Several members of the Talent Analytics team had the opportunity to attend Teradata's Big Analytics Conference in Boston on May 22. With a great speaker lineup, the educational and networking event offered both a technical and digital marketing track that covered the latest advancements across the big analytics ecosystem and highlighted how data-driven products and services such as Hadoop and Aster could support business goals.
While the topics were certainly technical in nature, I found it interesting that the need to better understand how analytics professionals tick was interwoven into several presentations (learn about participating in a research opportunity). Specifically, three themes stood out when Bill Franks, Chief Analytics Officer from Teradata and Simon Zhang, Director of Business Analytics from LinkedIn talked about some of the criteria they use when hiring, motivating and retaining analytics professionals.
Deep Commitment to Analytics
Bill said "commitment" is one of the five most important traits he looks for among analytics candidates. He identifies commitment by determining whether the candidate is willing to go the extra mile vs the "almost done" mentality given how difficult analytics work is.
Simon Zhang supported the importance of commitment by indicating passion and belief made up 80% of what he looked for among analytics candidates at LinkedIn. He said a strong belief in the data is critical in order for analytics teams to establish and maintain trust with the internal customers they support.
Emphasis on Intrinsic Qualities over Learned Skills
Simon pointed out skills make up just 5% of his total quotient in what he looks for among good analytics candidates. Bill echoed this sentiment by suggesting skills can be learned over time and instead to look for other, more intrinsic qualities like commitment, creativity, business savvy, and intuition.
Importance of Storytelling with Data
Both Bill and Simon highlighted the importance of being able to present data in a way that the business can understand and appreciate. Bill emphasized the importance of strong data presentations by suggesting results are only 50% of a successful analytics initiative. He offered pragmatic examples of "business-friendly" data storytelling. Simon supported this sentiment, stating "analysts are artists."
Participate in the Talent Analytics/IIA Analytics Professionals Study
The continued emphasis on innate traits in the technical track at the Big Analytics conference underscores the urgent need for a broader understanding of analytics professionals - in a quantitative way.
In order to facilitate greater insight in this area, some of the top minds in the analytics industry are stepping up to the challenge in a big way. With the goal of adding significantly to the knowledge base around analytics talent for businesses, Talent Analytics and the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) have announced a joint study to better understand Analytics professionals.
The study runs through the end of June 2012 and is open to anyone who works with deep dive analytics or manages a team of analytics professionals and wants to be part of something with potentially massive implications for the growth of the entire business analytics industry.
If that's you, click the banner below to participate!