Interview: Ankit Sharma, Advanced Analytics Expert

What has been your journey in Analytics so far?

I started my post MBA career working for SAP in a Presales role, where I was responsible for supporting Analytics related engagements with companies in India. Little did I know that the domain I had chosen, i.e. Analytics, will become one of the most in demand skill sets in the market today and the future.

Overall the journey has been highly rewarding. This domain gives you lots of opportunities to work on new challenges and also grow in your career as more and more companies realize the competitive differentiation that Analytics has to offer.

What kind of work do you do for your current organization?

I am part of the Analytics Presales team in SAP India and I am currently focused on the advanced analytics (some call it predictive modelling, machine learning, data science, etc.) My everyday work starts with establishing and communicating value proposition of Analytics for companies across industries, running pilots and projects to prove the business benefits, and eventually helping customers build and end to end analytics platform for business transformation.

In addition to my role of leading Advanced Analytics for SAP India, I am also responsible for evangelizing analytics as one of the key ingredients for innovations. If titles matter – I have got one for this role as well - Innovation Champion. Here we look for ways to keep innovating with customers on a continual basis. One of the important methodologies we use for innovation is called Design Thinking.

What kind of technology/ platform/ software do you use?

Since I am from SAP, supporting the Sales engagements, I am well versed with its solutions ranging from advanced analytics solution called SAP Predictive Analytics, to its flagship analytics solution called Business Objects BI, and also the in-memory platform for analytics called SAP HANA. Apart from this I also have good grasp and hands on knowledge of HANA based applications in Digital Marketing.

What do you think are the three keys to a successful career in analytics and what kind of capabilities do you think an Analytics professional needs to build going forward?

There are various career paths you can draw out in Analytics. For example you could strive to become a super data scientist for which you would of course need to understand the nuts and bolts of stats, mathematics, and databases. At the same time you could strive to become an excellent Analytics sales professional for which you may not require such advanced skills but you would need excellent articulation skills to translate business benefits from the data intensive technicalities and complexities of analytics, you would need to have well rounded knowledge of various analytics tools to create that unflinching value proposition of analytics. There is a third career path where you choose to master one analytical tool and become a tech consultant or delivery expert.

Therefore, it is important to understand that there are a lots of roles currently on offer in the Analytics world and one needs to focus accordingly. That being said, it cannot harm to be a master of everything under the sun in Analytics world.