Meet the Analyst of the Future - Silvia Ilie, Risk Analytics Program Manager at HP

This blog is part of our ongoing "Meet the Analyst of the Future" series, in which we profile analysts who are embracing the future today, transforming their organizations, and supercharging their careers in the process.

Only a few years ago, my day-to-day looked very different. At the time, I was working as an Audit Program Coordinator leading forensic audits at HP, working day in and day out analyzing noncompliance flags and cross-referencing documents to manually identify and validate anomalies. It wasn’t unusual to have to go to at least a dozen different data sources and systems, extract the data by hand, and crunch numbers in Excel - tedious work to say the least! 

Today, I am the Compliance Risk Analytics Program Manager on HP’s Platform Technology and Innovation team. My work focuses specifically on compliance within HP’s supplies business, and I provide the tools and capabilities that the compliance team needs to automate their analytics work. By leveraging new technologies like ThoughtSpot, my team and I are leading HP through rapid digital transformation. 

This Work is ‘Game-Changing’

As a technology company, HP has massive amounts of internal data that can help inform nearly every facet of our business. We depend on data-driven insights to keep our business moving forward, but before beginning to collaborate with the Platform Technology and Innovation team, my colleagues in compliance were spending more time prepping the data than actually analyzing it. The process of extracting value from our data using Excel models was holding them back from being as effective as they could be. 

Now, with guidance from my team and ThoughtSpot technology, ETL and analytics processes at HP are almost completely automated. This allows the compliance team to run a wider range of analyses and extract granular and more advanced insights within the data. 

I think that the work we are doing is game-changing. Before we introduced ThoughtSpot, I was becoming a point-button for all analytics requests reporting. Now, whenever I begin a new project, I simply add all of the data my users have permission to access into ThoughtSpot, help them get started with a few pinboards, and then let them take over from there. They are able to search and explore the data to answer their own questions, which has eliminated a ton of back and forth emails from functional teams. ThoughtSpot has also addressed one of my biggest challenges as an analyst: communicating my work at scale. Now I share everything that I build with all of my users in a very simple way.

Expansion and Measuring Success 

With new digital tools like ThoughtSpot at our disposal, my team has been able to measure our own productivity in more sophisticated ways. We still use the tried-and-true approach of tracking usage KPIs, including metrics around adoption, active users, and ad hoc searches, but have also begun to track the ROI that the compliance team is getting by using our solutions to drive efficiency. For example, we now quantify how many net new partners we have been able to identify as non-compliant from both preventative and detective standpoints. This helps us to better evaluate the broader impact that our technology investments have on HP’s bottom line, and is easy to measure using ThoughtSpot.

In FY20, my team and I prioritized outlier and anomaly detection within HP’s supplies data, looking specifically around partner audits and noncompliance. Because the transformation to automation and self-serve analytics has been smooth, we’ve been able to expand our workstream to include deal inspection. The process of loading data into ThoughtSpot is really streamlined, even with the large volume that we have. We are also in the process of leveraging cloud data warehouse technologies like Snowflake and Synapse, which easily integrate with ThoughtSpot. Having that data more accessible throughThoughtSpot's Embrace capabilities will accelerate the pace of anomaly detection and provide value to the business at a faster pace.

From the Backroom to the Boardroom    

Putting decision making power in the hands of frontline business workers has allowed me to evolve my career beyond data loading and data cleaning, to focusing on more strategic initiatives. Previously when I was getting a ton of requests from the business I didn’t have time to do anything more advanced, but ThoughtSpot allows users with very little technical knowledge to build complex analytics and drill down into their data to see what’s really happening and has taken a lot of that responsibility off of my plate. With one-off report requests a thing of the past, I am now using pinboards to report on high-level trends and present them on a regular basis at the executive level. 

As someone who thrives in a dynamic environment and is continually setting a higher bar for myself and my work, I’m excited to be a part of the future of analytics. In our environment, stakeholders are constantly demanding more and more, the competition is getting smarter and smarter, and as an analyst you need to keep up and constantly be identifying new ways to look at the data. I expect to see digital transformation continue to accelerate over the next few years and am especially optimistic about self-serve analytics, because at the end of the day, empowering and teaching other people has made me better at my own job.