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How to make change management happen in the most effective way

Many things can put your business at risk, including changes to your organisation, people or technology. The current pandemic has put many businesses under unprecedented pressure, and some even teetering on the brink of survival. Crises like this quickly turn change...

Future-ready part 2: Diversity – an essential ingredient for a future-ready organisation

In his seminal 1937 essay, “The nature of the firm,” the economist and eventual Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that corporations exist to avoid the transaction costs of the free market. Yet with transaction costs plummeting (spurred by rising connectivity)...

Future-ready part 1: What does a future-ready business look like in the new normal?

The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared,...

Organisation Design: Restructuring or Reshuffling to enable Strategy

Customer expectations are not just changing; they are exceeding the ability of a business to deliver on time. They are looking for alternatives, with more emphasis on experience and convenience. To keep up, companies are evolving their offering to meet the...

How to fill the gap between Strategy and Execution

Organisations are great at setting their strategy and identifying their goals, but they fall short when it comes to their operating model review and redesign, the key component that enables the strategy and drives the achievement of goals. Operating models consist of...

Culture PART 2: The role of leaders in a culture shift

In the previous article in this series we examined the effect of COVID-19 on an organisation’s culture. Now, we turn the focus onto the role of leadership and technology in leveraging culture. When an organisation decides to change its culture – be it planned or...

Culture PART 1: Did COVID-19 signal the end for hierarchical organisations?

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods,...

Meet MAC’s Executives: Karina Jardim, Senior Executive

“Exceptionally talented consultant” “An absolute pleasure to work with” “Driven by a desire to see people grow” If you know Karina Jardim, you know that these phrases used to describe Karina ring undoubtedly true. She is a name that is valued to every MACer, whether...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...



Mac Consulting

What is a data journalist and why do you need one?

One of the biggest pain points in many organisations – although they might not even be aware of it – is the disconnect that exists between the data analytics department and the other business units. Despite the concept of a data journalist not being well recognised in the industry, the fundamental challenge facing businesses is to unearth people who can bridge the gap between the technical team (being able to deliver and talk the technical jargon) and engaging with the stakeholders (verbalising how to solve a problem).

To put a data analytics team in perspective, the typical data analytics department is underpinned by a head of data analytics/head of data science who has a mixture of business and technical skills. Their job is to go and sell technical solutions (be it internally or externally) and come back with a project which is handed over to the technical team. This team then deliver a technical solution and give it back to the client/business unit to apply.

As the name suggests, however, the purpose of a data journalist is to listen to a client, similar to the way a business analyst would, and then transcribe this into specifications for the technical (data) team. They fulfil that gap role that often exists between the technical delivery team and the internal business team, having the ability to transition between technical speak and business speak, and connecting the dots between the two to help drive scalability, adoption and trust.

Previously this role might have been called a Data Insight Analyst, whose purpose was to extract value out of data and to action that value back into the business. While a data journalist is similar, they become the client’s trusted advisor, bridging the gap between what the business challenges are, and how the solutions actually help solve these problems.

While it may be a futuristic concept, if you could put someone in a data journalist role within any business, life would be much easier. As this position doesn’t exist in most organisations, its remit tends to fall into the laps of the CMO, head of marketing or head of IT, all of whom look at data from a different perspective and generally don’t have that strategic input to get the most out of their data, tech and digital transformation initiative.

To be a success, a data journalist should have specific traits; along with communication skills being an important element, they should be solutionist, have good business acumen, and a sound level of comprehension of how technical solutions are built, how they operate, and how they can be leveraged to solve business problems. While it may not be too difficult to find people who look qualified from their CV, it is often the soft skill elements that make them a prime candidate for this role.

While organisations have realised the importance of digital, data and technology, one of the most vital elements is appointing a person who is passionate about leveraging digital, data and technology to help drive internal solutions to help realise that big, broader strategic vision. The age-old adage that people are either technical or possess business skills means that it is not as simple as hiring the most technical data scientist or the person with the most experience in digital transformation for a data journalist position; it is about finding someone who can actually solve problems by leveraging both a business brain and a technical brain at the same time.

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