organizations. This is accompanied by an exponential increase in data storage capacity and the emergence of new storage technologies, such as cloud computing. Regulations: New regulations and new regulatory organizations - are demanding deeper insights into risk and exposure from financial services companies requiring integrated data across the enterprise. These new 9

10 regulations, along with increased public scrutiny, have led to the increased implementation of business analytics in financial services organizations. Profitable Growth: The need to remain competitive in the financial services industry compels investments in business analytics infrastructure and tools to improve insight into financial, economic, environmental, and market information. Hidden Insight: The growing complexity of global business has raised the stakes at all levels of decision-making. Facing more information that humans can possibly process, decision makers need more powerful tools for uncovering hidden patterns to facilitate successful decision-making. Employment Trends and Outlook Employment Trends The business analytics field has grown significantly over the last decade and the demand for Performance Analysts is expected to grow significantly. With increased competition, growing regulatory scrutiny and increasingly informed customers, management will need to make better use of their organizational data. Turning data into usable information is no longer a nice-to-have in financial services organizations it is essential. The overwhelming need for well-trained Performance Analysts has spurred some universities to offer both bachelors and masters degrees in business analytics. Additionally, professional organizations are offering certificate programs in business analytics (e.g. CMA or the Data Warehousing Institute). It is likely that these programs will increase in popularity in parallel with the increase in Performance Analyst roles. Compensation Performance Analyst roles are salary-based with the potential for performancebased bonuses. 10

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