What I wish I knew a year ago about Business Intelligence consulting

10 October 2022

What I wish I knew a year ago about Business Intelligence consulting

Business Intelligence consulting involves a wide range of approaches and services, all catering to the needs and requirements of the client. With so many solutions on offer, and several disciplines and specialities to branch out into, the daily work of a BI consultant is varied and complex.

Recently, we sat down with Andy Baker, one of our BI consultants, to learn a little more about what he’s learned during his time at DataShapa, the challenges he has had to overcome, as well as the tips that he’d share with himself a year ago.

If you had to give yourself one tip when you started BI consulting, what would it be?

“Overall, I’d say that the number one tip that I’d give to myself a year ago would be to trust in myself. This has been really important in my work, and something I’d want to emphasise to myself sooner.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked in many end-user BI roles across a range of disparate industries. When I moved to DataShapa it was my first consultancy role. I had toyed with the idea of joining a consultancy practice in the past, but I always defaulted to what I knew – and most importantly what I was comfortable with.

From my previous roles and experience, I knew I had the technical skills to succeed. I’d also worked with consultants in previous roles, so I knew what the role entailed on a day-to-day basis, but I still had some initial doubts that crept in. I wasn’t sure if I had the soft skills like communication or commercial knowledge that are so important to a consultant, and also had to consider if my particular skills were translatable to a fast-paced consultancy environment.

The answer was yes – I did have the right skills! The years that I spent managing internal customers in my end-user roles gave me the vital foundation that I needed to deliver great service to our customers. Alongside the investment that DataShapa gives to its consultants – encouraging continuous development and upskilling – I have never felt happier, as secure, or as fulfilled in a role.”

What’s the greatest consulting challenge you overcame? How did you do it?

“In a BI consulting role, we’re always encountering unexpected dangers, disruptions, or risks. It’s only natural that things sometimes go sideways in a project. An example of this might be in the form of unforeseen technical challenges in delivery. When we come up against these challenges, our scope, delivery plan, and possibly even proposed infrastructure need to be refactored.

In these circumstances, communication is always key. Regular, clear, and jargon-free conversations with clients mean that any challenges that arise aren’t a surprise, while also helping to reinforce trust and transparency in our ongoing processes.

An open and honest relationship with a client can help overcome most challenges, and working with an agile approach and strong collaboration I believe we can truly empower our clients.”

Interested in learning more? Read our full guide on why BI consulting needs to be collaborative.

How do you plan on evolving your BI consulting skills in the years to come?

“One of the things that makes me proud about working with DataShapa is that it strives to invest in its people, from their well-being to their development.

As a part of this, I’m currently enrolled in an Open University course for upskilling my technical knowledge. One of the most exciting aspects of being a consultant is that with each new client or project that you work on, you encounter a range of different challenges and implementations. Each of these enables you to grow as both an individual and consultant – strengthening important soft skills while reinforcing your knowledge throughout.”

What do you wish more people knew about BI consulting?

“One of my favourite benefits of BI consulting is that it’s so varied and full of different experiences and solutions. I think that BI consulting is both positively challenging and ultimately rewarding. The work that we do involves two core components – client-facing and project work, and each part of this demands significant skillsets and confidence.

No two projects that I work on are the same, and each one requires the ability to work alongside our clients to deliver projects and solutions that add real measurable value.”

Visit our blog here to learn more about the role, and life, of a BI consultant.

Delivering trusted expertise with collaborative partnerships

At DataShapa, we’re committed to delivering excellent BI consultancy services to clients across a range of industries, and with a variety of core objectives. From Azure data engineering to enhanced reporting and data migration, our range of services are all backed by a value-led methodology that brings measurable benefits to your organisation in both the short and long term.

Learn more about how we’ve previously helped transform the data of our clients into actionable insights in our case studies hub.

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