‘A Day In The Life’

Here’s another instalment of our ‘Day In The Life’ feature. We asked Nick McAdden, Business Intelligence Manager, to share his working day with us…


My day starts with a large coffee and that’s quickly followed by another one. I like coffee and the machine at work is a godsend. My work is varied and interesting, with a good mixture of project work and ad-hoc requests which keeps me in touch with every department and on familiar terms with nearly everyone in the business. I love it. It’s a real challenge to understand the operational side of the business in enough depth to offer insight from the stats we provide through the Business Intelligence function. It’s not just about knocking out the requests, it’s often about helping people understand what we can provide, so that we can give them something more helpful.

My main focus today is on systems integration for our new accounting system. I need to change some database queries I’ve made due to changes to our new Chart of Accounts structure, and make sure the data is transformed into a format to allow import into the new system. Our new package is light years ahead of our legacy accounting setup and allows for full integration with Key Performance Metrics and will speed up certain core reporting functions hugely.

I get a visit from Kabs from our partner team mid-morning. He wants to show one of his partners that his recent increases in marketing spend have been successful in retaining previous rates of conversion. I run off some numbers for Kabs and get back to the main project.

I manage to focus again for another ten minutes before Harry grabs me to talk about retention stats. Retention has been a big focus for us recently and we’ve made huge strides to optimise performance, increasing the size of the phone team. Harry wants member value-related stats broken down by retention method, just to reassure that we’re still on track. It’s something we did a while ago but things move fast here so it’s well worth going over again. I note it down on my ‘To Do’ list and get my head back on the Finance job.

I get an email from Alan, our consultant from the company helping with the accounts integration. He’s making sure I know he’s scheduled to join us again tomorrow. He’s only got another two days with us then we’re on our own with the new system. It should be fine, the Finance dept has been all hands to the pump with the end of year accounts and we’ve had to get our hands dirty with the new system really quickly. We’ll be fine…

Lunchtime now, I’ll usually nip out for 10 minutes for a sandwich then back to the office to play pool and relax for a bit. The pool table has been a popular investment, and you usually have to bribe people or fake a natural disaster to get a game…but even if you don’t get on the games room it is a good place to be at lunch, plenty of competition on the X-box and some good competitive banter.

Back to work in the afternoon and I sit down with Sharn, my teammate and BI Analyst, to discuss progress on the monthly board report. Sharn is responsible for putting together much of the metric-related data into the newly designed pack, and we run over an Excel workbook full of graphs and table data to check what he’s got so far and what is still to do. We flag up a couple of potential issues with the query data he’s pulled out of the platform database, and these are things he’ll then have to go back and check in the query definitions… It shouldn’t take too long and the set of graphs is looking good. But there are loads of them! The amount of metrics we are pushing out now on a regular basis is enormous and the BI charts aren’t the only contribution to the board pack- it makes me wonder if the board are able to take it all in!

It’s 2.30pm and there’s a scheduled development briefing to keep ahead of what’s new to the system. This usually runs for about 30 minutes but it’s really important, there’s more emphasis that ever before on being able to quantify the benefits of our product enhancements and I need to work closely with the developers and project management team to achieve those end goals. We’re treated to the latest update on the new mobile platform integration and kept informed on some of the other pending functionality. I make a note of anything I may need to get involved with on the analysis side, and of the revised schedules.

Mid-afternoon and I get my head back into the data imports. I’m testing the imported data on the Accounts System test set-up and running off reports to reconcile with our previous year’s P&L. It’s a slow process but I have to get this right so it’s worth the extra scrutiny. I start to feel glad I never became an accountant..!

Some of the imports are taking some time so I check some new queries that Sharn has emailed over. Sharn handles the majority of the ad-hoc reporting on a day to day basis and we need to put our heads together on the trickier requests. I can run them off against the database and send them back with tweaks and amends at the click of a button; it seems to work well for us.

Getting towards the end of the day now and I’ve set aside a bit of time for one last job. I’ve left it till last because I’ve never done a blog before and I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough to write about… so I begin to write, ‘A day in the life of…’

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