Making of the real Iron Man
Published On: 23 February 2017
In a short span of a few decades, the world of data-driven decisions has gone through a significant transformation at a bewildering speed. Organizations realize that data driven decision making is not about adopting a new technology or hiring some analysts. It is about finding the right talent who can convert data into actionable insights.
Some organizations hire experts, who know everything about the discipline- "Superman” model. However, this model is hard to scale and these experts are difficult to find. Other organizations are fixating on machines and automation as the way of scaling analytics- “Robocop” model, which is not flexible. To match the pace of today’s business environment a new breed of employees is required - a blend of business analysts, applied mathematicians, and programmers. But while most firms separate these into three distinct roles, we need them combined into one – the Decision Scientist.
“This is the “Iron-Man” model where we develop our decision scientists, wrap them in the bionics of our analytical processes and platform, and apply them to a cross industry client base. What results is a holistic man-machine ecosystem.”
While Mu Sigma University creates Decision scientists who have an appreciation for Math, Business and Technology, we created the Iron Man Program to further equip our Decision scientists with the necessary bionics in their journey of Problem solving.
In essence, the Iron Man Program empowers our Iron men with their Iron Man suit, or our Products toolkit, hence making them true practitioners of Mu Sigma’s Art of Problem Solving.
The program started in Oct’16 with 20 participants who successfully completed the course over 3 months. Today there are 65 Mu Sigmans who are undergoing the Iron Man Program. Mu Sigma plans to progressively scale this initiative to a wider decision scientist base over time.
The program was designed to be a rigorous exercise in real world business problem solving for the MSU grads. Each of the engagements revolved around a key analytical theme such as: Marketing Analytics, Design of Experiments, Operationalization, Unified Analytics etc. and used a combination of Mu Sigma products during the phases of problem definition, execution and consumption/operationalization.
During the course of the program the participants worked with various Mu Sigma products across the analytical value chain. This helped them in understanding how Mu Sigma’s proprietary products enable a better Art of Problem Solving.
All our products are built on key analytical themes and corresponding product philosophies, which helps us solve problems for clients while systemizing a better Art of Problem Solving for them. Hence, it becomes critical for our decision scientists to not just understand the products well but imbibe the principles behind each of these products.
Contextualized leverage of Products as a toolkit
Over the course of 3 months the teams worked on various business problems across varied functions. Different product combinations were leveraged across the Analytical value chain, based on the nature of business problem.
Program participants were also exposed to different paradigms in solution consumption such as What-if scenarios, Optimization, running Experiments and building with real-time applications.
The learning Curve
“Mentoring the teams during the Iron-Man program was a learning experience and an excellent opportunity for us. Sometimes the questions asked by the participants were so intriguing that it forced us to look at a particular problem from a different perspective altogether. This is a great initiative from the organization to prepare the decision scientists for business problem solving, look at the problem space in a holistic manner and practice the art of problem solving.”
-Anoop S and Madhav Rangrajan.
“Initially we were a little apprehensive about the program, since were supposed to join delivery after our MSU course. But, after joining the program we understood the overall analytical value chain better, and how each product fits in. Today we have joined our respective delivery teams, and we are able to not just look at problems holistically but use the bionics of the Mu Sigma processes and platforms in a much effective manner.” – Abhishek Suresh
The way forward
With this program we are setting out to build true Mu Sigma Iron Men - people who have been trained in Mu Sigma University, and are real practitioners of Mu Sigma products. At the end of this program our decision scientists will have a better understanding of how our products embed a “way of working” for “delivery by design” and also appreciate the implicit principles that anchor each of our products.
One of the key takeaways for a decision scientist from the Iron Man program is the value of Products-as-a-toolkit. By understanding how different product combinations come together to address a variety of business and analytical objectives, our decision scientists would be able to build more comprehensive and effective solutions for our clients. This would also directly increase the range of offerings from our end in client engagements.
With feedback and mentorship from Delivery teams and Apprentice Leaders, the program will be continuously improved and scaled in 2017. The new breed of decision scientists emanating from the Iron Man program will come with a sound understanding of how to leverage the right products mix for the right business problem and in the apt phase of problem solving, thus realizing our vision of the Man-Machine ecosystem coming together in delivering the most optimal client solutions!