Improving Processes and Data Intelligence

Our Business Intelligence Manager, Martin Radbourne, shares his journey of leveraging his Masters Degree to improve processes. Thanks to the knowledge gained through his recent studies, CHIC is now making it’s data more intelligent and effective:

This week marks my fifth year, but I hadn’t been working at CHIC for more than a year before the limits of my existing skill set were starting to become apparent. When I joined CHIC the business was heavily reliant on a number of complicated spreadsheets, something I’m sure many smaller businesses can relate to. While these were fit for purpose there was frustration across the business at the limitations of the medium and a desire to tech up and drive the company forward.

One of the key drivers behind this was the lack of a foundational CRM solution that CHIC could rely on to manage its project pipeline, and so I was tasked with finding something suitable for the company to use. After viewing several of the more popular CRM options on the market, nothing seemed a good match for us and our needs therefore I put forward a proposal: provide me with the skills and I will provide the business with a custom-built CRM. And so CHIC agreed to fund a Masters degree in Data Analytics, to both upskill me in my current role but also give me the capability needed to produce something on the scale of a bespoke CRM system.

I started my studying during COVID, so my learning was done entirely remotely, which took some getting used to, but the course I’d picked out had a decent mix theoretical, practical, and business-applicable modules. During my first year, I learned how to put together a forecast and check it for accuracy, something which was quickly put to use in my day job. I also covered business reporting, another topic that comes up frequently at work. There was also a significant amount of teaching on Big Data and Data Warehousing, key topics to cover in preparation for making a database-backed CRM! The highlight of the course though, for me, was my dissertation.

I had initially dreaded this module, having flashbacks of late nights during my undergraduate study, but my dissertation supervisor was very keen on my proposed CRM system. It took a lot of planning (and re-planning, and re-re-planning when scope creep kicked in) but thankfully my time at CHIC working alongside a number of different workstreams had given me a solid understanding of how the business functions as a whole, which I was able to translate into system functionality and, by the end of my course, into a system which (the whole team assures me, to my face at least) they simply adore using.

Having spent a decent amount of time over the last few years at conferences, one theme that crops up consistently across the sector is how we could use the vast amount of data we have access to, both as individual organisations but also collaboratively. Now that both CHIC and I have a better data foundation to build on I am looking forward to getting my teeth into this challenge!

-Martin Radbourne, Business Intelligence Manager

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