How can we make time for learning and development? Data Analytics & Insight Newsletter August 2016



As The Forum’s professional development month is drawing to a close I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on one of the biggest barriers to learning…Time.

We are all keen to learn and develop ourselves professionally but all too often the day job gets in the way. So how can we make time for learning? It is important to remember that learning isn’t just about being sat in a classroom or reading books, there is also the “incidental learning” that we do instinctively; when we try and do new things with others or independently, where we go outside our comfort zones or adapt to feedback from others.

One of the best approaches to learning and development I have heard was from Jonathan Moore, Operational MI Business Lead at RSA, during our recent site visit.

His philosophy is an analyst or analytics team should not try and work at 100% utilisation, instead they should focus 80% of their time doing their job and the other 20% of the time getting better at. When I first heard this it sounded great in principle but unworkable in practice, however, the more he explained it the more sense it made.

I think it is fair to say that for any data, analytics or insight team our internal processes are far less efficient than they could be. There are many ways we waste time including;

  • Manually inputting data that could be automated
  • Duplicating work within the team
  • Reworking errors
  • Rebuilding trust after an error
  • Producing reports that nobody reads
  • Producing reports that nobody acts on
  • Trying to work out how a colleague did something.

The list is endless and I am sure that if we take a moment to add up the amount of time we waste it adds up to more than the 20% we are planning on putting aside for learning and development.

I recently came across this great article on the subject; The Seven Types of Waste (Muda) – Now with 24 More Types of Waste Absolutely Free!

So there are big gains if we focus whatever little bit of available time we have in learning and applying techniques to reduce the wasted time. (If there is no time at all for this perhaps start by looking at removing reports that aren’t being read, nobody will notice).

As we free up the time the temptation is to immediately take on more work or reduce headcount to get back to 100% utilisation. However, once we have created some “space” it is important to protect it and use it to do more improvement.

Jon likens the process to a snowball effect. “Chip away a little bit and this frees up time to chip away a little bit more. The more you do it the more time you create. Whilst progress may be slow to start, it will soon gather momentum and rapidly grow and become a cultural thing whereby part of our “day job” is to improve what we do and how we do it”

Doing this we will become more efficient and effective at what we do and be able to do more and more with the same or less resources.

Through taking this approach Jon’s team have been able to save over 1000 production months, and despite a significant reduction in their team size they have reduced the SLA of new requests from 24 days to 2 days & increased stakeholder NPS by 93 points.

You can read RSA’s Innovation Award winning case study here

When considering your own or your teams learning it is important to remember that the technical skills are just one of the development areas for an analyst. We could be brilliant with Excel, SQL, SAS or whatever systems we use, but that is not enough, if we want to produce meaningful insight that drives change. Take a moment to map out your insight journey, look at the barriers you face along the way and the skills that you need to overcome these. You will find that some of the often neglected “soft skills” are actually much more important than you may have thought.

Best Practice in Professional Development.

It is not too late to take part in Professional Development best Practice Month.

Register Here for an unrivalled opportunity to access an exceptional range of resources that are specialist, actionable and based on real, practical experience. Take advantage of our resources during August to tap into best practice from other operations or sectors, extend your professionals skills, collaborate to push the boundaries and add value to your organisation by building up and leveraging your professional network.

Join us at the National Data Analytics & Insight Awards Dinner 2016 

Who from our community will be crowned this year’s Team of the Year, or who is our Analyst of the Year? Not long to go now until we find out who will be the winners of these prestigious awards. Why not join us at the National Data Analytics & Insight Awards gala dinner, on Thursday, 15th September at the Leeds Marriott?

Even if you are not entered into the awards come along and enjoy an evening of celebration as we highlight the achievements of our great community, inspire future success and offer a great chance to network at a fabulous black-tie event.

For more information and to book your places click here

National Data, Analytics & Insight Conference – early bird prices end this Friday 26th August 

This year’s conference will be held in Hinckley Island, Leicestershire at the Jury’s Inn on Friday 18th November. With an agenda packed full of inspiring case studies, interactive workshops and more this dedicated Data, Analytics & Insight conference is not to be missed. Come and learn, network and be inspired by stand out organisations and professionals from our lively community.

The special rate for bookings ends on the 26th August, so take this opportunity to book now.

For more information, click here

2016 Challenge – next steps 

Many thanks to all those who have completed the mid-year health check, your responses have helped us shape the outcomes for the final phases of this year’s challenge. Between now and the end of the year we will be helping you to measure the ROI and value of the work you have done, as well as identify the key characteristics of a good challenge in readiness for next year.

Pre-work will be sent out w/c 5th September in preparation for workshop 3.

Workshop 3 dates:4th - 5th October, Solihull

If you’ve not been involved in this year’s challenge, but interested in joining next year, let us know so we can invite you along to workshop 3 and see the great work and progress which has been made.


The Forum is recruiting – join our team now! 

We are looking for someone passionate about their professional discipline and self-development, with a track record of working with and encouraging others, a self-starter, good at learning and keen to make a difference.

For more information about this opportunity to join our specialist team, please visit our website or email:

2016 Innovation Award Best Practice Site Visits

Learn more from our Innovation Award finalists by attending one of the site visits available. Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment





8th Sept

RS Components


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22nd Sept



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27th Sept



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National Data, Analytics & Insight Conference 2016


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