Yes, We CANalytics!

On Thursday, May 25, nearly 75 Apra and CASE members gathered in Bellevue, Washington for an intensive day of data analytics training, on the heels of an engaging DRIVE/ conference. Highlights included:

A Faculty Showcase

The OverDRIVE/ presenters all work with data in different ways. Attendees had the chance to hear from the faculty member who aligned most with their personal experience or upcoming initiatives during morning educational sessions. An afternoon panel with all three focused on where we go from here:

  • Michael Pawlus, The Trust for Public Land, proved that investing in yourself and learning free software like RStudio is worth the time. The key is using your newfound skills to proactively solve problems at your organization for others to see the same worth that you do.
  • Stephen Lambert, Susquehanna University, counts Amazon.com as one of his go-to resources for data analytic training. Do a book search on “data” and be amazed at all of the options that are at your fingertips. Favorite titles include, “Applied Predictive Analytics: Principles and Techniques for the Professional Data Analyst” by Dean Abbott and “Data Mining with SPSS Modeler: Theory, Exercises and Solutions” by Tilo Wendler and Soren Grottrup.
  • Audrey Geoffroy, University of Florida Foundation, appreciates the value of truly getting to know your data and automating wherever possible. She recommends getting a tool like PL/SQL Developer and learning not only how to write queries in order to retrieve and transform raw database elements, but also to create procedures which update tables with ready-to-use variables whenever you are ready to do models.

Tell Me a Story

Keynote speaker Ben Olsen, Senior Program Manager, Data & Analytics, Microsoft, discussed the importance of storytelling and it was a common theme throughout the day. How impactful can a story be? By framing your data analysis as a narrative, your audience is going to find more ways to relate to what they are hearing. Consider starting with discussing the pain points the organization is facing and how your information can produce solutions to these problems.

The Solutions Marketplace is Now Open

OverDRIVE/ broke out into small groups to discuss pressing issues that the attendees came to the event hoping to get clarity on. This concept of peer to peer idea exchanges created connections amongst the participants, while ensuring that real issues were being problem solved. Issues included:

  • Driving innovation and collaboration while silo’d
    • Tips included: connecting with colleagues on LinkedIn and using your phone to call development officers just to say hi.
  • Validating the strength of the MGO’s portfolio
    • Tips included: performing a SWOT analysis for each portfolio, using Discovery Actions to assist with moving non-productive assigned prospects out of a portfolio.
  • Best practices for getting contact reports entered properly
    • Tips included: positive reinforcement and sharing examples of content reports.
  • Fostering collaboration and a culture of data-driven decision making
    • Tips included: trying 1:1 meetings to start vs. trying to get everyone together in a room, acting as a coach and consultant especially for newer employees, and identifying a pain point for the organization and come to the table with a collaborative solution.

Apra isn’t done focusing on the importance of data to further our profession. Next up is the Data Analytics Symposium, July 26 & 27 in Anaheim, California. Secure your spot today!

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