Why a statistical foundation matters in a data-driven world
Nov 12, 2019 9:10 AM
Both Sara (left) and I believe study buddies and study groups in professional life are helpful.
We all know the world is getting more and more data focused. Almost every field can benefit from data to support conclusions, make more solid decisions and communicate more clearly. That’s why an understanding of statistics is useful for any role in an organization, even those traditionally viewed as more artistic and less analytics-focused. JMP has developed a free Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving course (aka STIPS) designed to help anyone, in any field, build an understanding of statistical approaches, when to use them and how to interpret and communicate the results.
Here’s how we know anyone can use statistical thinking.
As JMP team members, we recognize the power of statistical discovery and what it can do for scientists, engineers and any data explorer who wants deeper insight into the data they use on a regular basis.
As professionals in the JMP marketing group, we understand that most aspects of our job are affected by and can be improved with visibility to the numbers. Marketing, just as much as other areas of the organization, needs to be data driven, and this is enhanced by an understanding of the underlying statistical methodology.
The first two STIPS modules — Quality Methods, and Correlation and Regression — were released in late 2018. Starting in February 2019, we decided to follow along as each STIPS module was being developed and released. We scheduled an early start to our work day two or three days per week, and holed up in “our” conference room for a few hours with coffee and snacks to begin our day together (because everyone knows, sugar + stats = success). And the time spent has already been well worth the cost. Sara (@saradoudt0) focuses on optimizing global ad spend and the JMP trial software process. And I (@landra_c) manage the global customer newsletter and explore related data. Sara and I completed the STIPS learning modules and are starting to apply what we have learned.
We’re data-driven and curious; however, it’s been a while since we’d taken stats courses. The release of STIPS made us realize we had room to take our curiosity a step further, grow in our roles, and strengthen our contributions to the division — together. Even though we have different responsibilities, we were able to support each other in learning. With different perspectives, we were able to challenge each other and help each other fully grasp the concepts.
The “aha!” moment changed the game
The course has been a great way for us to not only give support and feedback to our colleagues, but also to become more effective and efficient in our daily work. By understanding the why behind the data, we can now ask better questions when exploring how we promote, position and develop content for marketing campaigns. Sara can now more efficiently decide where to allocate ad budget before the dollars are actually spent. I can see where in the world customer news needs to be translated and where content performs best.
What did we get out of this experience?
Badges, of course! Who doesn’t want to show off their new creds?
Relationships with teammates. We enjoyed the fun of the learning process — and having a study buddy made the process even more enjoyable. Additionally, we got to connect with JMP Learning Manager Julian Parris (@julian) and JMP Product Manager Mia Stephens (@mia_stephens).
Dedicated time to dig deeper into the data, look at work differently and find new ways to measure success. We were always looking at the data, but this focused effort helped us improve our efficiency and outcomes.We got badges and showed off on LinkedIn!
4 key takeaways
Having a study partner matters. Study buddies and study groups in your professional life are helpful. They push you, give you a safe place to brainstorm and explore new ideas, offer different perspectives and keep you engaged and accountable.
We have brilliant data scientists and statisticians in JMP who are great at managing the analytics strategy for the division. Having our own understanding of how the data affects our work individually lets us ask them the right questions to help them help us. We can also do some data analysis on our own and take five minutes to dig into the data for quick answers independently.
Going into some of the modules, we were skeptical about how we could use those skills in our jobs. While completing the module, we often realized there were direct, positive correlations to our roles (see what we did there?) ;-)
Statistical knowledge does matter — and can make an impact. Beautiful graphs are useful, but without the “why” behind them, we’re less effective. Understanding the statistics provides more actionable insight and broader context.
Next, we’d like to explore what else in our roles deserves a fresh look using our shiny new STIPS skills. Any time we approach something in our jobs that can benefit from looking at the data, we now have a more solid ability to do so. We are now even better at engaging in conversations with the amazing stats people in our division, and we’ll continue to do this as well. Finally, we’re getting ready to complete the last STIPS module, and if you’re connected with us on LinkedIn, you’ll know when we pass the certification exam!