Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Some suggestions about how the BBC management can save money

Do you have any idea what a decision support analyst actually does for a living? This is a controversial topic because the chief operating officer of the BBC, a woman called Caroline Thomson, was unable to answer the question as to what her own decision support analysts did while they were at work. Truth be told, I’m not sure what a chief operating officer does either, although as Ms Thomson’s salary is in the region of £385,000 a year it is clearly something that should occupy my thoughts more frequently. Isn’t the director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, by definition also the chief operating officer? Or is the chief operating officer someone who wanders around the radio installations, mending fuses and replacing valves and suchlike, a sort of odd job man or woman with an interest in electronics, and the title and salary bestowed upon them intended to make them feel better about their station in life?

In an odd sort of way I would mind less if that is really what it was. I’m sure they didn’t have a chief operating officer when I joined the BBC, or indeed legions of (one assumes) junior operating officers. Still less decision support analysts. On this latter subject, I found a job description online to help Ms Thomson out next time she’s in a tricky interview and asked a question about the people who work for her (at a salary of £58,000 per year, by the way): ‘In some companies, decision support analysts are support staff “users” of decision support systems who prepare special studies for middle-level and senior managers. These analysts may use a Data-Driven DSS to conduct an ad hoc query that is then analysed with a statistical package, Excel or a desktop OLAP tool. They may build small Model-Driven DSS and write-up the results of the analysis prepared with the DSS.

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