Lisa grew up and went to school in Brisbane, Qld where she also completed an undergraduate degree in business at QUT. In her early 20s, Lisa embarked on the well trodden path of a 2-year working holiday in the UK. She made a concerted effort to live and work with locals and was rewarded with fantastic experiences living with locals and working for Eurostar (in the lead up to the introduction of this rail service between London and Europe) as well as BBC Television. She then returned to Australia after 2 years determined to find accounting work in the television industry which was difficult in Brisbane. Instead Lisa found work with Carlton and United Breweries (CUB), where she would stay for almost 12 years. Working for CUB is what brought her to Melbourne – a city she now calls home. She started off in very traditional management accounting roles but after becoming involved in projects, started working in the Business Intelligence area long before it was generally known and referred to as Business Intelligence.
What was your first job?
During High School I worked part time, mainly on weekends and public holidays, as a medical receptionist in after hours medical clinics. Great for gaining life experience!
Tell us about your journey. How did you get to where you are today?
After working for about a year at (CUB) as a management accountant, the company was moving its business from an ageing mainframe transactional system and decided to build a data warehouse to meet reporting and analytical requirements from the business. They needed an accountant who was familiar with sales, brands, marketing, products, customers etc to validate financials, provide input on business requirements and how the reporting and analysis should be designed to meet users’ needs and expectations. This was expected to be about a 6 month secondment to Melbourne. I never returned to Brisbane and that role morphed over 10 years (and is still evolving!) and the business ended up with a very sophisticated Business Intelligence capability within the business.
What does a typical day look like?
I would say there’s no “typical” day in my job and what happens on any day varies greatly depending on what is happening within in the business. Are projects underway, is it month end or year end? We could be running a roadshow or information session for an upcoming initiative, we could be conducting User Acceptance Testing for an initiative underway, I might be spending time with my team and working with them to understand and agree priorities and objectives for the next week/month/year.
In your current role as Enterprise Data & Business Intelligence Manager, what’s your biggest challenge?
In some parts of the business of which I’m currently part, Master Data Management and Business Intelligence is not well understood and/or embraced. Introducing BI and Master Data Management and the benefits they can bring to a business operation is often a very difficult sell!
The best part about your job is…
When I walk around the office and sneak a look at what’s on people’s screens and see they’re using BI reports or attend a meeting where results or business information is presented via BI reports or dashboards is very rewarding!
What major changes do you see happening in your industry over the next 3-5 years?
Big Data and Social Media are both fast becoming key inputs into critical factors in decision making within a business. Traditional BI focuses on structured data from well understood (and often internal) systems. BI is needing to adapt to incorporate data from these sources. BI also needs to be able to react and adapt quickly to changes in business requirements and the focus of the business. Historically, this has not been a strength of BI.
When you’re not working, you’re…
Slowly struggling up a mountain on my road bike or drinking wine with friends
Your advice to others who are starting out.
Put your hand up for projects and/or things not within the strict boundaries of your role. It’s often an opportunity to learn a lot about a business, business processes required and what the business needs in order to operative effectively, efficiently and (hopefully) profitably. The relationships you build working on projects are often invaluable and I think you also learn to be flexible with the work that you do and inventive in problem solving. Many of these are opportunities that don’t often come your way within the confines of a “regular” role.
How can others connect with you?