The funny thing about when I started at Wells Fargo, the skill that really got me started in my career with data, was simply being good with Microsoft Excel. That’s how it all started.
When I got to Wells Fargo and started working as a customer service supervisor, we had all the kinds of sales goals. Many of you have probably seen in the headlines the past few years, Wells Fargo was ultra-aggressive in it’s sales goals. To be able to effectively manage phone bankers and coaching them to meet goal was key to success. Ironically, I was the only one on my team that really knew how to use Microsoft Excel.
Before I knew it, I was being asked to create reports, do all kinds of analysis, to help us figure out how to optimize the salesforce. I also learned how to get better at managing teams using data and was often loaned out to HR to help develop people metrics around employee engagement. It was a fun time and managing all the data involved with all the transactions, sales, products, and everything we were doing in the customer service center at Wells Fargo really taught me how powerful data can be to a company’s success.
That first job at Wells Fargo really started down a path towards things like artificial intelligence, all because, I knew Excel.
Over the next several years I continued to level up my skills with Excel, and MS Access and different database tools like. Then they got into understanding data warehouses and seeing the data architecture underlying the enterprise. I moved from away customer service and got into project management and that led me to working on the bank’s websites and online channels.
Before I knew it, I had 15 years of the experience with Wells Fargo. Each stop along the way during my time with the bank, I kept taking more and more challenges that involved learning new technologies and new skills. It was fascinating for me during my time Wells Fargo to be able to move up the corporate ladder simply be learning new skills to add to my “data utility belt”. And with each move being more and more data centric job functions.
Which takes me back to the point I really want to emphasis, I am self-taught, I learned everything pretty much my own. I took a few classes here and there, like I took a class at HTML, which helped me figure out how to manage a mutual funds website. I took a class and Microsoft Access to help build a database for investment products. Whenever I got a new opportunity to learn any technology, I did. I went from Access and Excel to start to learn business intelligence tools like Tableau and IBM-Cognos to builds better reports and dashboards.
Towards the end I learned programming languages like SQL and I got into predictive modeling using R. I know it sounds like an alphabet soup of applications, programs and languages, but it all started with that one simple skill with Microsoft Excel.
Even today, Excel is still powerful tool for data analysis as it is used by just about every company. It has a lot of value as being a piece of the puzzle that you will need to solve as you prepare your business to use A.I. Excel is like the very first brick in the wall.
If you are not sure if you want to get started in working A.I., ask yourself this question. Does working with data and and to use data to manage your business interest you? That is really the first thing you should ask yourself. And if the answer is yes, start with mastering Excel. If you can do a pivot table, if you can do the basic things like pie charts, or line graphs. If you know a few formulas, then that is a great foundation to start.
Daniel Meyer heads Sonic Analytics, an analytics firm with offices in Manila, the San Francisco Bay Area and Ocala, FL. With over 20 years in Big Data, Dan is one of the most sought-after public speakers in Asia and offers big data coaching and analytics training seminarson both sides of the Pacific. Dan has also recently joined the Powerteam International family as a small business analytics resource speaker.
Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized organizations looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities. We also advocate the use of analytics for civic responsibility through training, consulting and education.
As citizens of this great democracy, we need to look at the data (analytics), plan a course of action (strategy) and share our data-driven viewpoints (presentation). This approach to a data savvy work force starts in school. So, we started an internship program to empower our youth to use Analytics, plan Strategy and Present their insights… ASP!
When not training current and future analysts, you can find Dan championing the use of analytics to empower data-driven citizenship by volunteering his expertise with schools and non-profits dedicated to evidence-based social progress like Saint Leo University’s Women in STEAM 2020 Conference.