When centuries-old mom and pop shops (sari-sari stores in the Philippine context) meet 21st-century technology, you can be certain that many will cash in.
The third decade of the 21st century led to the massive adoption of e-commerce as a business model in the Philippines and the rest of the world. According to 2021 data from global consultancy firm Bain & Company, the Philippines is the fastest-growing Internet economy in Southeast Asia thanks to online purchases through e-commerce sites. The report also highlights the fact that the country registered 12 million new digital consumers since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Many entrepreneurial minds took advantage of this digital economy boom, including sari-sari store owners.
In fact, digital payments company PayMaya mentions in a 2021 Manila Bulletin article that the number of MSMEs (among which are sari-sari stores) enrolled in the fintech company’s payment system increased by more than 3,000 percent compared to 2020.
PayMaya, however, is not alone in helping out the iconic sari-sari store.
Packworks, a Filipino digital solutions provider, has designed a comprehensive and user-friendly app to empower store owners to do many things all at once, efficiently. The innovative piece of software that the company designed has a system for managing store deliveries, daily sales records, inventory, bookkeeping, and even data analytics.
Packworks, though not as commonly known as other companies, has recently made waves internationally. In November 2021, the company qualified as a grantee in the accelerator program sponsored by JICA, or the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
This startup, which holds a lot of potential in the business world, is currently a partner of Eskwelabs. In fact, our partnership with Packworks is so close that its Chief Data Officer graced one of our Data Analytics Bootcamp classes with his presence.
The Interesting Data Stories of Packworks’ Chief Data Officer
Packworks Chief Data Officer Andoy Montiel packs a lot of wisdom because of his extensive leadership experience.
For almost two decades, he has been leading enterprise and customer-centric technology strategies in different companies and organizations. Among his most impressive achievements include formerly working for Singapore-based data analytics firm DataSpark as Country Manager.
Through the use of interesting real-life stories and fictional detectives, Andoy was able to share some nuggets of wisdom that may prove more precious than gold for anyone who wants to embark on a data analyst career path.
Data Analytics as Detective Work
Data analysis has many similarities to finding the bad guy.
Just as detectives use clues to help find the culprit, data analysts use data to determine business or organizational problems or points of improvement. Perhaps this is why Andoy states that each ideal data analyst is part-Sherlock Holmes and part-John Watson.
For those of you who don’t know this dynamic duo, Holmes is a detective while Watson is his assistant and chronicler. Despite existing only in novels and television spin-offs, the iconic duo has been used by Packworks’ Chief Data Officer to illustrate the real-world requirements for a good data analyst.
For Andoy, Holmes' oddness of character is compensated with his talent for problem solving. He is driven to understand what the problem is (for example, who kidnapped a certain individual?) and asks the hard questions. For the data chief of Packworks, asking the hard questions means investigating even those things that may make store owners feel bad (for example, honestly mentioning to store owners that their products may have poor quality).
The more than 100,000 sari-sari stores under the network of Packworks benefit from the company’s honest and objective data analysis. Therefore, Andoy advocates not sugar coating words with clients, without being rude or unprofessional.
When you watch Holmes or read about him, he seems to be so unemotional and solutions-oriented, that he can sometimes be rude to others. Though Andoy does not encourage this extreme lack of courtesy, he wants data analysts in his company to be focused on solutions instead of complaining and be intelligent.
Intelligence, for Andoy, is being a self-starter, someone who does not wait for orders to work and function.
Intelligence, however, is not enough. That is why the ideal data analyst should also have a little bit of John Watson in him or her.
Though Holmes has good technical skills, he has poor social skills. Watson, therefore, balances out his friend to make sure that the detective does not become too much of a social outcast. As Watson is good at public relations, so should a data analyst be competent in building good relationships with clients. You can also see in the Sherlock Holmes novels and other media depictions that Watson is the voice of the story. The narrator of the adventures of his close friend. Andoy parallels Watson’s storytelling talent to the need for a data analyst to be good at communicating and documenting company learnings and work processes.
The Ideal Recipe for Data Crunching
What comes to your mind when you hear the words “crunching” and “multi-layered”?
It turns out, these terms are not only related to breakfast cereals or cakes.
Among the many jobs for business analytics professionals or data analysts include crunching huge volumes of information (numeric or otherwise) into actionable insights.
Perhaps this is why Packworks’ Data Chief Officer mentions that among the most important analyst job skills include comeptencies in SQL and Python. Both programming languages are used to crunch or process a lot of numbers (or volumes of other types of data).
A multi-layered cake may be delicious for many people. But a good data analyst also delights in the multi-layered nature of many business problems.
According to Andoy, this multi-layered approach helps a data analyst see beyond the data and gather insights that can be beneficial to clients. As illustrated above, the bottom layer is Packworks’ volumes of store transactions (data like what products were bought from or by stores, how much was purchased, etc.). Above this layer are various socio-economic factors that affect the said transactions. For Andoy, seeing the relationship of these layers and identifying them are crucial to give Packworks’ store owners the proper recommendations they need to get more buyers.
Cooking Up Career Success
For the data chief of Packworks, traveling the path to become a good data analyst involves balancing technical competence and people skills. After learning about this career “special sauce,” you might want to learn how to use this to cook up something worthwhile for your professional benefit or personal growth.
This is where our data bootcamps at Eskwelabs comes in.
Our 8-week Data Analytics Bootcamp and 12-week Data Science Fellowship welcome people from different backgrounds, tech-related or not. This means that if your past job or college course does not involve computers, we can help you work with what skills you have and prepare you for the world of tech. Aside from this, our mentor-led data projects are industry-relevant and involve learners collaborating with each other. In other words, we impart not only up-to-date data competencies, but also skills in dealing with people.
Our two bootcamps also offer the chance to work, earn, and learn right after graduation. To learn more about this, you may click this link.
According to a 2021 Business Mirror article, data analyst jobs and related occupations will double by 2022 due to increased digital transformation of Philippine companies. If you want to work for these cutting-edge companies or join the equally innovative Packworks, then enrolling in our data bootcamps may be worth a shot.
The best meal is a combination of the right ingredients and the right way of preparation. Here at Eskwelabs, we make sure that the raw talent of our learners turns into “fully-cooked” data skills for better job prospects.
- Packworks is not alone in helping businesses transition to the digital economy. PayMaya, another high-tech company, is also a key player in digitalization. Read more about the insights of the fintech company’s Data Governance Head here.
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