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Get your analytical expert in place, data is coming

Get your analytical expert in place, data is coming

ID-100234436The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and managers in every sector will have to struggle with the implications of big data. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future.

At the same time, the rising demand for data scientists and the resulting pressure on the analytics labor market is increasing the need for analytics talent as more companies with more data to sift through discover they are trying to hire the same workers.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2018, the U.S. economy will have a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and a shortfall of another 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions

  • “Data scientists” wanted

To understand the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of business analytics, MIT Sloan Management Review conducted its fifth annual survey of business executives, managers and analytics professionals from organizations located around the world. The 2015 Data & Analytics Report finds that attracting, rewarding and integrating analytics talent into the organization are crucial for analytics success.

The study also found that those companies that have a “data scientist” role in their team are more than twice as likely to clearly prioritize data projects, and two-and-a-half times as likely to have a formal data strategy.

U.S. universities have jumped in to partially fill the gap, often with funding from the same companies that need more data workers. The study estimates more than 70 master’s programs in data science and analytics have been established. For instance, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst launched its Center for Data Science this spring with the backing of companies like Google, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

MIT Sloan Management Review recommends that companies seeking to build their talent team follow these four strategies:

  • Look inside to tap internal talent – the study found 63% of companies are looking inside to increase their analytical skills through formal or on-the-job training.
  • Focus on talent integration, not infusion – integrating new talent is a difficult but vital piece of the effort to gain value from analytics workers.
  • Set up a buddy system – very few employees have every last necessary skill in a team. This is why it’s important to build complementary teams.
  • Build a common core – make sure that you enhance the ability to consume analytical insights across the entire organization, including the management team.

One thing is for sure, while access to useful data is steadily rising, the ability to apply data insights to business strategies is not. Current employees who are able to develop an analytics skill set and combine that with their knowledge of the business can be invaluable for every company.

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