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How reporting software got cheap and simple enough to help YOU become the VP of something important.

August 11, 20235 min read

This paper provides a summary on how to use reporting software as one of the stepping- stones to get noticed, promoted or at least the skills to get a better job that pays more.  

A very practical boss told me back in the late 1980’s:

“Business needs evolve far faster and far beyond the scope of the education you had in college, so to be relevant and have any chance at advancement or keeping a job, you better be a “Self-Learner or you are doomed.”  

So, my hope is that this provides a path on how to create your own luck and how to use reporting and analytic tools to your advantage. 

I know the subject well because have been looking after reporting skills since the year 2000.  First as a software sales rep. then starting in 2002 as a headhunter / consulting company operator, so I know what has worked for many other people and I want to share with you what I learned.  

I have helped 100’s of people convert their self-developed analytic reporting skills to get to better positions within companies and grow their careers.  

I have helped just as many people move to better jobs with much better titles & compensation plans because companies usually choose not to keep up with the compensation needs of people who developed analytic reporting skills. 

Moving to a better job is not a giant problem for people with techno / financial skills. The good news is that smart companies always seek people who can cut costs, improve analytics, and drive margin.

During the years I was a software rep, I noticed how the people selected to work on the business intelligence and dashboard projects leveraged those reporting skills to leap past others in a corporate structure. These people did not have super- powers but by developing the skills to use software to do janitorial work instead of using spreadsheets, they moved up much faster than the others. 

They also got invited to meetings with the “Bosses” got noticed, networked with other high achievers, and collaborated effectively to get much better raises than their non-hybrid peers. This made it very clear to me that the people with analytic systems skills have a great deal of potential, but that analytic software skill set could only take them so far, it’s not quite enough; read on for the rest of the personal attributes that I noticed that analytic skills need to move ahead.  

If you are lacking in some of the soft skills needed to be a VP, do not be discouraged, they can all be learned it just takes a bit of work and a bit of courage. 

Within my diverse pool of clients, I learned that clients often try to explain how they were “Different” or “Specialized” .  What I found is that they all have one base requirement that analytic reporting solved. 

They needed to gather and present data from the far corners of the enterprise to help them understand how to make good business decisions.  Some clients had lots of products and channels that were complex, but that was just math, which is simple. Getting the data to be presented in an accurate and timely way was the difference maker. The person who could get that data and insight to the masses was often the “Hybrid Techno/Financial” skillset who was smart enough to know that Excel could not do the job. Spreadsheets have too many structural failures to support analytics and they limit your career. Nobody is going to pay you better or promote you if you are a “Spreadsheet jockey”.

The other thing I noticed is that those who moved up to the VP level took advantage of many tools from many software vendors. Like any tool box, you cannot solve all your problems with a hammer, you need other tools.

Keep in mind that as much as any software vendor will want you to believe they have all the tools you will ever need, it is not the case, and its career suicide to wait for them to develop what you need if the solution already exists elsewhere.

Therefore, it is critical to act and be willing to switch to better tools that are available now instead of waiting. Tools are not necessarily expensive, some of the best are often included as part of your core enterprise software or available as open source products. 

Your company’s competition will not wait for your favorite software vendor to get you the tools you need. Your competition will just crush you and drive their shareholder value up, it is what they are supposed to do, and the way capitalism works.   

You must always keep an eye out for innovation and pounce on it. Real innovation generally comes from small companies that are in the same ecosystem as big software companies.  Big software companies have many perverse reasons not to innovate to meet your needs. They are concerned about recurring license fees as a primary driver. They are just too big to react to market requirements. That is why nimble software companies can grow so quickly, and the innovation cycle goes from there.  

Upstart and scrappy software and services companies generally yield the best results, so that is another tip to keep in mind.  

Following the herd only leads you to the slaughterhouse. So do not get tied to any one vendor as there are so many good options.


About Jim Burke

Financial Systems Automation and Back Office / Operational Cost Containment Leader, leveraging software tools and best practices to drive margin improvement for clients that do not have money nor time to waste.

Contact:   jburke@ayudatek.com     Office 609 750 8887


Jim Burke

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