Data and Business Decision Making

 

Overview of Assignment
You will be analysing a business data set and producing a report with the aims of:
 Providing an overview of business performance,
 Identifying and quantifying from the data, a possible business problem or business opportunity, and
 Suggesting next steps the business should take with respect to the possible problem/opportunity.
Your client is a manager/executive with significant decision making delegation for the area of the business
to which the data relates. For example;
 A Sales Manager (for sales data).
 A Production Manager (for production data).
 A Customer Service Manager (for customer experience data).
Your client is very busy and time poor. Thus it is important that your report is concise and sticks to page
limits. You can include “Nice to know” information, but this should NOT clutter up the main report, but
rather be relegated to an appendix.
You will examine the relationship between at least 3 variables and the client’s business performance
measure(s).
Establish Assignment Group
 Find other students to form groups of 3 or 4.
o If you have peculiar circumstances that make group work difficult (for example, work/travel
commitments, locational isolation, family circumstances, etc.) you can email the unit coordinator
(Stephen.Thollar@utas.edu.au) for permission to work in a group of 1 or 2.
 Register your team by filling in and emailing the registration form to Stephen.Thollar@utas.edu.au The
registration form can be found in MyLO/Content/Assessment/Assignment
Data
1. Your team will be allocated one of the three data sets. Either:
 Product Sales data set (1046 records)
 Operations Performance data set (14328 records)
 Customer Experience data set (4998 records)
BEA 674 Data and Business Decision Making, S1, 2018 – Assignment
 University of Tasmania – CRICOS PROVIDER CODE 00586B 2
2. Each data set occurs on a separate worksheet of the “Assignment Data.xlsx” workbook, which can also
be found in the Assignment folder on MyLo.
A. Executive Summary (no more than half a page) 20 marks
Your executive summary should:
A1. Identify which key measure(s) you investigated, briefly characterise overall performance (in no
more than two sentences), and explain why the measure(s) is important to business success. (i.e.
provide a very brief context for the report.)
A2. Clearly state your key finding(s) including a quantification of the key opportunity(s) / problem(s).
A3. Summarise key recommendations (next steps).
A4. Sell the rest of the report – motivate the time poor reader to spend the time digesting it.
B. Performance Overview (two to three pages) 20 marks
B1. Describe the scope of your study (i.e. what entities, time periods etc. the study covers, and the
source of your data.). Also include any key caveats.
B2. Expand upon the performance characterisation in the Executive Summary and effectively
communicate how key measure(s) performed not only overall, but also for broken down by
important categories.
For instance:
a. A Sales Manager would not only want to know how overall profit or revenue is going, but also
see it from product perspective, a sales person perspective and so on…
b. Whilst an Operations Manager would not only want overall view of fault volume and time to
fix, but would also want to see how its tracking over time, and from a fault type perspective
and so on…
c. And a Call Centre Manager would want to how overall customer experience and immediate
sales are going, but also what that looks like from a customer age perspective, as well as view
as to which issues are most common, etc.
NB:
You can use charts and/or tables and/or summary measures to make your communication of performance
effective.
You DO NOT necessarily need to cover every single perspective. In some circumstances this might “clog up”
the report and distract from the key simple messages you are trying to convey. In week 5 or 6 when the clients
give a brief presentation in the lecture class, you should this opportunity to better understand their needs and
customize your reporting to meet them. “Nice to know” content can be included in the Appendix.
Keep this section at a high level. DO NOT report on complex drill downs into issues and opportunities, that will
the focus of the next section of your report.
B3. Interpret and comment on B2 highlighting anything that is relevant to your study. In particular, you
should draw attention to any interesting feature(s) that you will investigate in greater detail in the
next section.
C Issues and Opportunities (two to three pages) 30 marks
C1. Explore the data in greater detail, looking for relationship and combinations of circumstances which
correspond to poorer (or better) outcomes in your key measure(s). Explain your reasoning. Stick to
a small number of big issues.
BEA 674 Data and Business Decision Making, S1, 2018 – Assignment
 University of Tasmania – CRICOS PROVIDER CODE 00586B 3
C2. Provide charts and/or tables and/or summary measures that illustrate the potential issues
identified in C1.
C3. Provide an indicative quantification of the impact of any issues identified in C2. This is the potential
“size of the prize”. For example only, in a report looking at production waste we might note that
“When the evening shift on production line C is producing component Z, average waste levels are
128kg per day higher than the average for other situations producing component Z. If we can
determine and rectify the reason for this, we could potentially save up 128kg per day, which equates
to a saving of $12800 per day in raw materials.”
D Write Conclusion (no more than half a page) 10 marks
D1 Discuss your results, and make recommendations for appropriate business/policy decision making.
This should include postulating one or more possible reasons, why the situation(s) might be
occurring, and a suggestion as to what should be done next to better understand the situation(s).
D2 You should also comment on ‘bigger’ issues related to the data provided and make suggestions for
consideration of other variables and analyses which would be valuable in future research and
business/policy decision making.
E Appendix (no more than 5 pages) 10 marks
E1 Additional details relating to Section B – Performance Overview. The intent here is to provide
additional information should the client wish to seek greater insights into the data, or have
someone check or replicate your analysis. Possible examples could include:
 Description of methodology
 Alternative presentations of data presented in section B, often providing additional detail.
 Less important (eg nice to know) perspectives on your key measure(s) that were not worth including in section B.
 NB other possibilities exist. Remember the Appendix is where people go IF they want to know more. In respect to
BEA674, the Appendix also represents an opportunity for you to display data summary and presentation skills that
you have not used in the main body of the report.
E2 Likewise for Section C – Issues and Opportunities
F Overall Structure 10 marks
 Charts, Diagrams and tables have identifiers (eg Table 2 – Frequency Distribution of Daily Waste) and
located near text which discusses them.
 Pages numbered.
 Not cluttered. 11 or 12 point font, single or 1.5 line spacing.
 Clear Informative Headings and sub headings.
 Table of Contents and Executive Summary on front page.
 Logical flow. NB The points in the guidelines above A1, A2… E2 are not section headings, but rather
are things that should be covered within the report.

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