Get support and be supported by sharing and collaborating. This was the key message from senior analytics manager Richard Bovey on what he has learnt from setting up the analytics team at Jaguar Land Rover automotive company.
The analytics team, which has been in operation for roughly a year, has two main goals: to deliver massive projects and to support everyone else in the journey of analytics. “The first one is about us doing analytics and the second one is about us not doing analytics, but helping others to do that. That’s key because you can’t do everything,” said Bovey.
"We can create the insight. They can make the change happen."
The second goal is where partnering and collaborating comes in. As part of that, Bovey’s team has partnered with an internal consulting team and the two have developed a synergy with their roles. “We can create the insight. They can make the change happen,” he said.
Jaguar Land Rover also has an IT team that is dedicated to building a data lake for the analytics department. “It works for them because it means they have absolute clarity on what they are doing, right the way through to the realisation of value,” explained Bovey.
Furthermore, such a strong culture and sense of community has been developed within the analytics team, that it is an attractive destination for those wishing to transfer from other parts of the business bringing their learnings with them. The opposite is also true with people from analytics being encouraged to leave and go into other areas of the business.
Bovey said that the key to creating a good culture is recruiting people who have a passion for learning, sharing, collaborating and passing on knowledge. When new people join the team, they are encouraged to help shape its culture which, no doubt, will give a sense of agency about their team.
He said that the people in his team broadly fit into three groups - analytics developers, data scientists and data engineers - but there are many team members who do not necessarily fit into one box. In terms of finding talent, Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with The Information Lab and Kubrick Group and has also set up a graduate programme. As a result, the analytics team has grown from two to 40 in 12 months. Given the numbers, the analytics team makes use of agile methodology as Bovey said it is a very effective way of managing big teams.
To foster growth and development within the team, senior positions have been reserved for technical experts, so that those who are really good at what they do are not rewarded (or punished) by being forced into managing others and not doing the very thing they enjoy. In addition, he said that management and strategy experts do not sit above technology experts, but alongside them.
"Extremely clever stuff has proliferated across JLR"
All of these principles and ways of working have contributed to a proliferation of "extremely clever stuff " happening across the business, from self-driving cars to a dashboard for the new Velar screen. Bovey noted that the journey has noted ended there: "In research as well, there’s huge amounts of analytics and data skills, particularly in the autonomous vehicles team.”
Richard Bovey was speaking at an event held by Kubrick Group at Tableau’s offices in London.