training, meeting, Business Intelligence

Article provided by Marcelli Brockmüller, Head of Business Intelligence at Savings United

Since only 17 per cent of the tech workforce are women, it’s no surprise that this decreases even further when looking at women working in leadership roles.

Prior to working with my current team at Savings United, I worked in tech roles for a number of years. I was almost always one of less than a handful of women in each organisation. After finishing studying Computer Science at university in my home country of Brazil, I went on to work for the biggest media house in São Paulo where I began working in technical areas such as management information systems. I later moved to Germany, and joined SU, where I am the Head of Business Intelligence.

Initially, I worked in a Content role in the LATAM region. Quite soon after joining the company, one of the co-founders noticed my skills with numbers, databases and reporting. At that time, a department for tracking key business data didn’t exist and I was asked to build the Business Intelligence department from scratch. Here is a selection of the key lessons I have learned throughout my career on the tools, business functions, and qualities necessary to lead and implement a BI team.

Develop trust and respect

When I began to gather the resources I needed, much of the information was held within the IT team. I had to work carefully and confidently in order to build their trust so that they shared their systems and processes with me. I did that first by getting to grips with what the business needed and working out how best I could help achieve our goals. By aligning myself with the business, I was able to make meaningful requests that my colleagues could see the value in. I was also careful to seek their views and opinions, in order to ensure that I was making use of their skills and knowledge. I developed trust with my co-workers by showing I wanted to learn what they had done before. In this way, I demonstrated that I respected their work and effort, which helped immensely.

Prioritise and distribute workload appropriately

When you work independently for a long period of time, prioritisation is both crucial and challenging. It’s extremely important to remain inline with company strategies and goals, which will help you know where to focus your energy and time. Requests can quickly build up and you can easily feel overwhelmed. You can alleviate this pressure through effective planning and regular catch ups with fellow members of the organisation’s leadership team.

When you work alone for so long, you get used to knowing 100 per cent of what’s on your plate. Although, sooner or later, you will have to take on team members in order to meet the growing needs of your organisation.

Initially, it can be a bit of a struggle to become comfortable with letting and delegating to your newly formed team. It’s paramount that you relinquish what were once your sole responsibilities not just so that you can concentrate on your own priorities but also in order to let your team members grow. However, one of the most important tips here is to have clearly identified roles and responsibilities. This will mean that tasks can be distributed appropriately and effectively, and it will be at weight off your mind.

Invest in time-saving technology

Investing in a powerful BI tool has many benefits. For example it can enable teams from across the business to access reports independently and it means your team can been freed up to work in areas where they can add even more value to the business. Introducing new tools is a big investment, so it’s important to undertake thorough research. Contact a number of companies that offer market leading tools, have in-depth talks with them and make the most of free trials and demos. You are likely to sign up with this company for a long-term. So, choose one that meets your needs most closely and is moving in a similar direction as your company.

Embrace difference

Teams are often made up of people from different backgrounds with a multitude of ways of thinking. My team is very multicultural and includes individuals who each have their own personality and ways of working. Some might be more practical, others more intuitive, and so on. Everybody has their own approach to work, it’s important not to take anything personally. Ultimately, we have the same common goal – to develop ourselves, and work hard in delivering information that helps the company advance. I like to lead my team interactively – we brainstorm and make decisions together. Their input is as important as mine.

Implementing a BI team, or any other team from scratch, is a project that requires dedication and cooperation from colleagues across the business. As a woman working in the male-dominated world of tech, this can seem a daunting task. However, as well as these tips, if you make the most of online and offline networking events, consider finding a mentor and take courses in order to stay up to date with developments in your field, you will almost certainly be a success wherever your path leads you. Remember to keep on reaching out in order to connect and share knowledge with other women in tech. We’re stronger when we work together.

Marcelli BrockmüllerAbout the author

Marcelli Brockmüller is the Head of Business Intelligence at Savings United. Leading voucher code partner of premium media companies, Savings United’s partnerships connect advertisers with smart shoppers. Present in 13 countries, Savings United works alongside advertisers to engage a new audience of smart shoppers and achieve their business goals through brand-safe channels.