In business, successful companies utilize data to better understand their audience, and in turn they become more efficient, customer-focused and profitable. According to 2013 research from the American Management Association (AMA) and i4cp, a human capital research and data firm, 58 percent of company leaders said business analytics are vital to their organizations, while 82 percent said business analytics will be even more important in their industry five years from now.
The AMA and i4cp study surveyed 789 business professionals representing a number of industries, global locations, and organizational structures and sizes. The study responses indicated that many companies are lacking when it comes to employees with experience in analytics. Only one-fourth of the companies surveyed said they were prepared to meet the analytics needs of today’s business world.
The study also found that many organizations are building their employees’ knowledge of business analytics through training, and then recruiting candidates with analytics experience. Companies looking to put together a team to focus on the analytics of a business should hire professionals with experience to build a team and create an effective strategy.
According to the AMA, only organizations with fully developed teams dedicated to organizing and analyzing data will continue to be successful in the years to come.
What to Look for in a Business Analytics Leader
Choosing a leader to guide and manage business analytics decisions in an organization is essential. In some cases, this position might be called the director of business analytics, manager of business intelligence or vice president of business intelligence. According to TechTarget, professionals in this kind of position should have a blended knowledge of business and IT to help bridge the gap between them. Generally, analytics leaders will frequently interact with business analysts, business sponsors and other executives, as well as data architects, developers, systems analysts and tech support specialists.
Leadership capabilities are a must for a business analytics director. According to Pyramid Analytics, leadership responsibilities might include managing the implementation and delivery of useful business intelligence solutions, coaching the team on the pros and cons of different kinds of analytics or data modeling, and serving as a mentor when it comes to analyzing insights gathered from large data sets.
Leaders should also be comfortable communicating with partners and stakeholders about daily business intelligence matters, be able to provide guidance for the organization and its partners, and be able to provide solutions or push back to those parties when necessary.
6 Management Tasks for Business Analytics Leaders
Beyond leadership qualities, there are also several management tasks a director of business analytics should be equipped with to run a successful team. TechTarget’s acronym, SCAGGS, is a great way to remember the tasks that can help make you a recognizable leader in business analytics.
Before anything else, the director of business analytics must be able to sell and explain to others the value of business intelligence and sound data management, not only to educate and persuade executive sponsors providing funding for the business analytics program, but also to business users and IT managers who are supporting the initiative. This is where business-focused BA training of all relevant employees becomes so important.
The director of business analytics is not just responsible for a self-contained, corporate-level team. They are responsible for coordinating a variety of distributed individuals, which involves ensuring their interactions are appropriate and making sure the entire organization benefits from the business analytics team’s work.
The business analytics director is responsible for identifying all employees working in business intelligence within an organization and bringing them together to collaborate and align activities and approaches.
Business analytics leaders need to be involved in the governing of all data that has to do with business analytics and the development of reports based on that information.
The director of business analytics typically runs a development shop, which means they’re in charge of gathering requirements and building applications. They are only responsible for some of the more complex or cross-functional analytics applications.
Lastly, business analytics managers are often tasked with developing and maintaining standards for business intelligence tools, processes and data, which should be created through a collaborative approach.
Allen Graves is a digital content director and analytics specialist for content and audience engagement at Bisk, a worldwide leader in online higher education.