You know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” That means it’s the beginning of a new month and a new season. It also means the beginning of a new quarter — and if you’re an analyst, you guessed it — a whirlwind of analysis.
During this ending of the quarter and beginning of a new one, oftentimes there are a lot of questions raised about the previous quarter and new deadlines to meet for the present one. Ensuring you meet all demands of the new quarter while putting a period on the old one is crucial to keeping the business moving forward. So the question is, how do you avoid the end-of-quarter chaos?
Read on to learn five ways you can tame the pandemonium and see how to set up the next quarter for success.
- Employ modeling. The key to staying ahead of the quarterly insanity is being proactive instead of reactive. This means modeling of the business issues that arise within the quarter such as pipeline projection, pipeline risk, web traffic, etc. Start small, even a simple Excel model using the data points exported from existing Qlik apps can go a long way in providing insight into the perils or successes ahead.
- Create a SPOT. One of the reasons why there’s chaos at the end of one quarter and why it spills into the beginning the next quarter is because of the proliferation of data and BI solutions within our organizations. Oftentimes, decision makers within the same organization (and dare I say it, even on the same team) often take very different routes and arrive at very different destinations when attempting to answer the same business question. The remedy? Create a SPOT — Single Point of Truth. Creating one central dashboard or BI application that is the gospel will ensure that there’s only one place for everyone to go to get the same answers in the same way.
- Make believe. Being successful in business requires imagination. When it comes to the analytics, it’s no different. It’s leading practice to role playing the different metrics scenarios. For instance, imagine you had a really great quarter, and you want to know why. What would you do to help answer that question?
It goes the other way, too. Pretend you had a horrible quarter. How do you get to the bottom of it? Imagining your organization in these scenarios helps you anticipate the key questions you’ll have to ask and also highlights the areas you should shift your focus to, ensuring more success the next quarter.
- Raise the knowledge level. You’re the man. The data guru and internal subject matter expert. When there’s a problem, people come to you. The only problem? You’re the ONLY one with the answers! Training others to answer the basic questions, frees you up to start tackling the larger, more strategic issues. It will also lead to your stakeholders asking better questions, and eventually, the right questions.
- Keep it going. While the beginnings and ends of quarters happen eight times a year, preparing for the next quarter doesn’t stop eight days after the quarter once you deliver the data. Every analyst knows what it’s like to face the same question and tackle the same issues quarter after quarter after quarter. One reason for this is that once we uncover the root of the problem, we don’t implement actionable solutions to remedy the issue. Avoid that pitfall. Come to your stakeholders with a plan of action, set goals and measure performance against them all quarter long.
Do you have additional tips for avoiding the quarterly chaos? Share them in the comments below.
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