Let’s learn how the passion for numbers shaped Peggy’s career.
Learning to count binary as a kid kicked off a lifelong love of numbers for Peggy Pranschke. Even now, as VP Global Business Analytics with Vistaprint, she speaks about data with an infectious joy. Peggy tells us why she’s so keen to share her passion across the business –and how she’s going about it.
When I grow up, I want to be…
I loved math from the moment I could count. Then my dad taught me to read binary and from that point on, it was pretty clear I was going to follow a career path where I was able to use numbers every day. And here I am, doing exactly that, with my team at Vistaprint.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons I joined Vistaprint: data has a seat at every table here. Very few organizations put numbers so squarely at the heart of their strategy. With such tangible commitment to become an iconic data-and-analytics-led brand, Vistaprint data experts are strategic partners. Our work has direct and unique impact on company direction.
Urge to find the story
Like many of us data professionals, I studied math and computer science at college. My first job was as a data analyst with the U.S. Federal Government. From there I moved to the private sector to help build out data science and AI for Advanced Auto, a Fortune 500 company. Looking back, there’s always a story I’m trying to understand from an analytics perspective.
Now, together with the Data and Analytics (DnA) team at Vistaprint, I get to take that to the next level. Insights and visualization is one aspect; we have analysts embedded in each line-of-business to help drive an analytics agenda from the ground up. And we always have an eye on future potential: growing our analytics consulting team to offer a strategic service, as one idea.
A delight for data
The third part of my remit is even more exciting: to create a delight for data across the organization. Think about it: our data is telling us what’s happening in our business, in our marketplace, among our customer base. We want everyone at Vistaprint to look for the story in our numbers, even people in creative roles. It sounds counter-intuitive, but data can unlock and inspire creativity.
This is how we’ll achieve our ambition to become a data-led company. And ultimately, it’s how Vistaprint will become the marketing and design partner of choice for small businesses. Customers want to be understood, customers want their stories to be heard. If we can develop a mass analytical mindset and foster a data-driven culture, we’ll understand so much more about them and what they need.
Achieving that goal is partly about training for data literacy and skills. There’s another more emotional aspect though: outside of our data experts ‘bubble’ there’s a real fear of numbers. I’ve seen it recently while we’ve all been home-schooling – parents who are afraid of math, make their kids afraid of math, and they think they can’t do it.
We’re excited to nurture a pro-data mindset in Vistaprint. I want to empower everyone to ask big questions and look for the answers in data, maybe grab an analyst to help, but to make it a go-to source of inspiration or information for daily decisions. The discipline of analytics is not a mysterious black box only wizards can conjure with; it’s for everyone!
Both data consumers and guardians
The mindset goes even further. As well as users of data, we are all ‘stewards’. It means asking not just “How do I get this data and use it for my purposes?” but, “Who else could use it?” I’m thinking about a recent example: the marketing team looked at a local customer cohort data to decide on an engagement strategy, while finance used the same data set to understand the growth opportunity. We want to enable people to think wider and larger about their data – spark and share ideas about how others can use it.
And the practical side: “How do I make my data available, discoverable, usable?” People might need to partner with a data engineer to make it happen, but that’s great. You often hear data is the new currency, and it’s true. When some of your most powerful data is sitting in your team´s data sandbox, isolated in a great report you built, or in your head, you’re literally sitting on business value.
Tactically there are several tools we’re using to amplify this thinking throughout the business, especially in a remote-first environment. For instance, we use Confluence as our workspace, which is fully searchable: people can discover pages and documentation around data sets, reports, tools, dashboards, and everything in between. It’s a bridge – a partial solution – that goes towards replacing those cross-pollinating hallway conversations.
A lot of my team’s work will be around how we structure that system, and what tools or pages can we add that allow people to come across things they don’t even know exist. Because you can only search for things you imagine to be available, right? We’re working hard to build more discoverability in our knowledge base.
Creativity and wellbeing
One important focus in all of this mindset work is mental wellbeing. With deep-dive analytics you’re figuring out what the data is telling you, thinking about the reasons behind what’s happening and testing different hypotheses. That takes a lot of creative energy. It’s important to make sure your teams have that space to play with numbers.
Most businesses focus on productivity. At Vistaprint we’re also interested in making sure we’re set up to have the right culture for analytics. We’re all creative at different times of the day, particularly as we’re a fully distributed team working remotely. I want people to understand what works best for them and empower them to do their best work.
‘Female’ is way down the list of adjectives
As you can probably tell, I think of myself first as a mathematician (and a mom – I have two boys!) but I know it’s vital to be visible and vocal as a female leader. If we’re going to get more women into STEM, there’s work to be done. I’m involved with Chief, a female executive networking group in the United States, supported by top women leaders.
I also mentor a lot of young women, and it’s great to demonstrate what you can do when you have a passion for something. My path has now brought me to Vistaprint; helping the team to blaze a trail as a data-obsessed organization. I like sharing this narrative with the next generation – how they can be successful at math and use that to drive big outcomes. I hope it’s inspiring.