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Spotlight on.... Athira Govindankutty

"Everything we do leads to some big decision. The data we provide matters".

Continuing the Spotlight series, Researchcraft’s Associate Director Di O’Neill, sat down this week with Athira Govindankutty one of Researchcraft’s Data Analysts, to learn more about her role within the Market Research Consultancy and her motivation to provide data that makes a difference.

Di: What is your current role and what does it entail?

Athira: I'm a data analyst, so I focus on getting the data we collect ready for the reports. I work with Snap and Excel most of the time. I’ve recently started using E-Tabs, so there's been more work with PowerPoint and learning how we can use this programme to automate charting for client deliverables. It’s quite the feeling of fulfilment when you see E-Tabs populating charts after all the work that goes into setting it up to be honest! It definitely makes a big difference as it dramatically streamlines report preparation. I also really like trying out new software. This is a great example of where I know I can make a difference and I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Di: What inspired you to join Researchcraft and how long have you worked here now?

Athira: I’ve just passed my 3 year work anniversary! This is my first job since leaving university. One of the main attractions is being central to Leamington Spa, but when I saw the job advertised and I was doing some research around Researchcraft, I really liked the fact that the company was comprised of a small team full of big minds. Most members of the team had been here for 20 years or more so it made me think that there must be a good foundation and good things happening for them to want to stay for so long. That’s exactly what I found – a great team who work well together.

Di: What's your background and what led you to data analytics?

Athira: That's a tough question. I did my BSc and MSc in physics, which is quite different from data analytics. I didn't love it [physics] that much, but I thought it would open up lots of opportunities for me. If I had stayed in India, then the main route would have been a PhD in physics and then go for teaching role, or something similar, but that wasn’t for me. I am also quite keen on psychology and the things you can learn from observing people. Data analytics, especially as we are working in a market research consultancy, is a pathway to that. I enjoy creating the outputs that help clients understand how they can help their customers better.

Di: How does Researchcraft meet your needs in terms of your career?

Athira: We deal with different software and analytics tools so I like learning about how different software can help me streamline data processing – I actually look forward to this as a challenge. At first my responsibilities were solely around data processing, which was all about Snap and producing numbers. But my role has evolved to include programming surveys, Power BI and now E-Tabs. I really like the diversification and the fact that I don’t have time to get bored!

Di: How do you think Researchcraft meets your needs then as an employer?

Athira: There’s the technical side obviously, but I also really like working with very knowledgeable people. The discussions the team have when they are trying to work through data to understand different market dynamics, are fascinating. There’s the business side of things to learn, but there’s also interpersonal skills and social interactions to observe and understand – the whole experience allows me to develop my skills as an analyst.

Di: What do you think is the most important skill a data analyst needs to have and why?

Athira: 1) Attention to detail. We have to make 100% sure that our numbers are correct before we report them to our client – it feeds into their business planning, so this is essential! 2) Staying on top of software trends and finding out what tools are available that could help streamline the way we do things (E-Tabs is a great example of this). We need to stay current and be willing to learn new things.

Everything we do leads to some big decision or something that helps make a company more relevant to the market. The data we provide matters, so it has to be correct.

Di: What is your most favourite part of the job and why? [If you can have a favourite part!]

Athira: Seeing data populate on E-Tabs – only when it runs without errors though, otherwise it will drive you crazy (and then I have to work out what went wrong)! But I also really like knowing that we are doing something that's helping a company differentiate themselves. I know I’m facilitating the Insight Analysts tell a story. I love it.

Di: What's one piece of advice would you give yourself now if you could go back to the beginning of your career when you first started?

Athira: To see the bigger picture. When I first started, I was really keen on getting the numbers right, but I never had any understanding of how the numbers would be used at the end of the process. Initially the only way to find this out would be by reading the report that been sent to the client – which is a backwards way of doing it. We introduced a new Project Briefing Process and it makes a real difference – by understanding the clients needs before we start data processing we can definitely work smarter and provide the data they actually need, not what we think they want.


Thank you Athira!

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Spotlight on.... Athira Govindankutty