Wednesday, 26 November 2014

You never know when opportunity calls

Just gave a brown bag session on learnings from my career as an analyst. Or as I put it, learning from my mistakes. While preparing for the talk I realised that it could be distilled into one word: “Curiosity”. At a certain point in my career I started noticing that the breadth of my experience is an asset. Many people will recommend not moving around too much and focusing on one technology or methodology. That was not the case with me. My natural curiosity led me to develop technical skills in data retrieval, reporting and statistical analysis using different platforms and I was open to learn new analysis methodologies. No strike that - am still open to lean. You will find on my laptop R with loads of packages I tried out alongside all sort of evaluation versions of software solutions I am exploring. I am doing it because I am curious. I read somewhere an acronym -  I want to not only decompose it to words but also understand what lies behind that. So my advice to budding analysts: Be curious. Pick up as many technical and analytical skill as you can – do not wait to be sent on a course or to be allotted time to deep dive. You never know when opportunity calls.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dell has taken over Statsoft

Yesterday I attended a meetup event organized jointly by the OR society and Dell-Statistica discussing the use of predictive analytics to better patient care. The topic is very interesting and the discussions were very lively. But the big news for me was to discover that Dell have purchased Statsoft and are now promoting Statistica. I hope they do not repeat the mistakes IBM did (and is doing) when it took over SPSS. For starters Statistica is better than SPSS on several level. One of them being that, like sas, it has a strong data management capability of its own. Do to real stuff with SPSS you need to link it to some over expensive IBM product. Last time I looked you also got more bang for your buck compared to SPSS – i.e. more functionality. I am refraining from fully comparing it to sas as I believe that in Europe it is irrelevant due to the sas pricing model. Even if sas is better by far than any other solution, most organisations in Europe, and the far east to that matter, will struggle to compile a business case for the expenditure. If you can afford it, sas is still my first choice. However R and Statistica are close behind. I will be watching Dell to see how they position the software and analytics services crossing my fingers they manage to find a way to turn it into a cohesive offering (like sas) fast rather than the hodgepodge of mixed messages one gets from IBM.