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Analytics Magazine

Inside Story: Life is good for analysts

September/October 2011

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE

Peter Horner, editor
horner@lionhrtpub.com

Sure, the economy is in the tank, foreclosures and bankruptcies are cropping up like weeds and the unemployed can’t find a job, but it’s apparently a great time to be in the analytics business. Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services recently released the results of a survey that found that “analytics deployment is now nearly pervasive in enterprises around the globe.” Nearly 97 percent of survey respondents said their organizations have adopted business analytics, up from 90 percent in 2009.

The survey, sponsored by SAS, found that three out of four enterprises reported that business analytics have been effective in their decision-making. The benefits ranged from increased profitability, reduced cost and improved risk management to process optimization, faster decision-making and critical performance improvements.

According to the survey, companies gaining the most value from business analytics share several characteristics, including: a top-down embrace of analytics by senior leaders, putting the right analytic talent in place, improving data management and governance, deploying the right analytic tools and “operationalizing” the results. Eighty-three percent of respondents believe they either have the right analytic talent in place or recognize they need to augment their analytics resources.

“This research reflects the growing interest of organizations around the world in greater insight and better, faster decisions through business analytics,” says Jim Davis, SAS senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

A McKinsey & Co. report found that by 2018, the United States will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers who can use data to shape business decisions.

Many colleges and universities have responded to the growing demand for analysts by launching analytics electives, certificates and degree programs, some of which have been underwritten by leading providers of business analytics services and products. A prime example is the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University, which receives considerable funding from SAS and offers a master’s of science degree in analytics (see page 6).

As reported in the Wall Street Journal (“Business Schools Plan Leap Into Data”), IBM has teamed up with more than 200 schools to develop analytics curriculum and training. “The more students that graduate knowledgeable in areas we care about, the better it is not just for our company but the companies we work with,” Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president and group executive of software and systems, tells the WSJ. “It really comes down to what clients and customers need most.”

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