Predicting the Future by Leveraging Data
Ebru, Associate Vice President at Siemens Advanta Consulting
Predicting the future
What do you get when you cross a computer scientist with a bold, creative thinker? An advanced data analyst like Ebru, who manages projects at Siemens Advanta Consulting. Working at the intersection of technology, analytics and business, she solves real world business challenges with high tangible impact. “I help businesses to predict the future by using data,” Ebru says. “Using analytic modeling, my team turns data into insights that can revolutionize how businesses are run,” she adds.
People hear the word analytics and generally think of geeky male coders who are happiest working behind the scenes. Yet, as Ebru, is quick to point out, that’s an outdated view of the work being done in the field of advanced data analytics, especially in her team. “The problems we try to solve need big-picture thinking and the ability to dream. Sure, we’re all really good programmers and coders, but we’re also creative business professionals who are willing to take risks,” she says.
Advanced data analytics is a relatively new field and change is happening at a lightning speed pace. Companies don’t always know what to expect when they hire consultants with this expertise. “Customers, big and small, are not always 100% convinced of what data can achieve – at least initially. There could be skepticism and I experienced that recently on a project with a new customer. However, once they saw the results, they were blown away and immediately entrusted more projects,” Ebru says.
Ebru, who grew up in Turkey and studied in Istanbul and Munich, learnt a lot about risk taking and creativity while working out of the New York office. “Most evenings I’d head out with colleagues to watch a live open-mic comedy show. It was a fantastic time and so enriching. I really enjoyed the creative problem solving on display,” she says. Having jokes fall flat is part of the stand up scene, booing happens on almost every set, no matter how successful the comedian. The same is true in advanced analytics as well: failure is part of the package. The quicker you learn what doesn’t work, the quicker you can learn what does. “In my field, hypothesis don’t always bring the results you expect. But that information is priceless. You have to use it to move forward, to help the customer,” Ebru says.
Customers, big and small, are not always 100% convinced of what data can achieve – at least initially. There could be skepticism and I experienced that recently on a project with a new customer. However, once they saw the results, they were blown away and immediately entrusted more projects.
Creative rule breakers
In the test-and-learn culture of advanced analytics, much hinges on how you deal with setbacks and failure, when things do not go to plan. In agile environments, much depends too on creative problem solving and trying out unconventional methods. “Advanced analytics is upending industries and disrupting how business operate. Our job is to help customers create and capitalize on new opportunities,” Ebru says, adding “There’s no standard way of doing this. It’s an incredibly fast-paced environment and we’re always trying out new things. We have to in order to keep ahead.”
This work calls for a unique type of talent, for those who combine seemingly contradictory skills and qualifications. You have to be analytic and creative, insightful and rigorously thorough, and conversant in a number of areas: business, technology, quantitative analysis and strategy. “We’re a bunch of rule breakers at Siemens Advanta Consulting, who work really well collaboratively,” Ebru says with a laugh. “Perhaps it’s the nature of the work we do, but we’re not at all traditional. We tend to shake things up. We look at business problems from a different angle,” she adds.
Advanced analytics is transforming industries and disrupting how businesses operate and my role is to help customers create and capitalize on new opportunities.
The advanced analytics team at Siemens Advanta Consulting is diverse. At last count, team members spoke 17 languages and draw on a plethora of different backgrounds. Each, however, is comfortable looking outside the box for new solutions to help customers unlock their digital future. “It’s a dynamic, driven team. There’s always at least one person on every project who wants to delve deeper, go beyond the scope, try out something unexplored. But it’s very supportive, too. Everyone is quick share new discoveries and we spur each other on” she says.
Trailblazing a path for others
Diverse as the team is, data analytics largely remains a male-dominated field. “I’m working to change that,” Ebru says. “As a Project Leader at Siemens Advanta Consulting I’m now a role model for the next generation. It’s really important for female students and those entering the workplace to see women succeed in data science areas. They have to see that advancement is possible,” she says.