Every business needs high-performance BI team

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Alishna Maharaj, business analyst manager, business excellence at Aspen Pharmacare.
Alishna Maharaj, business analyst manager, business excellence at Aspen Pharmacare.

Creating a high-performance business intelligence (BI) team is a key element in the success of any business.

This is according to Alishna Maharaj, business analyst manager of business excellence at Aspen Pharmacare, speaking at ITWeb Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit 2019, in Johannesburg today.

Maharaj discussed the importance of leveraging a BI and analytics team to drive culture change and business success.

"The BI team is responsible for building new datasets and data structures, as required to support business needs, manage the distribution of data and provide valuable insights to the different business divisions," she explained.

"Business analyst managers are responsible for the analytics and strategic thought partnering within the business at all levels. In order to do this effectively, one has to have a team that can provide sufficient support to the manager in meeting the business goals."

Maharaj provided a case study on how BI programmes add value in the pharmaceutical industry.

"At Aspen Pharmacare, we draw data that is used in various parts of the business (marketing, finance and distribution departments) to contribute to the execution of their strategies. This is done by using various BI tools to explore data, detect trends and provide data-driven insights to either support what we see in the market, disprove it, or to counteract the effects of our competitors.

"Our team's relationship with the finance department involves aligning external reporting with internal reporting information. This enables us to see how well our sales departments are performing and provide insights into the distribution management and supply chain.

Through BI insights and analytics, the team provides regional information about sales trends, identifies and analyses business risks, and further provides data on why sales are higher in various regions than others, Maharaj continued.

She recommended formalised ongoing training for BI teams, consisting of dashboard creation, IT skills training, effective business communication skills training and vendor training on datasets, as an important part of upskilling team members.

"So there is an important element of collaboration with various departments, and that relationship is key to the performance of each business unit and the entire organisation. I recommend any such team to not only be technically skilled but to be able to derive insights and give direction to decision-making. This creates a value perception of this team."

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