Survey says: Analytics are #trending. Across the globe, people want to do more with data. When they do, magic happens. When they can’t, they’re sad and frustrated.
We surveyed 3,028 business and data analysts, data scientists, and leaders across six of the most digitally-advanced countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. They had a lot to share about their overall mood towards data science and analytics, including their wins and losses — even their hopes and dreams in 2020.
Each country or region is riding a wave of transformation, but what wave are they riding? Some respondents are living a data-driven transformation while others are leading technology or people-led transformation.
Different countries are focusing on different paths to get to the same place. Let’s look.
Embracing Data Science and Analytics
Across all six regions, those who embraced data science and analytics expanded the scope of their roles.
Analysts have four major responsibilities, but often get bogged down by the data prepping process and thus are unable to carve out time for the more strategic aspects of the job function.
Here’s what bringing the full career of an analyst into fruition might look like:
FOUR MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES OF BUSINESS ANALYSTS
1. WRANGLE MASSIVE DATASETS
In order to get those questions answered, you need to find and then prepare the right data across disparate systems throughout, and even outside, the business before joining it all together for analysis.
2. PARTNER WITH STAKEHOLDERS ACROSS THE BUSINESS
You interact with stakeholders and teams across the company to find out their needs and formulate a vision for how to use data to help them meet their goals.
3. HUNT FOR MEANINGFUL PATTERNS AND INSIGHTS
Once you have clean data, it’s time to uncover any patterns hidden within it and use the insights you glean to formulate recommendations.
4. REPORT ON FINDINGS AND RESULTS
If an analyst has a light bulb moment but doesn’t share it with the business, did it happen at all? It’s not enough to uncover data gems; you also need to communicate them. This includes interpreting data relationships and succinctly presenting findings, often using dashboards and data visualizations to help. If you’re really good, you’ll take findings a step further and give actionable recommendations on the next steps.
What Holds Us Back from Adopting a Culture of Analytics
Let’s look at some of the key challenges reported by our respondents across regions.
Top Three Overall Concerns:
Data security gives teams the freedom to explore and safeguard data quality while also providing transparency and auditability within analytic applications. They know they need a strategy that can scale out across the organization in a production-ready environment — without creating havoc.
As far as the talent shortage is concerned, it’s true. This shortage is becoming an immense problem as more companies recognize the value of data and analytics in making informed business decisions.
In a recent Forrester survey, 90% of global data and analytics decision-makers indicated that the use of data insights in business decision-making would be a priority for their firm over the next 12 months.
It’s clear that businesses want to shift from gut-driven to data-driven decision-making, but they lack the talent and tools to do so. Moreover, technology constraints can be a real drag. Regardless of data source, people are looking for a solution that can still service users in the systems and technologies they already depend on.
A unified analytics platform that accesses, preps, and blends data from whatever sources you use, then outputs results directly to the systems you depend on for consumption could be just the ticket.
Data Dream is Alive
Still, the hope for data and analytics to deliver is alive. As Sean Adams, a Senior VP/Executive Director and Alteryx ACE, puts it: “Data has become part of the mainstream with operational professionals from all jobs/industries realizing that it's not just the DBA who cares; it's essential for everyone. Simultaneously, the tech has become easier, which really helps to bring this to the masses.”
Here are the top technology enablers that were reported as having the greatest impact on business today.
Top Three Overall Technology Enablers
Data and Analytics, Cloud
Focus on Employee Skills
Culture to Drive Transformation
Looks like around the world, people are not giving up despite their roadblocks. Instead, they’re identifying real solutions.
Routes to Digital Transformation
Those focused on the data understand that it can help their business make smarter decisions, optimize operations, and pinpoint new revenue opportunities.
Those focused on the people can see the different roles data plays and how to train up their best people to fully unlock data to drive true, digital transformation.
Those focused on technology can capitalize on it to create a sustainable cycle of analytic innovation that drives digital transformation.
But is that enough?
To see the most success, it turns out you need to be focused on the network effect of data, people, and technologies in order to thrive on the analytic battleground, avoid common pitfalls, and get to digital transformation much quicker.
With over 54 million data workers worldwide, the era of digital transformation has already begun.
“We’re clearly in the middle of a revolution. Ride the wave.”
Andrew Bittermann, Sr. Director Analytics Solutions Development and Strategic Alliances
But which wave? As we’ve identified here. All of them.
Take All the Roads Traveled
As data volumes continue to grow, the time is now for organizations to implement strategies that emphasize the value of data, culture, and technology to guide the way to successful digitization. Get started wherever you are. After all, the fun is in the journey. Speaking of routes...
We delve even deeper into the UN World Happiness Report in our latest podcast.
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