Thinking of a career in Analytics? Anthony shares his pearls of wisdom...
"Analytics is a hard discipline... it takes time and experience to get good at"
Name: Anthony Bates
Job title: Head of Insights
What area of Sky do you work in? I work in Insight and Decision Science. We’re a one stop shop for insight and analytical capabilities.
What’s your career journey been like up until now? Varied! After university I took some time out to teach English in South Korea and travel around Asia. After that I came back to London and started out in a small IT consultancy. I then went to live in Edinburgh for 10 great years, for the first half working on the civil service Fast Stream Graduate programme and the second half in RBS. In RBS I got into analytics as I was fascinated by really understanding why things are happening and what you can do about it – being able to work with data gives you a huge advantage here.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? My role is part Business Partner and part Team Leader. I spend a lot of time with the Customer Retention team, building relationships and getting a deep understanding of their business and what their problems and opportunities are. Then I work with my team on how we can help solve these problems using data and insights, and then implementing our solutions. It’s great as I get to see things through from start to finish.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? Raising the level of aspiration. When I joined the business the level of value add using data was quite low, focused around simple data or profiling requests. My attitude is why can’t we do things differently, why can’t we be leaders in this area? I always try to think about new ways of using data to make better decisions and get people excited. After that comes the tricky part of delivering but I always aim to be creative and innovative and do new things. Work should be fun and interesting, not a daily grind.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Having the privilege to lead the Customer Retention team in IDS, which I think is the best performing team in department (I know, I would say that!). I work with some highly intelligent people on a day to day basis and it’s my job to make sure their efforts are well directed into useful projects. It’s really a pleasure on a day to day basis.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Getting to see our ideas put into practice. I think in analytics we’re all in the industry to make a difference, and it’s a great feeling to see your ideas put into action.
Describe your work/life balance? I’m just about to have a baby (or just had one, depending on when you read this) so this is something I’ve really been working on in the last year or two. Speaking honestly I used to work too much but I’ve learned to focus on where it’s important for me to be involved and where I can step back and trust my team. I work about 45 hours per week. What makes a real difference is being able to work from home one or two days per week.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Think about depth not breadth. Analytics is a hard discipline with technical elements as well as commercial. It takes time and experience to get good at. Many Analysts make the mistake of thinking if they work in lots of different areas or companies they will keep motivated. Actually they end up getting demotivated often but avoid dealing with this by moving around frequently. Focus on getting better at what you do and working through the difficulties. It’s easier to do that in an area you are familiar with rather than with a completely new set of products / data / stakeholders. Also remember you don’t need to get a promotion every year! You’ll be working for 40 years+ of your life, so don’t put yourself under too much pressure to always be moving upwards. If you’re a hard worker and good at what you do, people will notice and opportunities will come up as you get more experience.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? Last year I had a two month sabbatical so I could walk the Camino de Santiago, which is 500 miles from start to finish. I couldn’t recommend it enough and met some wonderful people. It’s been a theme for me in this interview – hard things are rewarding.