Welcome to the first edition of our Employee Spotlight series! Today we’re highlighting Felix Amankwah, a Senior Consultant at Evolution Analytics, who explains what it’s like to be working on the front lines of cutting edge analytics technology for mid-market companies, and other worklife insights from a data architect’s point of view!
We’d love to know: what’s it like to be a data and analytics consultant? The good, the bad, the ugly – don’t be shy.
It’s deeply rewarding to help clients get more value from their data. Whether I’m migrating data over to a cloud-based technology to make their data more accessible, or integrating their data so clients can ask more comprehensive questions, or building out a fresh dashboard that gives them a unique view of their business, it’s exciting to build solutions that have real impact on how people make business decisions. Moving from industry to industry, and the constantly growing list of technologies, keeps things interesting and fresh.
The bad? As a consultant you don’t always get to stick around to see the full impact of what you’ve built, just the initial excitement during planning and after a deployment.
Share what a proud professional moment looks like for you.
Here’s how I see things: where data engineering is sort of the plumbing and structural foundation of a home, analytics is the interior design that makes a space special and invites people to come in and call it home. Since joining EA I’ve gotten the chance to step more into front-end roles. There’s a difference in how clients get excited about a new data warehouse vs. how they get excited about a new report that answers questions they’ve had for so long, with no way to answer.
On one of my last projects, I was tasked with designing and building a data model that was flexible enough to handle a seemingly unlimited amount of ad hoc reporting use cases. It’s hard building anything when you’re not 100% clear on how it’s going to be used. The list of requirements kept growing, while the deadline was fast approaching. There were moments where I doubted the possibility of success. But we were able to deliver a model that not only met the list of requirements, but blew the business users away – they had never seen anything like what we built. We presented data in a fresh way that provided all the answers they’d been desperate for. It made the stress of figuring out how to deliver, all the toiling, completely worth it. It also increased my confidence in my own skills and capacity to problem solve.
What do you do when you’re not obsessing over client data architectures and visualizations – hobbies, personal interests and the like?
I’m a musician. I lead the worship band at my church and love playing all sorts of music. I just got engaged, so I’m planning a wedding, and that’s pretty exciting. I’m living in New York and I love going into the city to discover new restaurants, and seeing live music. But unlike most city dwellers, I love the outdoors – maybe because it balances out the hustle and bustle of the city, and the technical noise I’m surrounded by at work. I got into backpacking a couple years ago, and have been pretty good about going on a big trip once a year. Climbing mountains is therapeutic and offers plenty of time away from tech to reflect on life.
Everyone loves a hot take. What’s going on in analytics right now that’s raising eyebrows – and what’s your stance?
Everyone’s really excited about AI and all its capabilities. It makes my mind spin about all the possibilities. However, most companies are nowhere near equipped to handle any sort of advanced analytics. You have to walk before you run or even dream of flying. Currently in the market, most are crawling.
Silver lining: dreaming is free, and there’s no harm in it. We’re equipped to have conversations and create roadmaps to get to a future where AI is helping clients make revolutionary business decisions.
Why is Evolution Analytics uniquely suited to help midmarket companies evolve and thrive?
At EA, customers get a team with diverse thinking. We also have very experienced consultants who don’t let their experience get in the way of staying fresh and in tune with modern techniques of solving data and analytic problems. We’re also a team that works closely with clients to figure out solutions that will work best for them. Sometimes a customer wants to use a technology that has a lot of buzz but may not be best for their situation. We’re always honest about what we believe will work best. And across all projects we’re very interested in building relationships with clients so as we’re implementing new technologies, we teach them how to use and maintain the things we build. We don’t just deliver products, we train clients to be self-sufficient.