Working from home as a business practice requires a lot more than connectivity and overall productivity. For Work from Home (WFH) to be effective, an organization must attempt to extend all the facilities available in the office to the employee’s home. The current lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has imposed work from home across those sectors where remote working is possible.
The broad IT and Data Science domains are 2 such functions where working from home is possible under certain conditions, including the type of projects, type of functions, access to tools, employee engagement, and overall connectivity and collaboration with the rest of the team/organization.
AIMResearch recently conducted a survey of Analytics personnel across levels, enterprises, sectors, and geographies. This global survey reveals interesting findings on the challenges encountered by the analytics personnel while working from home during this global lockdown and the opportunities and areas of focus for new projects.
The companies covered in the survey include leading Domestic BFSIs, Infrastructure and Energy companies, Retail firms, Global Beverage brands, Technology enterprises, Global Pharmaceutical majors, Ride-sharing aggregators, Food Delivery firms, and Domestic companies.
1. Level of Impact of WFH on the Entire Analytics Team
This question of the survey focused on the impact of working from home on the analytics team. There was No Impact of WFH for little more than half the respondents at 52.2%. 34.8% of the respondents revealed a Negative Impact in the range of 25-50% because of WFH on the team. The reason for this is explored in the responses to the next question.
However, 8.7% of the respondents disclosed that WFH had a positive impact on the analytics team, as the productivity has improved through WFH. This is attributed to almost no time spent on commuting and lesser stress for some people in the WFH environment. Nonetheless, 4.3% of the respondents revealed a Negative Impact of 50-75% because of WFH on the analytics team. This is also explored in the next question.
2. Reasons for the Negative Impact of WFH on the Analytics Team
Of those respondents that identified WFH had a negative impact on the analytics team, about 47.8% identified Remote Team Collaboration as the main reason for the negative impact. About 30.4% of the respondents revealed Remote Access to the Data as the reason for the negative impact – this is due to the lack of or difficulty in remotely accessing several data points.
Surprisingly, about 21.7% of the survey audience has identified that although they have access to Data and Technology, the analytics team is unable to adjust to the WFH environment. This is usually true for personnel or teams that have higher years of experience or need to work for multiple teams within a local geography/office to understand the data and insights. There were no respondents that expressed a negative impact because of the Remote Access to Tools or Lack of Tools and Connectivity.
3. Individual Ability to Work from Home
All the respondents of the survey were Individually able to Work from Home during the ensuing lockdown. This is not surprising as all companies now provide ready access to laptops, VPN, technologies, tools, and platforms to enable their analytics employees to work remotely or from home.
4. Access to Tools and Platforms – Local or Via Cloud
Majority of the respondents – 52.2% – revealed that the tools and platforms were available on their laptops or the local systems for access. While 47.8% of the respondents revealed that they accessed the tools and platforms via the Cloud, revealing how high the adoption of the Cloud is in enabling the access of tools and platforms.
5. Type of Collaboration Tools: Enabled for WFH
To enable the analytics teams and personnel to WFH, organizations provide a variety of conferencing and collabora- tion tools to remotely connect and network. 54.5% of the employees utilized MS Teams to remotely connect and network with other members of their analytics teams. 13.6% of the employees utilized the new conferencing tool Zoom – despite general concerns of privacy and security from security experts.
The other Microsoft tool for connecting, Skype, was utilized by 9.1% of the respondents, while Webex too was utilized by 9.1% of the respondents. A combination of Other Tools was also utilized by 9.1% of the respondents. Lastly, 4.5% of the respondents used the workplace productivity and networking tool, Slack, to collaborate and network across the analytics team.
6. Frequency of Connecting with the Team while WFH
Using the collaboration tools, 60% of the respondents connected with their respective teams twice or more than twice a day. 25% of the respondents connected once every day with their respective teams. 15% of the respondents connected more than once weekly (but not daily) with their teams. There were no respondents that connected just once a week or did not connect at all with their teams.
7. Type of Projects the Analytics Teams are Working on while WFH
The lockdown has had a financial and economic impact on companies. To measure this impact, many of the companies have deployed their analytics teams, which are working remotely, to work on new projects that analyze the impact of the lockdown on their compa- nies, industries, and customers.
45.5% of the respondents are working on such new projects that gauge the economic or financial impact of the lockdown. 4.5% of the respondents are working on new projects that gauge the social impact of the lockdown. Exactly half or 50% of the respondents are working on regular projects while working from home. There are no respondents that are not working on any project.
8. Duration of the New Projects
Of the respondents working on new projects, 50% of the respondents are working on projects with less than 1 month in duration. 27.8% of the respon- dents are working on projects that were expected to last more than 3 months but less than 6 months.
About 22.2% of the respondents are working medium duration projects that are expected to last more than a month but less than 3 months. Organizations do not foresee the impact or the severity of the impact of the recession to extend beyond 6 months. Hence no teams or personnel are working on such projects.
9. Revenues of New Projects
Of those respondents who are working on new projects, 31.6% of the respon- dents claim that the revenues of new projects would be in-line with the average revenues. 26.3% of the respon- dents claim that new projects will bring in revenue 5-25% higher than average revenues.
21.1% of the respondents claim that the new projects would bring in revenue 5-25% lower than the average revenues. 10.5% of the respondents claim that new projects will bring in revenues 25-50% lower than average. 10.5% of the respondents respond that the new projects would bring in revenues 25-50% higher than average.
10. Business Areas of the New Analytics Projects
Of those respondents who are working on new analytics projects, 10.5% responded that they are working on Customer Engagement related analytics – the highest proportion of the new analytics projects. 9.5% are working in Digital Marketing analytics. Similarly, 9.5% responded that they are working on Customer Relationship Management related projects.
These results highlight the focus of organizations and the analytics to work on new projects focused on customer engagement, customer relationships, digital marketing, and consumer demand – these business to consumer segments are critical to analyze during and after a lockdown, downturn, or recession – consumer segments typically rebound the fastest after a downturn and are, hence, the most critical to analyze during the downturn.
Similarly, 6.3% of respondents are working on new projects related to the area of Consumer Products and Customer Market & Segmentation – highlighting the theme of customer-focused new analytics projects.
11. Industry / Sectors of the New Projects
Of those respondents who are working on new analytics projects, 25% are focused on new projects related to the Retail sector – the highest proportion in terms of sector of the new analytics projects. This is followed by 21.4% of the respondents working on Domestic BFSI projects. This again highlights the focus of new projects across the consumer-focused sectors.
12. Scope or Type of Analytics across the Projects
The responses on the scope or type of analytics carried out across analytics projects reveal the highest proportion of respondents – 29% – are working on projects related to Prescriptive analytics.
This is followed by 25% of respondents working on Diagnostic analytics and 24% on Predictive analytics. 22% of the respondents are working on Descriptive analytics related projects.
13. Time Spent While Not Working on Projects
While there are analytics professionals spending time on projects, there is many personnel who at some point in time while working from home may not be working on a project or assignment.
76.9% of these analytics professionals are devoting their time on Training through Self Learning while 23.1 % are spending their time on Training through company driven learning programmes.
The findings from the survey reveal that the entire analytics community is able to work from home. Moreover, while analytics personnel are working from home, they have access to the required tools and platforms to execute their tasks and responsibilities. Moreover, most of the respondents have either experienced no impact on their work or have experienced a positive impact on their work because of higher productivity.
While 50% of the respondents are working on their existing projects – about 45% of the respondents are working on projects to analyze the financial or economic impact of the lockdown – and most of the projects are related to the consumer-facing sectors.