How to become a data ‘gatekeeper’

There’s no denying that to remain relevant and employable in the face of rapid technological change, EAs need to focus on higher-value job responsibilities.

One way to do this, which we wrote about recently, is to embrace AI and automation. Another is to become your executive’s data gatekeeper and ensure that only relevant insights reach them. By doing so, you’ll add greater value by guaranteeing that your executive can make informed decisions with actionable and pertinent data, rather than getting bogged down in the sheer volume of data at their disposal.

To ensure the data collected and passed to your executive is fit for purpose, you’ll need to firstly find your strategic data legs. Review the data that is currently collected and assess its relevance. Does your executive receive any data that they do not find relevant? Is certain data not precise enough to be useful to your executive?

Then ask yourself what data isn’t currently being collected that should be. Crucially, what burning questions or pain points does your executive have that additional data could answer? Don’t hold back here – these days there are very few questions that data cannot help answer, so talk to your IT department about how it could be collected and delivered to you.

Once the data is available, you’ll need to analyse it to draw out actionable insights. What patterns does the data reveal? How does the data answer your executive’s questions? Make the data come alive by summarising the insights it reveals. Without this step, you are merely forwarding a set of numbers to which you’ve added no real value.

Finally, remember that with more data at your fingertips, confidentiality and compliance must remain paramount, particularly in relation to personal data. As an EA, confidentiality is part of your DNA, but regulation and compliance must also be top of mind when accessing, analysing and sharing data-driven insights and decisions.

By drawing out timely insights from data that you’ve ensured is fit for purpose, you’ll deliver actionable and useful analysis. Crucially, you’ll also be able to add the skills of data review and analysis to your CV – skills that we’re increasingly being asked for when we recruit EAs today.

By Alex Jones, Senior Regional Director of Hays Office Support.

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