Telling a story through data

TKB: Episode 24

This episode features an interview with KJ Gupte, Data Science Lead at Tradeshift, a cloud-based platform for supply chain payments. KJ has had nearly 15 years of experience in the industry. Before Tradeshift, KJ served as Data Analytics Manager at PwC where she led a team of engineers and developers in making data-centric products for customers like Apple, Google, and HP. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and says her experience in the Data Science Pipeline and Critical Thinking course felt like rewiring her brain to think about data in new ways. In this episode, KJ discusses translating technical data for her stakeholders, building credibility in data among the C-suite, and being a trailblazer in the supply chain economy.


“I think what has helped me drive success is being extremely collaborative with the team and extremely transparent. Because many times when you are transparent and you exchange your thoughts, that’s where you get the most gains. So, I might be thinking about data from an angle and the users might be thinking about it from a very different angle. And a lot of exchange needs to happen. Because not everybody looks at the data in the same way. Everybody comes with a very different skillset, whether you are an engineer, whether you are a data scientist, whether you are a CEO, CFO, everybody has a core skillset that they bring to the table. It’s not always the same or uniform. So, collaboration and transparency is always the key.”

“We are absolutely data-driven right now. I’m very glad I was hired at the point that I was, because that’s when we were scaling up. And that’s when we were sitting on like chunks of data that was so potent that it was just a matter of using it. And in fact, we are sitting on buyer and seller supply chain data, which is the core of the supply chain disruptions that are going on. So, we are in so many ways trailblazers to the whole supply chain economy.”

“The leadership knew that there was a lot of work that needed to be done in data. So, my core job was to actually convey that message. Initially, I spent a lot of time giving presentations on just what we had, not going into complexities. But, um, presentations around, ‘okay, this is what we have. This is the story that data is telling.’ And just making people curious, you know, making people interested about data. Because if, if your data is not telling a story, it is just numbers.”

“When it comes to data, things are needed as of yesterday. And the moment you get data, it is stale. You have data right now, but it has gone light years ahead. So, you have to be extremely fast and evolve with the data. That was definitely a challenge, but what helped me is I had a lot of visibility. Right from the time I was hired, I was directly working with leadership. I was working with engineering to see the lay of the land, I was working with my CEO, my CFO, I was working with the head of engineering to see what they were talking about, to understand the language.”

Time stamps

[8:34] Driving success through collaboration and transparency
[14:28] Tradeshift’s journey to becoming data-driven
[19:05] Getting visibility on the freshest data
[24:08] How to build credibility and trust in the data from company executives
[29:24] How to deriving more value for customers
[34:47] Under Pressure: How KJ Gupte makes difficult decisions
[38:39] Advice to budding data scientists


Connect with KJ on LinkedIn | Check out Tradeshift
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