March 9, 2020

Walgreens’ Analytics Manager Steve Schept Clarifies Data’s Magic in Business and Tech

It takes work to make data useful. At a recent event organized by data-skills school Promotable, the speaker was Steve Schept, Senior Manager of Analytics and Reporting, Compliance and Privacy at Walgreens. A statement he made thoroughly resonated with me:

“It’s not magic.”

Steve’s context was the substantial work involved in data analytics to discover and determine insights. Collecting data—modeling and interpreting it are essential to make sense of information in order to communicate findings and help inform decision-making. The work scenarios of a data analyst/scientist that Steve identified as particularly labor-focused were:
  • Craft questions to help their understanding
  • Focus on the right information
  • Provide different visualizations to help facilitate, even appease, different angles of understanding the information
  • Make a narrative package of clearly communicating the why and how
These aforementioned scenarios are not unique to the work of a data analyst/scientist, because thoughtful analysis and storytelling are integral across professions. The driver of progress is putting in the effort throughout the process, including what tools are utilized.

Steve’s current tool of choice is data-visualization software, Tableau, which he generously demo’d as it applies to his and his team’s work in analytics. The ways this app seamlessly connected to a source of data and provided instant methods to help filter and visualize it looked and felt effortless—magical.

Yet, software remains only one piece of the workflow. The long-sought effects of understanding, awareness, etc., are indistinguishable from magic. But as Steve reasserts, it takes work to make magic (no matter the tools) in one’s work and the workplace. Only then can magic be believed. Here’s to keeping at it.

Thanks again to Promotable who proactively align their workshops with timely perspectives through their providing of weekly talks! Explore their channel on YouTube.

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