Confessions of a Data Addict

My name is Andrea and I am a data addict. I admit it – I prefer data driven decisions over gut feeling.

I have spent the last three years with the Online Services Division working with Audience data. Audience data is that data that we term as everything after the click. It is the data that takes all the page views and clicks and translates into what our ‘audience’ likes and does not like. One of the things I take great pride in, is the fact that privacy is job one here. We separate YOU from the data that anyone even gets a chance to look at it; and once YOU have been separated from that data – there is no way to reconnect YOU with that data. I love that.

You may ask why I am so proud of this – well I know that when I log into MSN, Hotmail or even Bing my actions are not going to some crazy archive in the sky locked away forever after. Instead when I execute a search on Bing as Andrea, I know that the only thing that is actually going to be tracked is that someone searched for faux fur handbags on Friday October 21 at 10:11 pm PST and viewed 3 pages of results clicking through on 4 links then looked at Bing images. That is important to me, my family and especially my friends; and it is not something we really brag about either.

Ok, enough gushing. Let me tell you about what I do. I work in Business and Customer Intelligence. My actual title is Sr. Process Manager. It is a really cool job that focuses on two things:

  • 1. Data Quality
  • 2. Automation

First off, what good is data if it is not high quality data? Do you really want to be making decisions with data only to find out later that you only have half of all the data from one of your key markets? My job started off by aiding in the design of quality measurements across all of the systems that touch our data. Once that was done, I did a couple of Six Sigma and LEAN projects to optimize the quality and speed of data to our users. I also helped to design a scorecard that is targeted specifically in communicating the state of quality over time of our data.

Eventually I was able to replace a huge part of my job through automation. I am not talking simple automation here – i.e. a stored procedure. I developed complex business logic to triage alarms thrown by our systems and data processes and translate that to what is critical information for our business users. The important thing to remember here is that system alarms mean nothing to analysts and therefore this was a lot of logic. The coolest thing is that we are soon to launch a full self-serve portal where our internal data users can get up to the minute information about the data they care about most.

I came to this job with a love for process. In the last 3 years I have become the 1st person internationally to become an IASA (International Association of Software Architects) certified Information Architect – and that, I think, is really cool. I am certified in Six Sigma and LEAN and I have a BFA in Film and a deep love for data – I am proof that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Check us out – especially if you are a data addict like me, you will be amazed how much you will grow!!

Want a job like mine? Please visit:

Andrea Cifor has over 20 years of experience building and consulting in quality, process and information management. Andrea has proven success in authoring organizational best practices for integration, data quality management and fitness by design.

Andrea began her technical career as a contractor at Lucent Technologies analyzing service response for optimization in the Call Management Systems division. Immediately jumping into the boom, Andrea established quality practices in a number of companies before shifting focus to performance and fault management in the Telecom industry. Honing skills in product quality, user acceptance and integration practices until moving on to start a consultancy focusing on BPM and SOA implementation and alignment. After the sale and dissolution of the consultancy, Andrea joined Microsoft.

While at Microsoft, Andrea has focused on business technology transformation in terms of quality and process. Andrea is an IASA certified CITA-P Information Architect and is certified in Six Sigma and LEAN. As a Sr. Process Manager in the Online Services Division, Andrea is an active mentor to architects, has presented core skills modules on architecture and quality to specialty groups within Microsoft and is responsible for contributions to IASA training and publications.