5 Tips for Businesses Looking to Build an Analytics Team
By Ryan Ayers
Big data is something just about every company needs to focus on these days. Though developing data analytics can help companies gain a competitive edge, leveraging data is becoming a necessity for success as the big data industry develops and expands. Not only can big data help businesses understand what customers want, it can also help make processes more efficient or inform important strategic decisions.
We have a lot of data, and businesses are hiring data scientists like crazy to make sense of it all. Estimates suggest that we'll be sitting on 40 zettabytes of it by the end of the decade-that's 45 trillion gigabytes! By next year, demand for data scientists is expected to grow more than 50% worldwide. If you're thinking about building an analytics team, how can you hire the best people in this market? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.
1. Develop In-House Talent with Data Analytics Skills
First of all, you don't necessarily have to fight it out with other companies to get the best talent. Why? Because you might already have it. Though no one on your staff may be fully trained in data science, investing in your most promising employees can be a great way to develop an analytics team. Growth and development are a high priority for most people, and the opportunity to develop an in-demand skill set is often met with enthusiasm. So what skills should you look for in potential data analysts? First, they should be skilled in programming in mathematics, and have a lot of intellectual curiosity. Specific skills analysts need include:
- Business analysis
- Data analysis
- Data architecture
- Data interpretation and visualization
- Social/behavioral analysis
In order to develop your current workforce, you will need to put in place an education program, or pay for employees to take courses that will allow them to develop the necessary skills.
2. Establish a Culture
Establishing a data-driven corporate culture is essential for attracting top talent and making analytics a priority within your organization. This needs to start from the top down. The executive level needs to be on board with making decisions based on solid data, rather than on gut feelings and intuition. Without this shift in culture, it will be difficult to integrate the analytics team into the existing environment, and people may be left wondering what their role it. Clear roles will help you find the right fit for your team, and allow the organization to effectively analyze and leverage data.
3. Expand Beyond Analytics Software
While utilizing analytics software is an absolutely crucial part of building an analytics team (how else will they be able to work?), there's more to assembling the right team than just choosing people who understand the software. When hiring or selecting members of your analytics team, make sure that they have the skills to trust the software and make good decisions about what they learn from the data. Employees need to be able to identify the important risks and opportunities within the data, and make recommendations based on these data to help the company grow.
4. Understand Business Analytics vs. Business Intelligence
Before you begin the hiring or development process, it's important to understand the key differences between business analytics and business intelligence. One of the biggest differences between the two is that business analytics focuses on the future, while business intelligence is firmly rooted in the past and present.
Business analytics involve creating models and simulations to predict trends and possible outcomes. This can help inform strategic decision-making, business goals, and much more. Business intelligence uses an organization's data to find problems, gain insights on what has and hasn't worked in the past, and monitor how goals have been met. These insights can guide business decisions and complement the findings of business analytics.
82% of executives use dashboards and reports, but it's important to understand the difference between business intelligence and the work an analytics team will do.
5. Recruit Diverse Talent
Diversity in the workplace is positive for so many reasons-it promotes growth, talent retention, and innovation, just to name a few. When you're building your analytics team, you should be thinking about how to ensure the team has diversity. Sound like a challenge? It's not so hard, especially if you are developing in-house talent to fill your analytics roles. Choose people with different backgrounds, genders and ethnicities-it will help you reach your company's full potential.